Precautions Don’t Stop The TBI Perils of High School Football

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Posted on 22nd October 2011 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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Coaches and school officials in Upstate New York last week continued to try to figure out why a 16-year-old high school football player died of brain injury during a routine game.

The New York Times did a Page One story Thursday, “Seemingly Ordinary Game, Then a Player Dies,” on the much-publicized case of Ridge Barden of Phoenix, N.Y., who died a week ago Friday.

Coaches at John C. Birdlebough High School watched and rewatched video of the game where Barden collapsed, dying several hours later of a subdural hemotoma, or bleeding of the brain. According to the Times, the group believe that Barden suffered what would turn out to be a fatal blow after having “a routine collision with an opposing lineman at the line of scrimmage.”

Barden looked OK has he got ready for the next play, but wound up collapsing. He was conscious, saying that he had a suffered a helmet-to-helmet hit. Barden said his head hurt. He could not stand up.

One doctor quoted by The Times said that Barden would have had to had undergone surgery immediately to survive. Another physician blamed swelling of the brain from the hit, not the bleeding, for killing Barden.

The bottom line of the story seemed to be that no matter what precautions are taken, young athletes are still very vulverable. 

“Teenagers are especially susceptible to having multiple hits to the head result in brain bleeds and massive swelling, largely because the brain tissue has not yet fully developed,” The Times wrote. “According to the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research, Barden was the 13th high school player to die from a brain injury sustained on a football field since 2005 and the third this year. Including college and youth football players, there have been 18 fatalities since 2005.”


New York High School Football Player Died Of Brain Hematoma


Posted on 19th October 2011 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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An autopsy has detemined that a 16-year-old New York State  high school football player died from a massive subdural hematoma, blood collected on his brain,  last weekend,  and that his death was an accident.

But that determination, that a cerebral hemorrhage killed him, doesn’t really explain why Ridge Barden died.

The demise of Barden, who played for a high school not far from Syracuse in Phoenix, N.Y., is tragic on many levels, as outlined by a story in the sports section of The New York Times on Monday. The article was headline “Sudden Death of Player Raises Difficult Questions.”

The Friday night game that became Barden’s undoing was his team’s final game this season, and it was Barden’s first varsity start, according to The Times.

“How could a ceremonious moment turn terrible?” the paper asked. How indeed.

In the play that took Barden down, all the other players got up from a pile-up except Barden, who was face down on the field. Barden’s coach, a physician and two EMTs ran onto the gridiron, and found that Barden was conscious but dazed.

But the youth’s condition went south fast. He attempted to stand up, but collapsed. He was gone a couple of hours later.     

The perplexing thing about Barden’s case is that he was not directly hit during the play right before he became ill according to The Times.

“On the play that left Barden on the ground, he did not have contact with another player,” The Times quoted coach Jeff Charles as saying, adding that the youth had “missed a cut block.”

According to The Times, Charles said, “It was on a previous play that Barden had some helmet-to-helmet contact when he was blocked by a offensive lineman. He got up gingerly…”

While Barden may have appeared OK after that play, in retrospect it lookes like he wasn’t.  

According to The Post-Standard of Syracuse, Cortland County Coroner Kevin Sharp said that an autopsy determined that Barden’s hematioma, and the discovery of some bruising to his brain, was consistent with helmet-to-helmet contact.

Barden didn’t have any prior injury that was a factor in his death, nor did he sustain a skull fracture from the helmet-to-helmet contact, The Post-Standard reported.

The paper also wrote that Sharp said, “There also was no indication the injury resulted from any series of impacts during the game… It appeared the injury resulted from the single impact on that one play in the game.”

Sharp said officials are still investigating to determine Barden’s fatal injury came about, and will likely include looking at video of the game.

Barden’s coach, Charles, told The Times that the youth’s death was “the most bizarre thing” he’d ever seen in his careet.

Let’s hope it is the last time he sees anything like it.