Eleven high school football players died while playing prep football last year, up from four the year before and the highest total in a decade, according to study conducted by the University of North Carolina.
Also during the 1986 season, the study said six high school football players died from causes indirectly related to football, such as heart attacks following exertion. Only one high school football player died under similar circumstances in 1985.
"If they (deaths) continue to climb, we'll have to look at how coaches are teaching blocking and tackling once again and also look at the standards for football helmets," said Dr. Frederick O. Mueller, professor of physical education at North Carolina.
Of the 12 deaths that occurred in high school and college football, nine resulted from head injuries, Mueller said.