Every since 1931, The National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research has done an annual report on the direct and indirect football injuries for the year. In the early 20th century, college football became an organized sport because several young men were getting killed in the sport each year. Now with the help of this research among other things, football has become safer over the years. One rule change that came out of this study was the 1976 rule making it illegal to make initial contact with the head while blocking and tackling. 1990 marked the first year since the research started in 1931 that no one was directly killed from playing football. This is great progress for the 1,800,000 football participants in 2010.
The 2010 report has been released and unfortunately there were 5 deaths directly related to football. Two were at the high school level, two at the college level, and one in sandlot football. Three of these deaths occurred during games, which is most typical. One death happened during spring practice and the other happened during a spring game. There were also eleven indirect deaths during the 2010 football season. Nine of these were high school football, and two were college football. Most of these indirect football deaths were heat related. The good news is that since 1978 the number of deaths directly relating to football has only been a single digit, the bad news is that there are still deaths happening each year. A recent concern has become the indirect football related deaths due to a sickle cell trait where players die after a sickling collapse. We can only hope good research continues to help participants of the sport loved by many.