Three high school football players have died in recent days across the country.
Tom Cutinella, a sophomore for Shoreham-Wading River High School in Elwood, N.Y., died Wednesday evening after suffering a traumatic brain injury after colliding with an opponent during a ballgame against John Glenn High School. The boy was taken by ambulance to the hospital where he died during surgery. The injury occurred during the third quarter of the game, after which the game was called.
Three days earlier, Demario Harris, Jr., of Charles Henderson High School in Troy, Ala., died. The cornerback’s coach said he was told by a neurologist that the boy had ruptured an aneurysm in his brain. Demario’s father Demario Harris, Sr., said in a Facebook post that his son’s brain hemorrhage was caused by a tackle he had suffered during a game the previous Friday.
“He may have had a pre-existing condition, but there is no way to tell now,” the father’s Facebook post said.
Isaiah Langston of Rolesville High School in North Carolina died Friday evening after collapsing during pregame warm-ups. The official cause of the linebacker’s death was unknown, however the player’s brother Aljalon Langston said that it was caused by a blood clot in the brain.
USA Football, the official youth football partner of the National Football League currently promotes a “heads up” approach to tackling to help prevent injuries to the head during play. The campaign comes as more awareness is being placed on the safety of professional football athletes as well as players on the college and high school levels.
Repeated blows to the head – even if concussions do not occur – have been linked to long-term cognitive and neurological damage.
The NFL has agreed to pay $765 million to resolve more than 240 lawsuits filed by more than 4,500 former players alleging the league did not do enough to protect players from head injuries.