Concussions in Football What is the cost of playing in the National Football League? A player could have a broken leg or a pulled hamstring, but what if there was something that could affect a player after his playing years were over? A concussion would be the answer to that question, and it can lead a serious brain injury and even cause disease such as Alzheimer’s. The National Football League is at a crossroad concerning concussions, and many former National Football League players will say that the National Football League and general population knew about it before the concussion crisis was brought into the light..
When the concussion crisis first arose many people did not even know medically how to define concussion. Now, however, it is defined as an traumatic brain injury that alters the way the brain functions (Mayoclinic. org, 2014). The National Football League has taken many precautions concerning concussions by introducing new rules such as eliminating helmet to helmet contact. The National Football League has also started ejecting players for targeting. Targeting is when a player leans with his head and goes for his opponent’s head.
The National Football League has also started fining and suspending players to let the other players know they are somewhat serious about the concussion crisis in the National Football League. Many of the current National Football League players will say the the National Football League is not taking the precautions that is needed to make the game safe. The National Football League is making advancements, but League is years away from making the adjustments to make the game of football safe for all players of all ages.
The National Football League needs to address the real dangers of concussions, understand and deter players from hiding concussions, and make adjustments to scheduling for safety reasons. Mayo clinic defines a concussion as an traumatic brain injury that alters the way the brain functions (Mayoclinic. org). What this means is that when someone takes a massive blow to the brain and head area it can cause serious damage that either a former or a current National Football Player can suffer from for the rest of their life.
When a player suffers a concussion, he may not even realize he has suffered a concussion. Some studies even show that it usually takes about half an hour for the symptoms of a concussion to really set in. Concussions in Football makes clear, “The brain is a soft organ. Its consistency is a lot like Jell-o. Usually, the brain floats in spinal fluid inside the skull, which protects the brain. If someone gets hit in the head, the skull absorbs some of the force- but not all of it. In a bad hit, the brain slam into the skull’s inner wall.
The soft tissue of the brain is hurt when it takes in the force of the blow. The blow can break blood vessels. It can stretch or tear nerve cells. It can even bruise the brain. ” (Kamberg, 2011, p,15) What this means is that the health hazards behind a concussion are very real and are very dangerous. In one study by the University of North Carolina Center for the study of retired athletes top researchers collected some health records from 2,552 retired National Football League players. What the researchers found was alarming.
The group of former players, in fact, suffered three times the degree of depression than those other. The question that should be asked is did the National Football League know about this before the general population? If they did know about the concussion crisis and kept it from everyone then the question is why? Were the top executive people in the National Football League just so concerned with making their millions of dollars that they forgot about the safety and well-being of their players?
If that is the case, then the top executives and the people who kept their mouths shut about the concussion crisis got what they deserved when all this shocking information came out. Another shocking study done by the same university proved that former football players with a history of concussions had a 37 percent higher risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease compared to any other man in that same age range (Kamberg 2011)! That fact proves how dangerous and how life threatening a concussion can be.
In the past, professional football knew about the minor injuries such as; a broken leg or a torn hamstring, but until recent discoveries by many various creditable different doctors show just how dangerous concussions are, but some professional players are concerned that the National Football League is not taking the precautions it needs to take in order to ensure the players safety. For example, many of the players will play through a concussion even though they know the dangers of playing hurt.
This makes absolutely no sense as to why the players would want to do this to their brain. These players need to start thinking in the term of the long run, and not just one period of their life. Even though the players love the game and want to play, there has to be a limit. These players are only going to get away with abusing their brain for so long. If players could see what their brain looked like in real time when they had just taken a hit that caused a concussion, they would definitely rethink using their head as a weapon.
It would probably frighten some players to see their brain and to see the damage they have done to their brain over the years of playing not only in the National Football League, but think about all the practices and games from high school on thru college and up to the National Football League. In addition to playing with a concussion, some players are willing to hide them, making it harder for the National Football league to do further research on concussions.
Former top leading rusher of the National Football League Maurice Jones-Drew publicly stated in an interview that he would hide a concussion in an interview with Howard Fendrich “The Bottom line is: You have to be able to put food on the table. No one’s going to sign or want a guy who can’t stay healthy. I know there will be a day when I’m going to have trouble walking. I realize that,’ Jones-Drew said. “But this is what I signed up for. Injuries are part of the game.
If you don’t want to get hit, then you shouldn’t be playing” (NFL Players Still Willing to Hide Concussions). To a certain extent, what Jones-Drew is saying is true. When a player puts on the pads and helmet, he has to realize that he is playing the most dangerous sport ever, and that every time a new play begins, he runs a risk of sustaining an injury. No player, however, should ever have to feel that he has to compromise his safety or health because he fears that he is not going to have any support from the league.
