"Parents should really check with the school," he said. "How is the coach teaching fundamentals? Are emergency action plans in effect? In some states, parents and players are required to attend meetings at the beginning of the season to talk about concussion symptoms."
Despite better awareness and added protections, football remains a violent game, as illustrated by the National Football League's current "bounty" scandal involving some players receiving cash bonuses for injuring opponents.
"That's probably the worst thing that's happened in football in a long time," Mueller said. "High school kids see professional players on TV using their heads that way and announcers saying, 'that's a great hit.' Kids think maybe that's what they should be doing."
Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to learn about concussions in sports.
SOURCES: Frederick Mueller, Ph.D., director, National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research, and professor emeritus, exercise and sports science, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; William Meehan, M.D., director, Sports Concussion Clinic, Children's Hospital Boston; April 16, 2012, Annual Survey of Catastrophic Football Injuries 1977-2011
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