Junior Seau was one of the best middle linebackers in the NFL during his 20 playing years, amassing over 1,500 tackles, and delivering an insurmountable number of hits. In 2011, shortly after retiring, he abruptly committed suicide by shooting himself. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) conducted a study on Seau’s brain and diagnosed him with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease caused by repeated head trauma (Pilon and Belson). Seau is among countless other former players whose careers’ of playing football changed their lives forever. Former quarterback Terry Bradshaw told USA Today about how poor his mental health has become. He says, “I couldn’t ...view middle of the document...
Concussions increased from the 2009-2012 seasons, with frequencies of 97, 129, 142 then 161 (Breslow, “What We’ve Learned from Two Years of Tracking NFL Concussions). The NFL and the world of sports paid attention to this alarming trend. Society has become more aware of the negative long-term effects of these TBIs. DeKosky, Ikonomovic, and Gandy argue that by understanding the negative effects of head trauma, society is more aware and better equipped to deal with concussions in sports. Athletes exposed to head trauma are at a greater risk for later damage like memory loss, depression and dementia (Breslow, “The 2013-14 Season in Review”). The athletes that experienced head damage experience this decline much later in life, and the decline is often extensive. The link of concussion to these negative effects put sports-related concussions in the national spotlight.
Media and the lawsuit by former NFL players put even more pressure on the NFL to act on the concussion epidemic. Thousands of former players, a Congressional committee, and even President Obama are active in speaking out against the NFL, saying the league is not doing enough.
These factors led to several rule changes in the NFL aiming to limit head injuries and helmet-to-helmet contact in football, along with research in new technology in helmets and the science behind concussions (“New NFL Rules Designed to Limit Head Injuries”).
Avila, Jim, and Serena Marshall. "Sports Leagues, Athletes Talk Concussions with DC Lawmakers." ABC News. ABC News Entertainment Ventures, 13 Mar. 2014. Web. 24 May 2014. .
Belson, Ken. "Concussions Show Decline of 13 Percent, N.F.L. Says." New York Times. New York Times, 30 Jan. 2014. Web. 15 May 2014....