The injury rates for high school football are higher than those in college and NFL football, according to the chairman of the medical advisory board of Arizona's High School Athletic Organization. Meanwhile, fewer than 40 percent of high schools have athletic trainers on staff.
"So you have 60 percent that are uncovered, that are uncared for, that don't have the valuable expertise available to them," said Dr. Javier Cardenas, of St. Joseph's Barrow. He told CBS 5 he would like to see every team have a trainer and have limits placed on full-contact drills during practice.
"Limiting the amount of contact during the week is an excellent way to reduce injury," said Cardenas.
It's a recommendation that is not universally followed, but one team that does limit contact during practice is the Desert Vista Thunder.
"We don't go all out very often, because when we do, we see hits," said head varsity coach Dan Hinds.
Hinds has seen firsthand how the game of high school football has changed. He won the state championship as a player in the early 1980s and again as a head coach in 2011.
"I've got to say probably the biggest thing is the players now. They're bigger. They're faster. They're stronger," said Hinds.
Those factors make collisions on the field harder and more dangerous.
According to the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury at the University of North Carolina, 14 players suffered serious brain injuries playing youth football in 2011. That was the highest number in 25 years.
"I remember before the game and a little bit of during the game and then not really anything for about a week after that," said Derek Curran, a senior from Kingman High School, who suffered a severe head and neck injury during a game on Oct. 26.
Curran has been hospitalized at St. Joseph's Barrow Neurological Institute since the night of the game. Doctors say he's lucky. He's expected to make a full recovery, but his future in football is over.
"To be honest with you, I just think it was one of those weird hits that knocked me just right, and it sucks now that I can't play," said Curran.
Curran's Kingman team plays the powerhouses in the state, even though it has fewer players and the ones they have tend to be smaller than the competition from the Valley.
Experts say the discrepancy of size between players in high school football can create a hazard. It's common to have players separated by 100 pounds playing the same game.
Arizona state law requires education on concussions and sets up mandatory medical evaluation for players who suffer concussions. Cardenas said that requirement has gone a long way toward making the sport safer. The worst injury can occur if a player suffers a second concussion before fully recovering from the first.
But Cardenas admits there are no requirements to track all football injuries. Barrow is beginning a program to monitor and track head injuries under his direction.
Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Friday, May 24 2013 6:22 PM EDT2013-05-24 22:22:50 GMT
The Georgia-Carolina Council for the Boy Scouts of America voted against allowing gays to join the Boy Scouts. They say they voted against changing the membership standards because 85% of the 2,700 constituentsMore >>
The Georgia-Carolina Council for the Boy Scouts of America voted against allowing gays to join the Boy Scouts.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 10:53 AM EDT2013-05-24 14:53:19 GMT
Ryan David Jones/Source: RCSO
Friends and neighbors now say the Jones Family, Edna, Roosevelt, and Russell, are the victims of a suspected triple homicide in South Augusta.The Richmond County Sheriff's Office has been investigatingMore >>
The Richmond County Sheriff Office has charged Ryan David Jones with 3 counts of Murder and Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of a Crime.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 8:54 AM EDT2013-05-24 12:54:11 GMT
The Richmond County Coroner's Office has confirmed a bicyclist has been struck and killed on Peach Orchard Road.Robert Donald Holden, Jr, of Hephzibah, was pronounced dead at the scene on the 3500 blockMore >>
The Richmond County Coroner's Office has confirmed a bicyclist has been struck and killed on Peach Orchard Road.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 8:00 AM EDT2013-05-24 12:00:17 GMT
For 12 years Denise Glasford's sister fought in the Army, but died last year on Memorial Day. "Thinking about her and wishing she was still here with us," Glasford said. "It's been a tough year for the family." GlasfordMore >>
Glasford and her niece and nephew are three of dozens of family members paying tribute to soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice. Here at Fort Gordon's Warrior Remembrance Memorial Day Ceremony, they're honoring those killed, and remembering those they left behind. Soldiers say the national holiday is much more than a day off from work to barbeque and celebrate.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 11:43 PM EDT2013-05-24 03:43:19 GMT
The Richmond County Sheriff's Office is investigating a shooting at the Cedar Grove Apartments.That's off of Deans Bridge Road.Residents in the area say that two people were shot and taken to the hospital.More >>
The Richmond County Sheriff's Office is investigating a shooting at the Cedar Grove Apartments.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 11:07 PM EDT2013-05-24 03:07:55 GMT
Praying and singing through their grief, dozens of people remembered the lives of Roosevelt, Edna and Russell Jones Thursday evening. "It hit me hard because this was like another family to me," saidMore >>
Praying and singing through their grief, dozens of people remembered the lives of Roosevelt, Edna and Russell Jones Thursday evening.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 10:53 PM EDT2013-05-24 02:53:59 GMT
An Aiken County man is in the hospital after being hit by a car in an alleged domestic dispute.The Aiken County Sheriff's Office received a call just after 7:30pm Thursday evening about a pedestrian beingMore >>
An Aiken County man is in the hospital after being hit by a car in an alleged domestic dispute.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 9:03 PM EDT2013-05-24 01:03:57 GMT
President Obama addressed the nation with the counter-terrorism policy which includes the controversial plan to shut down Guantanamo Bay. FOX54 has the exclusive interview with a former military defenseMore >>
President Obama addressed the nation with the counter-terrorism policy which includes the controversial plan to shut down Guantanamo Bay. FOX54 has the exclusive interview with a former military defense attorney who represented one of the GTMO prisoners. More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 8:10 AM EDT2013-05-23 12:10:07 GMT
The images we're seeing in Oklahoma having a heavy impact on viewers around the country and here in the CSRA. Lindsay Findley says she was heartbroken when she found out about it. "It's just so sad toMore >>
Thirty disaster relief volunteers and vehicles have been sent to Oklahoma; three of them from the Palmetto region. And at any moment, volunteers with the Aiken chapter could be deployed.More >>
Wednesday, May 22 2013 11:34 PM EDT2013-05-23 03:34:56 GMT
Susan Swanson owns the Augusta Care Pregnancy Center on Broad Street. There is a two hour limited parking sign in front of her company but she says no one enforces it. The parking limit downtown has beenMore >>
Susan Swanson owns the Augusta Care Pregnancy Center on Broad Street. There is a two hour limited parking sign in front of her company but she says no one enforces it.More >>