Another High School Football Player Dies from a Head Injury, Questions Remain

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Another High School Football Player Dies from a Head Injury, Questions Remain

Another high school football player has died  from a head injury he suffered in a game.

Charles Youvella was a wide receiver for Hopi Jr/Sr High School in Keams Canyon, Arizona. Youvella and his team  were playing Arizona Lutheran Academy in a playoff game on Saturday.

Youvella, a senior, reportedly suffered the head injury after he was tackled after catching a pass in the fourth quarter. But nobody noticed it, and he lined up for two more plays before collapsing on the field.

He was awake on the ride to St. Joseph’s Hospital, but soon thereafter lapsed into a coma.

Questions remain about whether Youvella had suffered previous concussions and whether he reported them? Also, did he exhibit any symptoms after suffering the catastrophic hit, which should have been caught?

Arizona was in the news earlier this year when the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) Executive Board voted to implement a recommendation from the AIA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC), which would limit contact during football practice in the pre and regular seasons.

Association Executive Director Chuck Schmidt said at the time: “With so much information coming to light from the medical community, the AIA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee felt our policies should extend beyond officiated games in dealing with concussion prevention. Our top priority is to ensure the safety of our students so we are pleased with the Executive Board’s decision.”

The rule specifies that “no more than 1/2 of football practice be contact practice in the pre-season and no more than 1/3 of practice time be contact practice during the regular season. Contact is defined as padded athletes in contact with each other.”