Concussions in Football

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The quarterback drops back into the pocket and begins looking down field towards his receivers. One of the defensive linemen breaks through the offensive line and the quarterback quickly throws the ball away, but not before he is slung to the ground. As the quarterback lands on the ground, his head cracks back and hits the turf with tremendous force; and despite wearing a protective football helmet, the quarterback suffers a severe concussion. Concussions happen weekly in the NFL to players of all positions due to the tremendous force these players are hit with weekly and need to be noted more carefully. The short and long term effects of multiple concussions can be devastating to the human mind. Not only does the brain suffer long term physical damage, players often suffer from long term mental problems. So what is the NFL doing about this? Surprisingly enough, very little.

Before we get started, it's very important to know what exactly a concussion is. A concussion is the most common type of traumatic brain injury. A concussion involves a transient loss of mental function. It can be caused by acceleration or deceleration forces, or by a direct blow to the head. Whether a player is hit with a helmet to helmet type of hit, a face mask, or just hit's his head to hard on the turf; they can all cause serious concussions. Concussions weren't taken very seriously until the middle of the 20th century. Often times, if a player said he was ok to go back onto the field after a concussion; the team doctors would let him. Recently, however, the NFL began doing studies on concussions due to the career ending injuries to Troy Aikman and Steve Young.

In 1994, the NFL commissioned a research committee to learn more about concussions and the lasting effects that they had on players. The lead investigator, Dr. Elliot Pellman, took a look at videotapes from 174 different concussion instances to determine what designs they could make in the NFL helmet to reduce the amount of...
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