Currently in the NFL, there is a crisis going on that is scaring many players, discouraging parents from letting their kids play, and causing problems later in life to some players. The epidemic that has been sweeping the NFL for decades now, but is now recently getting attention is concussions. The problem: it’s not getting any better.
In 2012 and 2013, teams reported that 306 players suffered 323 concussions. However though, this number is most likely higher than the reported value as players often try to hide symptoms and “tough it out” so they can stay in the game and avoid the NFL’s concussion protocol. This is a huge problem because former players have been experiencing problems doctors are now relating to football.
For those who don’t know, a concussion is a very serious brain injury caused by a forceful blow to the head; and on some occasions, to the body of an individual that causes the person’s head causing it to move rapidly. This then results in the brain possibly twisting or banging off the skull, leading to swelling and causing chemical changes in the brain.
As you can see, concussions are very serious and can cause many complications later in life. Ex football players have been linked to a lot of these problems. Many ex football players have been diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Basically, CTE is a build of this strange protein called Tau. Tau has been linked to disturbing many brain cells in areas that control memories, emotions, and even other functions. Scientists have found alarming concentrations of tau in many autopsies of former NFL players. Tony Dorsett, one of the best running backs of all time has recently been suffering from symptoms like memory loss and depression due to this concussion epidemic. For his story, click here.
It is very evident that concussions are a huge problem in the NFL and that something needs to be done about it. Should the NFL implement stricter concussion policies, implement new rules, and/or conduct research on how to make helmets safer? Probably, but most likely they will do little about it as they have for decades now.
Breslow, Jason M. “FRONTLINE.” PBS. PBS, 19 Sept. 2014. Web. 15 Sept. 2016.
Weinbaum, William. “OTL: Ex-NFL Stars Show CTE Signs.” ESPN.com. ESPN, 5 Apr. 2014. Web. 15 Sept. 2016.
“What Is a Concussion?” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 Feb. 2015. Web. 15 Sept. 2016.