What makes this Jones-Drew statement even more alarming is the fact that he was not even the only player that said he would hide a concussion if he knew he had sustained a concussion during a game. In the same study by Howard Fendrich, the report says, “In series of interviews about head injuries with the Associated Press over the last two weeks, 23 of 44 NFL players-slightly more than half-said they would try to conceal a possible concussion rather than pull themselves out of a game (NFL players Still Willing to Hide Concussions Howard Fendrich 2014). What this means is that some National Football League players are picking their paycheck over their own health. It is hard for the National Football League to take even more precautions concerning concussions when some players will not even let a team doctor or trainer know when they think they have a concussion. Leaders of football have begun to take note of this phenomenon, and they have begun to enact changes. National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell was bound and determined to make some changes that he thought would possibly make the game safer for all players.
The first changes to the National Football League concussion protocol came in the year 2007 when National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell announced that any player who was knocked unconscious during a game or practice would then have to be required to sit out for the remainder of the game or practice. Another precaution that the National Football League took was the ability for players to report coaches who pressured the players to play before they were ready. The players that reported the coaches would be able to keep their identity secret.
The next procedure that Roger Goodell announced was a preseason physical exam for all players. What this great idea would do was measure the normal brain function of all the players. The information would provide trainers and team doctors in the event if a player got a concussion. Overall, the changes that the commissioner made were significant, but still players try to hide a concussion; therefore, the commissioner needs to take some steeper steps in order to prevent players from hiding concussions such as; heftier fines and multiple game suspensions for players who feel like they need to hide a serious injury like a concussion.
There are some critics who will say that the National Football League is doing enough to make sure that the concussion crisis is taken care of, but if that is the case then why are there still so many current and former National Football League players feeling the effects of concussions? Why are there still players taking unnecessary risk in order to play the game? It seems like the National Football League is only concerned about profit over player safety, and one of the reasons for that is the way the National Football League does their scheduling.
The National Football League schedule their games for Sunday, Monday and Thursday. Thursday starts a new National Football League week of play, and Monday ends the playing week so what this means is that if one team plays on a Sunday then they have to play on a Thursday the following week this is less time for the players brains to heal. Players could possibly play two professional games in a span of five days, but the National Football League cares about player safety and is taking all the precautions to ensure that players are totally safe or so the National Football League says they are. Maybe the National Football League hould cut their financial loss for one night of the week and for once actually put player safety over the profit.
Not only would this benefit some players by giving their brain a chance to rest; it would give the National Football League some good news. In a league where a different player is getting arrested every other week some good news would be a huge change. One current National Football League player Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman actually took a stand and ripped the National Football League in an interview when he was asked abo having to play two games in the span of five days.
In my opinion the league should cut down on the Thursday games to make the game safer for players, and to make players like Richard Sherman feel like the league actually cares about their player and their safety instead of the money they could be making. One of the first solutions to the problem with concussions in the National Football League could be to actually do even more research, and also inform players even more about how dangerous a concussion really is.
Even though some critics will say that the National Football League is doing enough for the concussion crisis, but why are players still uninformed and still getting concussions? The National Football League makes millions of dollars a year, and maybe the National Football League can invest some of the money that they make every year into research about concussions and developing safer equipment to prevent concussions. Not only would this look good for the National Football League, but it would probably make the athletes feel like the National Football League actually cares about the well being and safety of their players.
The National Football League has to do something when it comes to players trying to hide and play through a concussion. Players have to realize that playing through a concussion is not only hazardous to their health it is also not a wise choice to make. The most obvious rule change that could be made is that if the National Football League discovers that a player has been playing in games with what would be a medically diagnosed concussion. Then the most obvious precaution to take would be a hefty fine and also suspending players from future games.
That would probably be the most sure fire way to get the players attention and let them know that the National Football League is not going to stand for players playing through concussions and affect their health. The National Football League loves to make money, and when the Thursday night game came up it seemed like a good idea at first, but soon after players started noticing that on some occasions they were going to have to play two games in a span of five days.
Some players and the general population found this appalling that the National Football League wants to preach about safety so much, but yet they want to put players in a position to risk getting a concussion in a span of five days. Critics will say that the National Football League makes a lot of money for the Thursday night games, but if the National Football League was serious about player safety and actually wanted players to feel like the National Football League cares for their player they would consider be more cautious of their scheduling.
The National Football League could just actually move whoever was supposed to play on Thursday and move that game to Sunday. That way everyone gets the same amount of rest time between games. The National Football League creates dreams for many of their players. Financially all of the players are very well taken care of, but some players wish that the National Football League would actually invest money and research into the concussion crisis. If the National Football League makes their game safer then most likely the game of Football for all ages would become safer.
The National Football League has to acknowledge the fact that the concussion crisis is a very real and very dangerous threat to the game of football. The first few ways that they could acknowledge and make rule changes for the concussion crisis would be to; do more research, get to the bottom of why players are playing through concussions, and changing the way they do their scheduling. If the National Football League makes these rule changes then not only would players be happy, but the game of football would become safer than anyone has ever seen before.