Concussions in the NFL

With the NFL season just starting, I decided to make this blog about one of the biggest ongoing problems in the NFL right now. The debate over concussions has been going on for years and it has been concluded that concussions can cause some permanent brain damage. So now the question of whether or not it’s worth it arises. Some people say yes and some people say no. My blog will be an opinionated or biased piece but it will inform you enough for you to make your own decision.

September 27, 2012;Baltimore, MD, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Cribbs (16) gets his helmet knocked off by Baltimore Ravens long snapper Morgan Cox (46) at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE  Author: Jason M Breslow

So what exactly is a concussion? Well, according to the CDC website, a concussion is a MTBI ( Mild traumatic brain injury) that is caused by a hit to the head or by violent shaking of the head and body. Clearly in the NFL, each player receives a countless amount of hits/blows to the head, not even counting the ones they received in their high school and college careers. However, treating concussions is easy. You do not continue to play the sport until all concussion symptoms are gone. Sounds harmless, right? That is what everyone thought until Dr. Bennet Omalu discovered chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in football players and its link to head trauma caused by football (Breslow). In 2002, Dr. Omalu was assigned to conduct the autopsy of Mike Webster, former steelers center. When examining the brain, he noticed CTE, which is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain ( Boston University Website). This finding was huge was later linked to concussions and repeated hard hits to the head. I could go into much more details about his discoveries but I want to focus more on concussions in the NFL today and how they are preventing more brain injuries. But in essence, this is how concussions became such a large problem.

So what measures are the NFL taking to prevent more and more injuries? Well they are doing multiple things. From personal knowledge, helmets are getting more safe because the pads in the helmet absorb more and more of the shock from the hits. When I was in high school, every year a representative from Riddell ( the company who supplied our helmets ) would give a presentation to our whole team each season describing how the pads in the helmet were more shock absorbing. Riddell is one of the two companies who supplies the NFL with helmets. The other is Xenith. To get a more in depth look at the technology of these helmets, you can just visit their websites. Another precaution that the NFL is taking is that they are introducing more penalties to protect players from helmet to helmet collisions (

These precautions are not only being implemented at the professional level, as these new penalties have also been introduced to the college and high school level.

11 thoughts on “Concussions in the NFL

  1. Brendan Mironov


    I posted a blog that also talks about the effects of concussion and CTE in football as well as other sports like hockey. I think that concussions have gotten to point where we have to consider keeping our children away from contact sports. And this is from someone who played sports competitively, sports are a huge part of my life. I believe that the NFL needs to do more things like this. We need to continue to fund research and hopefully one day we will find a cure to CTE.

  2. Madison Taylor

    I read this post as I was watching the Thursday Night game, and it immediately caught my attention. My brother and I love the NFL and are always concerned about the players’ health especially when it comes to concussions. Like you said, the good news is that the NFL is cracking down on concussion protocol and is changing rules and penalties to help reduce the likelihood of concussions. I hope that the NFL continues to work on reducing concussions, however, this NY Times article shows that the NFL has not always been completely honest in their research

  3. Michael Gerard Shevlin

    While the NFL is in fact taking steps towards preventing concussions, there are many things that are out of their control. For example, some players have gone on record saying that they would hide the concussion rather than go through treatment, which you can read about here..
    This is a very dangerous factor that could slow the progress of the NFL’s concussion protection.

  4. evk5294

    I never knew concussions were such a big deal until I sustained one myself. For months afterward I had a hard time reading and concentrating along with horrible headaches. It interfered with my short term memory and is still affecting me today. When I went to the hospital I was exhibiting a lot of signs of brain trauma and the ER decided to ignore it and refuse me a CT scan. I think this is a hugely important issue now, especially when there is significant research being done to prove how detrimental a concussion can be. However, I know when I left high school a few years ago there was talk about getting helmets for the girls lacrosse team, and that makes me wonder if they’ll stop with that. How do you decide what activities need helmets and which don’t? Will sports be completely different in a few years from now with the new research on concussions?

    Anyway, here is an article about warning signs of concussion:

  5. Hugo Almeida

    I agree with this NFL concussion predicament growing worse and worse and I certainly know what it’s like to sustain a concussion. However I can’t imagine what its like to sustain multiple concussions on end. Here’s a prototype helmet that can also potentially decrease the amount of concussions on the field. There’s also a 4:26 minute video that worth the watch.

  6. Thomas Garvin

    I knew the concussion problem was a big one in the NFL, but I never really fully grasped the issue until it became a key part of the NFL’s safety mission. This article gave me further knowledge on what steps the NFL is taking to prevent these devastating injuries. Im excited to see the new equipment that is sure to be unveiled. I wonder how the money going to concussions will be allocated? Heres a link to some of the most devastating effects of concussions in the NFL:

  7. Casey Patrick Brennan

    I personally think that the NFL taking the route of improving helmet technology is the best route to go. With all of the targeting and defenseless player rules being implemented I think it takes away from the integrity of the game. It seems that now a days if a player gets hit with any sort of significant force, the player who delivered the hit is getting flagged regardless if the hit was legal or not. In my opinion a player should know what he’s getting into when playing a violent sport with some of the most athletic people on Earth.

  8. Corbin Kennedy Miller

    As a fan of the NFL, I found this piece really interesting. Recently the NFL received a lot of backlash from media because Cam Newton (Panthers Quarterback) was hit in the head multiple times during his week one games against the Denver Broncos, but nothing was done about the hits. Because of this, the NFL just pledge upwards of seven hundred million dollars for research on better protecting players and their heads. There was also a movie made with Will Smith about the doctor that originally discovered CTE and its effects on the brain.

  9. dwd5373

    Concussions are by far the worst outcome in the NFL right now. I think guys are getting to big, fast, and strong because running into one of them is like trying to go through a brick wall. Thankfully I have never received a concussion even playing football for 12 years but I do believe it was because my town and school provided us with very safe helmets and equipment. Here is one of the safest helmets but it is selling for $400!

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