High school student dies after head injury in football game

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Head injury from football game results in death

High school footballer Charles Youvella, of Hopi High School in Kearns Canyon, on the Hopi Indian Reservation in north-eastern Arizona, sustained a fatal head injury during a recent game.

The Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) confirmed the senior’s death, releasing a statement that said: “We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Charles Youvella … Charles loved football and was a wide receiver. During Saturday’s Division V first round playoff game against Arizona Lutheran Academy, Charles suffered a traumatic brain injury. While hospitalized, Charles passed away. His father Wallace and family were by his side.”

It was reported Youvella, who scored his team’s only touchdown in the game, hit the back of his head on the ground when he was involved “in what appeared to be a typical football tackle.”

The player collapsed after taking part in two more plays. He was reported to be conscious and talking when he was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix.

Football under scrutiny from increased head injury accidents

Football has been the subject of increasing scrutiny as more and more information is coming to light about the effects of head injuries sustained on the field at all levels of the sport. A proposed $765m settlement between the National Football League and 4,500 former players who were seeking compensation for the head injuries they sustained while playing was announce in August.

But concern extends beyond collision sports and to recreational pursuits.

According to a report in Outside magazine, “the Centers for Disease Control and Preven­tion estimates that between 1.6 million and 3.8 million sports-related concussions ­occur in the US each year”.

The magazine also cites a City of New York study that found brain injuries were responsible for 74% of deaths in cycling accidents. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons estimates that 600 cyclists die each year as a result of head injuries.

The AIA said an account would be established to help the Youvella family with incurred costs arising from their son’s death.

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