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Experts often disagree on how to reduce brain injuries in sports

Each year, between 1.6 and 3.8 million Americans are diagnosed with brain injuries. A large amount of these injuries derive from youth athletes who suffer concussions. The prevalence of sport-related head injuries, and their profound effect, has spurred safety reform in many youth sports, including football.

Rule changes forbid high school football players from purposefully hitting an opponent above the shoulders. New rules also prevent players from hitting a player while he is in a "defenseless position," such as while he is catching the ball. New concussion protocol is also in place to ensure that athletes who suffer concussions do not return to the field too soon. Experts are nearly unanimous in their support for these measures. One area, however, sparks debate.

Helmets have evolved over time to offer more padding and protection, but some people do not believe that this is necessarily a good thing. The improvements have lead to players using their helmets as a weapon for striking an opponent, some say. If you removed the helmet it would encourage the natural response of avoiding head collisions, they reason.

On the other end of the spectrum, others believe that improvements in helmet technology are the answer to prevention of youth-football concussions. Football helmets are now available with sensors that register the location, duration and extent of head trauma so that trainers know about a hit, even if they didn't witness it.

It is an interesting debate, but few will argue that it is possible to completely remove the potential for head injuries in football.

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