SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A new study on concussions suggests players who suffered repeated blows to the head, even minor ones, ran the greatest risk of problems later in life. These findings are not only attracting attention on the national league-level, but on the local football fields, as well.
When Cleveland Browns' quarterback Josh McCown was "helicoptered'' into the end zone last Sunday by Jets linebacker Demario Davis, the NFL swiftly ruled him out of the game for an injury not exclusive to professional players.
For San Diego mom Annette Grimes, whose two teen-aged sons play high school football, that risk of a serious head injury is always a concern.
"We pray every single time. I've just been fortunate," Grimes said. "It's a game, it is still a game no matter how much everybody loves it. We want you to still be alive and continue doing what you do best," she said.
A concern highlighted by the results of a recent study carried out at Boston University found that 96 percent of former NFL players, who were examined, proved to have suffered from a degenerative brain disease known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE.
It's believed to be caused by repeated blows to the head, which can lead to memory loss, depression and dementia. It's the same condition that former Charger Junior Seau, who killed himself in 2012, suffered from.
CTE is now serving as the inspiration for an upcoming major motion picture called "Concussion", starring Will Smith.
Phil Grooms, who is an athletic trainer for Morse High School in Skyline, says that virtually all schools nationwide follow a strict protocol for any student athlete, who is even suspected of sustaining a head injury. They are immediately removed from the game, and closely monitored for any symptoms of a concussion.
"The bottom line is, they are high school children and they have a whole big life ahead of them. Nothing compared to being impaired for the rest of your life," Grooms said.
In response to the new study, a spokesman for the NFL said, "We are dedicated to making football safer and continue to take steps to protect players, including rule changes, advanced sideline technology, and expanded medical resources."