Physical Effects in Football

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Football is one of the most loved sports in the United States. It is one of the most violent and adrenaline sports, leaving players permanently injured for the rest of their lives. The most common injury that football players suffer from little league through the NFL is the concussion. A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that changes the way your brain works. The effects of a concussion are usually small or minor and can result in a full recovery if it’s minor and treated correctly.

A concussion can lead to brain problems later in life, even after a player has finished his football career. This is why people are studying and trying to understand concussions fully in order to prevent and treat future ones. Concussions are very serious and shouldn’t be taken lightly which is why it has become a major topic in football. As much as professional and young athletes want to prove their toughness and continue to play, new research is proving that concussions are far more dangerous than anyone could have predicted.

Concussions can be very difficult to spot especially since plays don’t necessarily have to be knocked out in order to receive a concussion. This is why players who suffer from head injuries are often told to “”shake it off”” and get back in the game. Many concussions in high school go undiagnosed due to lack of staff, player, and family knowledge about concussions. Being able to recognize a concussion is the first step in protecting athletes.

Ways to recognize a concussion that has either been knocked out or still conscious would be if a player feels dizzy, confused and forgetful, complains about headaches, and/or vomit or feels nauseous. Concussion symptoms can either occur right away or in some cases they can begin weeks later after receiving the hit that caused the concussion. If a player is suffering from the symptoms of a concussion and continues to play they are at risk for second-hit syndrome.

This is when a player gets hits and receives another concussion while playing with the previous one that hasn’t healed. Noticing the symptoms of a concussion is the first step in protecting athletes. To better educate and understand concussions, knowledge on how they occur and what causes it to happen is very important.

A concussion can be caused by a hit or jolt to the head. Players don’t necessarily have to get hit in the head to get a concussion. They can be hit in the body hard enough that the player’s head whips back and forth causing the brain to twist and/or bounce around within the skull. A concussion causes no structural damage to the brain, it is not a bruise on the brain. When a concussion occurs players can be knocked out, but for the most part players are usually conscious and may not even realize they sustained one. Football players receive huge amounts of force from impacts on their head during a football game.

When measuring a collision the unit used is a “”G””. Getting hit in the head with a high flying soccer ball causes around 20G’s, which is like getting hit in a rear-end car crash at a low speed. The disturbing fact about football is that a high-school football player who, according to a recent evaluation by Purdue researchers, received a blow to the head during a game that carried a force of 289G.

The scariest part was not just the amount of force but that the player showed no visible signs of a concussion. This is scary because if that player sustained a concussion and he and/or the team staff didn’t realize it, he can cause even more serious damage to his head by continuing to play in the game. This is why people involved in football are trying to learn more about concussions in order to protect their players.

Due to the growing topic of concussions in football new ways of prevention are becoming available. No one technique or safety equipment can completely stop concussions from happening as of right now. It may never happen either because the head is such a difficult body part to protect when playing football. Safety and equipment have come a long way in football in order to prevent brain injuries. A very important piece of equipment used to prevent brain trauma is the helmet. The helmet has evolved a lot over the years, even more in the past decade.

The Helmets main purpose use to be just to stop skull fractures, then they added the facemask to prevent facial injuries. Concussions are more of a recent concern. Overconfidence in the helmets’ protective power prompts many NFL athletes to deliver and accept hits that would have killed players of previous generations. Now the helmet is being revolutionized. Helmets aren’t only being created to stop skull and face fractures but they are being created to help prevent brain damage such as concussions now. Helmets have gone through testing to see how to design a better preventative helmet.

These newer helmets are being designed to reduce the amount of force that is being applied to the head by a hit that is received. Virginia Tech football has been monitoring helmet collisions since 2003, courtesy of Dr. Gunnar Brolinson. Dr. Gunnar Brolinson has outfitted the team’s helmets with six sensors and a small antenna that records and transmits data to a computer on the sideline. This information collected is crucial because it will help find better ways to design a helmet that will prevent concussions. Equipment isn’t the only important part of football that can help prevent concussions.

Coaches and family play important roles in noticing and preventing concussions. Ways that coaches can prevent concussions is to teach proper hitting, never lower your head or lead with your head, make sure equipment fits, and knowing the symptoms of a concussion. Coaches should also strive for a trustful bond between the coach and the athlete. This is crucial because players do want to play and they will do anything to stay on the field.

Players don’t want to be taken off the field for any reason whether it’s due to injury or simply making a mistake. The fear of being removed and not getting another chance of playing because of being labeled as “”soft”” encourages players to fight through injuries and continue playing at any risk. This is why the player and coach relationship is extremely important. If a player and coach have a good relationship and the player knows he won’t be losing his starting position and looked at as “”soft”” after returning back from injury, the player wouldn’t be worried about telling the coach if he or she thinks they sustained an injury.

Family members should also look for signs of concussions at home because symptoms may not show till weeks later. If symptoms become apparent you should stop playing because further brain damage or death can occur. Suffering from concussions causes brain damage and receiving multiple ones can lead to serious problems in the future.

Concussions don’t only cause short term brain alterations but if a player suffers from multiple concussions they may find themselves with brain and mental problems later in life. Many former NFL players suffer from brain diseases at a much younger age than the average person. A common condition is chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which is a brain disease that mimics dementia.

Player’s brains can suffer such trauma that the player can become a threat to himself and/or the people around him. ”Dave Duerson a former player for the Chicago Bears committed suicide at age 50” (Pompei, Dan). Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy diagnosed Duerson with a “”moderately advanced case”” of CTE. NFL players showed a higher rate of dementia of about six times compared to the general population. NFL players aren’t the only athletes suffering from these problems.

High school athletes who have long term history of at least two concussions where more likely to show brain problems. These athletes showed memory problems, headaches, problems with balance and changes in sleeping patterns. You don’t need to be in the NFL in order to acquire brain damage that can affect you later in life. Long-term damage is caused by concussions and is very serious. Players on every age group is hurting themselves not just in the moment but in the future always. This is why actions need to be taken to change the way the game is played.

The NFL over the past few years have taken concussions extremely serious and are implementing rules to help protect the players. Players cannot use there helmet as a weapon to hit the opposing players head during a tackle. They also have rules to protect defenseless players such as quarterbacks and receivers. Virginia Tech wants football to take a tradition from baseball. Baseball uses a pitch count to keep pitchers’ arms healthy.

Virginia Tech wants to enforce a hit count for a player during a game. If a player reaches a certain amount of blows to the head they should be required to sit out for the remainder of the game in order to protect them. “A lineman who collides every play averages about 1,000-1,500 hits to the head per season “(Sbia). If a set hit count was in place those hits could dramatically decrease. This would provide better safety and health for those players.

The NFL and football people are trying to better understand concussions and how they can improve on protecting players. Many steps have been taken in the right direction to better equipment and educating about concussions. People have to remember that concussions have only been an important topic in the past decade and even more recently.

Most of what is known about concussions have been found recently. Over the past decade there has been much improvement but there is still room for more. Equipment has improved but it is mostly unavailable to lower budget teams due to the amount the new helmets and equipment cost. Equipment needs to still improve and it needs to be more economic for smaller schools. The brain is not like a bone when it breaks it doesn’t repair itself.

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Physical Effects in Football. (2020, Mar 18). Retrieved from

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