Head injury has tragically robbed the world of many promising student athletes; in one week in September alone, three high school football players in the US lost their lives due to head trauma. One of them was injured in GelDefender’s own backyard, less than half an hour’s drive from our Raleigh headquarters.
Isaiah Langston, a 17-year-old lineman at Rolesville High School, died five days after being hit in the back of the head during practice on Sept. 24. After the initial injury, he was held out of practice due to headaches for two days before returning to play for a Sept. 26 game. He collapsed during the pre-game warmups, was rushed to the hospital, and died on Sept. 29 of a stroke.
The recently-released state medical examiner’s report listed the cause of death as “head trauma while playing football” and ruled the death an accident. According to the report, his stroke was caused by a clot in a major artery leading to the brain, which, through a medical chain of events, was most likely caused by the blow in practice.
It’s unclear whether he saw and was cleared by a doctor or athletic trainer to return to play (as is required by North Carolina state law for a student-athlete with concussion symptoms). But it’s reasonably clear that there was a mishandling of the head injury and that Langston’s death was the result. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, and we hope this tragedy will inspire others to take head injuries seriously and play it safer in the future.
*Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.