Behind the Americana of high school football lurks the deadly consequences of concussions. In the last 10 years some 50 players have sustained serious head injuries on the gridiron—some fatal, the New York Times reports. And teenage players, whose brains are more fragile, often don't know what a concussion is, or won't tell.
Players interviewed demonstrated foggy understanding of concussions, which occur when the brain and skull crash together. The problem is widespread—about 50% of high school players reported having suffered concussion symptoms. And second impact syndrome, which occurs when even a minor injury is sustained before the first has healed, can leave kids with short-term memory problems and depression—or in a coma or dead.