Concussions In Football Essay

1397 words - 6 pages

Not many sports are as physically demanding on the human body as football. The physical toll that football players pay is almost impossible to comprehend unless one has actually played the sport for a significant amount of time. However, until recently any connection between the hits taken by football players and their health down the road was largely ignored. A common, yet difficult injury to detect in football is a concussion, the most common traumatic brain injury (Pearce). A concussion is defined as “a brain injury that is caused by a sudden blow to the head or the body. The blow shakes the brain inside the skull, which temporarily prevents the brain from working normally” (Heiner pa.5). Reports and studies have surfaced shedding light on just how much damage is inflicted upon the brain due to crippling hits. These studies suggest that NFL athletes who received concussions suffered lasting damage to the brain, which opens the gate to a multitude of other health issues such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and clinical depression (Pearce). This is an aspect of the game that not many are aware of and it is a serous issue that needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later. There have been too many heartbreaking stories such as that of Justin Strzelcyk who heard voices and died in a crash while fleeing police or that of Andre Waters who shot himself in the head after struggles with depression (Zarda pa.1). Many current and former players are suffering in silence; this shouldn’t be the case. The National Football League needs to extend a hand to former players debilitated by head injuries. The problem of concussions and other head injuries in the NFL is one that needs to be tackled head on.
To begin with, the key to solving the problem of concussions in the National Football League is awareness. NFL players as well as college players need to be educated in some form on the symptoms of a concussion and possible long-term effects. These athletes must be aware of the dangers and realities of this injury. Greg Hadley, a senior linebacker from Colgate University, had a jaw-dropping experience when he went to a Bedford, Massachusetts laboratory; he got an up-close view of the shattered brains of dead football players (Gregory). The young man was able to see what may await him, having suffered four concussions to date and stared in disbelief at the brains as brown as an actual football (Gregory). Sobering experiences like this are needed to get the point across that concussions aren’t something to play with. The statistics are staggering; there is a one in 1000 chance that a 30-49 year old man will receive a diagnosis of dementia, Alzheimer’s or another memory-related disease compared to 1 in 53 chance that an NFL retiree aged 30-49 will receive the same diagnosis (Gregory). Raising awareness shouldn’t just be limited to players; it should extend to the coaching staff and training staff as well. These conferences could take place during the...

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