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Football Helmets Are Insufficient To Stop Concussions

1495 words - 6 pages

Football is game of speed, strength, and strategy. The best way to be a better player is working on becoming bigger and stronger while maintaining the speed, but when the players mass, strength, and speed all get better the forces the can produce a greater force with their hits. According to Timothy Gay, Physics professor at the University of Nebraska and author of The Physics of Football, a Defensive Back at the average one-hundred and ninety pounds that runs a 4.56 forty-yard dash can produce sixteen-hundred pounds of tackling force, which easily can break any bone of the human body. Due to the extreme forces the players are exposed to, it is necessary for each player to wear pads that help reduce and spread out the forces, and helmets to protect the skull and brain. The current equipment protects against career ending injuries, but concussions continue happening. Helmets have became larger and have much more padding then previous years, but why do concussions continue to be a problem?
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that causes the short term loss of memory and coordination usually accompanied with headaches. The Colorado Medical Society states there are different grades of concussions according to their severity. Grade I consists of confusion with no loss of consciousness, And Grade II is no loss of consciousness with confusion and amnesia, while Grade III concussions are anything that causes a player to be unconscious. When the brain slams against the skull causing a concussion there is risk of a blood clot forming. The signs that point to a blood clot forming in the cranial cavity are headaches continuing to get worse, nausea, slurred speech, and the feeling of being weak. The concussion symptoms typically subside after one to two day.
The human brain is protected by the skull which has a natural fluid to cushion the impact when the brain collides with the skull; However, that fluid only is effective with small impacts. Concussions can occur from the rapid deceleration of the head in car accidents. In football the head reverses momentum within a short period of time and distance than car accidents which is the reason the most common place for concussions is in contact sports. In a study from ESPN’s Sports Science it is shown that an NFL special teams collision that lasts .015 second and create up to a hundred and ninety Gs of force. While the amount of g-force is high, the short time period lowers the chance of blacking out. When the brain accelerates like that it hits the skull and creates waves that travel through the grey matter and has the potential to damage the white matter.
Lately there have been many retired football players have been diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy(CTE) which is a disease that destroys the neurons of the brain and is traced back to concussions. The neurons send signals through microtubules in the axon which is held together by the protein tau. When trauma occurs to the brain the tau...

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