March 23, 2013
Concussions in Football
Injuries in sports are bound to happen no matter what sport you are playing and you never know when an injury will occur. They just come with the territory and they can range from a cut to an injury that could end an athlete’s career or even worse lead to a death. A big problem in sports nowadays is that there are too many concussions in pro sports all the way down to young kids who are just starting to play a sport. Football in particular has received a lot of backlash about the safety of the sport because there tends to be more concussions in this sport than in any of the other major sports. With all this talk about concussions in football, it may become very hard to market the sport because of all the safety problems and this could lead to less participation.
A concussion is when there is a blow to the head or body that causes a type of traumatic brain injury. It causes stretching, damaging the cells, and chemical changes to the brain. Basically, it is when your brain moves in the skull and hits the side of your skull. There are many different symptoms that the athlete can experience, but there are also symptoms that coaches and other players can observe if they believe someone may have a concussion. Symptoms that players experience include headaches, nausea or vomiting, dizziness or sensitivity to light and noise, and memory problems just to name a few. Symptoms that coaches can observe include glassy eyes, noticing the player is forgetting plays, answers slowly, and can’t recall what happened before or after the play. Dangers of receiving one or more concussions can include brain swelling or permanent brain damage and in some cases they can be fatal. There are also concussion danger signs, which include one pupil larger than the other, a headache that gets worse, convulsions or seizures, loss of consciousness and can’t be woken up, and can’t recognize people or places. There is no way to fully prevent concussions no matter what equipment you are wearing or how good you are. The best way to lower concussions is to teach the younger kids how to properly hit and not to use their head when tackling. Always emphasize that safety comes first.
During the 2012-2013 NFL season, there were more than 160 players that had head injuries, but at the same time there were breakthroughs in brain research, a wrongful death lawsuit, and the President of the United States talked about head injuries that come along with playing football. The biggest play that would lead to concussions would be kickoffs, so this year they moved it up five yards for more touchbacks. By doing this, there was a 43 percent drop in head injuries during kickoffs. After doing this, the NFL donated $30 million to the National Institute of Health for research on head injuries. This is when all the head injuries started happening because they season was fully underway now. A Jacksonville Jaguars player suffered his second concussion on 9/30 and his second in as many weeks and his third total of the season. By receiving more and more concussions, this player is putting himself in danger of hurting himself for good. Boston University then did a study on former football players and found that there were 28 cases of CTE in players that have passed away, including 15 who played in the NFL. The most recent being Junior Seau who took many blows to the head over his career and they found that it was present in him when he committed suicide. With all these head injuries happening, it’s hard to hear the 4 in 5 NFL players don’t trust their team’s medical staff.
On the upside, for the 2012 season, more concussions were being reported, which the NFL believes means teams are becoming more serious about head injuries. From practices, games, and preseason there were 154 concussions reported through week eight of the season. That was a 21 percent increase from the 127 reported in the same...