What is the deal with concussions in the NFL?
A very controversial topic in the sports world right now is the topic of concussions, and the impact that they present currently in the NFL. The NFL stands for National Football League, it is the professional level of football in America. A concussion, for those who do know, is practically defined as head trauma resulting from a fierce strike to the head. Many parents are not allowing their kids to play football in fear of damaging their child”s brain, and many parents including current NFL players, such as Arizona Cardinal safety Tyrain Mathieu, are pushing for their children to play soccer instead.
What is CTE?
The game of football is a very aggressive sport, and it requires medical attention almost all of the time. Many injuries stem from football, both long term and short term. CTE- Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, is a disease in the brain, practically this is a build up of proteins in the brain. This is not good. Proteins in the brain can lead to many bad things, such as anxiety or even to the extent of Alzheimer’s in some specific cases. CTE causes long term stress too. This disease is common in former NFL players. Not just NFL is where it is common but also in professional wrestling and even boxing.
A pathologist named Dr. Bennett Omalu ran a study and found CTE in 19 out of 20 players that he tested. He brought this to the attention of the NFL and thought that they would be happy for this discovery. The NFL reacted with straight anger and denial, practically shunning this guy for his findings. The NFL denied that this great sport of football caused such a terrible thing. Omalu received scrutiny from NFL players,coachers,and executives for his findings. The NFL denied this and called it an absolute coincidence.
Omalu specifically examined the brain of former Pittsburgh Steelers player, Mike Webster. Webster went from being on top of the world to being found dead, a victim of his own suicide in his pick-up truck. Webster battled anxiety and stress after the game of football, the NFL did not give a damn about him after he received his last paycheck. Omalu was disturbed by his findings and wanted to raise awareness for this issue, the strangest thing off all is that he never watched football in his life.
Today in the NFL
For twenty years the debate continued whether conclusions in the NFL were a major thing or not, the NFL still denies it to this day. Improvements have been made though, many rules have been implanted in order to protect players, helmets are now technologically advanced in terms of reducing impact. This can lead to less concussions. The NFL has set the standard in regulations in terms of player safety, the rules have trickled down to the pop-warner level (young kids) and they are even teaching how to tackle safer. The NFL is a large corporation, and they practically own a day of the week. Omalu’s research may have saved the lives of several.