Concussion Awareness in Football
For many Americans, a typical Sunday includes sitting with your family and watching your favorite football team play on television. The exciting plays and the thrill of watching your team win is all part of the experience. But as many do not realize, there is a great danger that comes with this violent sport: concussions. A concussion is defined as a common form of traumatic brain injury resulting from blunt force trauma to the head (Flynn 2). In the game of football, collisions occur during every single play; concussions can occur from one very argue impact or from many small hits to the head over time.
In the past, players and coaches have brushed off the true effects of concussions on a humans brain. Some even believe that this sport should and will not exist in the near future due to the severe injuries and possible consequences of its violence. However, people should not count out football entirely as there are many new regulations to make the game safer and numerous improved safety in football throughout America. While a number of players and owners disregard the severity of concussions in football and other critics of the NFL advocate for the elimination of the game, officials are taking proper action by creating new rules and stressing the importance of concussions prevention, and therefore, football fans and players must accept the true consequences of concussions in order to enforce safety and prolong the presence of the beloved American sport.
Concussions were not a major concern in the past, as everyone would brush it off and keep playing because there was a lack of technology and research to prove any major damage occured in the brain. As long as a player could walk and merely do their job they were fine. There was no snap, no break, or no sudden observable injury when a player suffered from a concussion. That was sufficient enough for any medical assistant or coach who wanted to keep their player in the game. However, people really began to see the true consequences when studies were done on the brains of former NFL players. Many of them were found to show similar aggressive and abnormal behaviors toward the end of their lives. Inside their brains were also similar, later being diagnosed as a disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Otherwise known as CTE, it is “a degenerative brain disease that results in abnormal behaviors” (Roush). This is different from a concussion, where this disease is the long term effect from having one or many concussions. It has become vital to acknowledge and diagnose concussions when they happen in order to decrease the likelihood of present football players developing CTE later on in life. With new technology and techniques to assess concussions, players and coaches need to accept the reality of concussions in order to protect themselves and their players.
A great deal of people believe that the risks of concussions triumphs the love for the game of football. It should be abolished and cut out from not only high school and youth football, but professional as well. Because there is much less technology in high school football to diagnose concussions, players can “get away” with the possibility of having one because there is not always a medical professional on the sidelines watching for it. Recently, high schools have implemented a concussion protocol to test players who could possibly have a concussion. In a study done, “37 percent of high school football players surveyed experienced concussion symptoms but only 10% actually reported and were examined for it” (Boriboon 20). The risk of being benched comes at a cost because of the culture of winning, and the importance of being on the field. It becomes a balancing act for when players should report their suspected brain injury; they want to protect their own safety, but also avoid a possible season ending diagnosis. Because of all these undiagnosed concussion, football fans including many parents because it would be a much easier and safer option to shutdown the game completely. No matter how vital a player may be toward their team, long term health and safety should triumph the possible fatal effects of a suspected concussion.
Nowadays, players who are diagnosed with a concussion have to go through a certain set of proceudres, tests, and proitocols in order to be cleared to player again. However, some of the players can cheat their way through the process so they can get back on the field faster. Doing this can result in some very negative consequences, sometimes even fatal. When a player is not given enough time to recover from a previous conussion, doctors are calling this second impact syndrome (Edwards 129). The brain is in a very vulnerable state during a concussion and when a player returns to play too early it can be detrimental. Football observers use this as another reason for why the game should be abolished because players are ever going to slow themselves down from getting back on the field. As an athlete, being on the football field is a very importamt thing, and players feel like they are holding back themselves and their team when they can’t be on the field. As a result, players rush their recovery time in order to be on the field as soon as possible, even though it increases their risk for further injury.
From a visual standpoint, it can be understood that football is a very physical sport. There is violent contact on every single play of every single practice and game. There is valid reasonng for why parents do not want their kids pkaying tackle football: simply becasue it is too dangerous. They have a point; on average, a football player will recieve 900 to 1500 blows to the head during a season (Boriboon 24). Your brain can only take so many jars to the head before your brain becomes scrambled. It is a common myth that a concussion can only be formed by one giant hit to the head. However, the accumultion of hundreds of hits over the course of the season can do the same damage. The fear of young kids playing football is a completely valid point becasue of the dangerous risks of concussions on young childrens brains.
The risks of developing a concussion is so much higher as a child than as an adult because childrens brains are still developing. As well as a short term concussion, developing this injury can open young athletes brains up to long term risk in CTE. They also have a chance to struggle with emotions and normal brain function. In a sample published by the New York Times, “former football players who participated youth football before the age of twelve, had a risk of behavioral regulation problems and clinically elevated depression scores” (Belson). This study was done in a sample of 214 former football players, with an average age of fifty-one. When parents see this statistic, it backs their beliefe that football has too many risks for the little rewards. Parents do not want to set their kids up to have these possible aftereffects, so they avoid introduction to the sport to their kids all together.
Another growing concern is the intentional violence that occurs during football players. It happens more often than it should where players have the intention to hurt other players or hit them with more than necessary force. Also, the increase of safety is just another excuse for why players believe they can hit each other harder. A former NFL player, Sats Maliszewski admitted that “becasue there is more protection in football, players feel ike they can be more violent without more consequenses. The more a player feels secure” he added, “the more he’ll deliver hard blows” (Casciola 52). This is not the case though, as players are at greater risk becasue of the greater force being exerted on the player, primarily their head and brain. This negative behavior between players is a great challegne in football and one that drives parents away from the sport.