(WMBB) – The Florida House of Representatives passed a resolution back in March to name this August “Abdominal Injury in Youth Football Awareness Month.”
The Taylor Haugen Foundation, named after the Niceville football player who passed away in 2008 due to a ruptured liver while playing for the team, spearheaded the effort to bring attention to abdominal injuries in youth athletics.
“Anything we can do to share Taylor’s story is always a big win for us,” the Taylor Haugen Foundation Associate Director Eddie Bird said.
Abdominal injuries are uncommon, but they can be deadly, especially because internal injuries can often go undetected until it’s too late.
“Because a lot of times there’s internal bleeding and signs of internal bleeding are dizziness, fatigue, lack of energy, lack of awareness, concussion symptoms but there was no head injury,” said Ray Morris, Sports Medicine Coordinator for Gulf Coast Medical Center.
That’s why education about this type of injury is so important and a goal of the foundation.
South Walton head football coach Phil Tisa, who knows Taylor’s story and his parents well, says talking to his players and coaching staff about this injury and others is the biggest thing they need to do.
“It’s a contact sport, there is a risk of injury. But I think even knowing the situation, Taylor wouldn’t have stopped either, he would have still been playing no matter what,” Tisa said.
This resolution is opening the door to that conversation and bringing lots of attention to abdominal injuries in football and other youth sports.
“Often times, parents say to us, I didn’t even know that was a possibility. And that is why it’s so important for us to educate as many people as we can,” Bird said.
The resolution is only for August 2020, but the foundation hopes they will continue to make it something recognized every August in Florida.