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Should Ohio parents be worried about high school football safety?

In Ohio, the decision on whether to allow your child to play high school football used to be much easier.

In years past, everybody knew football was a high-impact sport, inseparable from the cuts, bruises and occasional broken bones that occur during play. But very little was known about the long-term damage that youth football can cause a young person to suffer, especially brain injuries.

With current knowledge, many Ohio parents are forced to weigh the benefits of football against the known risks. It seems that most families decide to allow their child to play, for good reason.

Football is excellent exercise and emphasizes teamwork. It helps children learn that the sum of a team is greater than its individual players. Further, exceptional student-athletes may even be rewarded with a college scholarship. However, the risks are real.

Each year, about 12 boys die playing high school football. While that's a relatively low number, many more suffer concussions or spinal injuries that could have a lifelong impact. The risk cannot be completely eliminated, but proper equipment and safety rules can help lower the chance of a severe injury.

Occasionally, a coach does not follow safety protocol and endangers his own players. In these situations, the coach or school district may be potentially liable for resulting harm. To learn more, speak with an experienced lawyer.

Source: ESPN, "Football Death A 'Freak Accident'," Oct. 2, 2014

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