Keyport High School football player hospitalized with severe spinal injury
A Keyport High School football player remains hospitalized for a severe neck and spinal injury sustained during last weekend’s game. It is the third time this season that a New Jersey teen has been seriously injured on the football field.
Logan Blanks is a senior. He is at Jersey Shore Medical Center for treatment. His family and friends say they are optimistic about his recovery, and that he has movement and sensation in his limbs.
The injury happened Saturday during the game against Lakewood. According to a GoFundMe page for Blanks, he was rushed off the field to the hospital and underwent two surgeries.
Credit: John Dane Photos
A spokesperson for the Keyport School District wrote in a statement, "Logan Blanks embodies everything that the Keyport community takes pride in; hard working, accountable, caring, and supportive. He is everything that a parent, coach, and teacher would want in a young man in high school."
This is the third injury to occur this season. Linden High School player Xavier McClain, 16, died on Sept. 9 from traumatic brain injury. Aaron Van Trease, of St. John Vianney, suffered a serious spinal injury on Sept. 23.
As more traumatic brain injuries are linked to sports, researchers suggest that athletes look for warning signs of injury, no matter their age.
“Memory problems can happen. Any number of cognitive deficits and also depression,” says Dr. Brian Corbett, of Rutgers University.
Corbett suggests that brain injuries are often more subtle. An athlete who has taken one or more head injuries needs to monitor their health.
"I think it's important to monitor things like your sleep, your memory and your mood. And if you notice changes or if your loved ones around you bring anything up, then you should really pay close attention to that,” Corbett says.
The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association is the governing body for school sports in the state. The NJSIAA says that catastrophic injuries or fatalities are extremely rare, "but when they do occur, NJSIAA works with the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee to collect information that can be used to assess potential rule and policy revisions-all in an effort to keep student athletes as safe as possible."
The agency says that it works with high school teams under a program called “Practice Like a Pro” to ensure all football players know how to hit and tackle without injury.
According to data from the Korey Stringer Institute, nearly 90% of all sudden deaths in sports are caused by four conditions – cardiac arrest, traumatic head injury, heat stroke and a condition known as exertional sickling.