Varsity Preps

Kosnitzky’s Korner: Football Head Injuries and the Story of Chad Stover


(Chad Stover featured above. Photo Source: Columbia-Missourian)

Twitter Follow: @akosnitzky

It was a Halloween Evening in Sedalia, Missouri. Tipton was trailing to Sacred Heart by two touchdowns midway through the fourth quarter. This was the opening round of the 2013 high school playoffs and cause for much excitement for these two Missouri communities over the past week.

According to reports, through the normal course of play Tipton player Chad Stover would involve himself in a tackle and then proceed to his team’s sideline.  He was then seen rubbing his arm and collapsing to the ground.  Stover would lose consciousness and sadly die two weeks later.

This young man who was injured just one week before his 17th birthday, was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury as a cause of death. The state is also exploring the treatment Stover received immediately after he lost consciousness but that it is a different discussion while equally important.

Stover joins Jaleel Gipson, Damon James, Dylan Jeffries, Charles Youvella and De’Antre Turman as high school players who died on the field from head trauma related injuries. Turman was a case I covered earlier this year, where the debate was over tackling technique arose, which begins at the Pop Warner level.

With the rise in awareness of NFL players suffering from post concussion symptoms, leading to dementia and other brain-related abnormalities, this is a topic that will not go away. While the number of deaths in the past decade averages about 3 players per year, is this higher number this year cause for alarm?

The answer depends on a different perspectives. Yes, some reports show a decline in the number of participants at the Pop Warner level. In addition, there is continued research on advancements with proactive measures, helmets and padding.

In the end, people will scrutinize what is in their best interests.  In the world of Freakonomics, people are three times more likely to be killed by an elephant. Yet, we see elephants at every county fair giving rides to children. The lesson here is that human behavior will dictate change where it is needed.



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