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NFL and Concussions


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Football widely viewed as the most popular sport in America. The players exhibit speed and strength that can seem otherworldly to most normal human beings. However, they do have to take care of their bodies just like the rest of us, something that the NFL may not want you to know.

A rising concern among fans and players is concussions. Several concussions over time can lead to a brain degenerative disease called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or more known as CTE. According to a study done by Dr. Jesse Mez just this year, the percentage of former NFL players who exhibited signs of CTE was just over 99% (110 out of 111 players). The NFL draws in its audience with its highlight plays and violent collisions. However, it is these collisions that can cause the potential downfall of its players’ health.

While the NFL has made strides in trying to make the game safer for its players, there is still a long road ahead of them. They have attempted to eliminate certain types of tackles to protect the players, as well as initiating a concussion protocol for players to go through if they display symptoms. However, there have already been two instances this year, in which the Indianapolis Colts and then the Seattle Seahawks did not follow this protocol properly.

Another issue the NFL has is the players themselves and how they have grown accustom to playing the game. Some of these players have created a habit with certain types of tackles that can really induce serious brain injury. An example of these are blindside blocks. If a player were trying to block for his teammate ahead of him and sees the opponent starting to gain ground, they will often turn around and lay that player out. While it looks incredible to the casual viewer, this can cause serious injuries for the players. There is also a report that players have requested to be hit high instead of trying to get the legs taken out from them. This shows that players are more concerned about the short-term than long-term. They do get paid millions of dollars per year for a few years though, so who could blame them.

I believe that the best step the NFL can make is redesigning the helmets. Today’s helmets used by the NFL only protect against skull fractures and not against brain and neck injuries, according to a TED talk given by David Camarillo of Stanford. Today’s helmets are almost used more as a weapon than a protective device. Players will launch into opponents and lead with their helmet. This only produces more and more head trauma. Camarillo suggested an airbag type of helmet to correspond with sturdiness of today’s helmet. He says that the airbag would prevent a large number of concussions because it is able to slow the head down at contact. As a huge NFL fan, I would hate to see the game of football be tarnished by putting another human’s health in danger.



Camarillo, David. “Why Helmets Don't Prevent Concussions -- and What Might.” TED: Ideas Worth Spreading, TED Conferences, Apr. 2016, www.ted.com/talks/david_camarillo_why_helmets_don_t_prevent_concussions_and_what_might#t-723750.


MS, Jesse Mez MD. “Evaluation of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in Football Players.”JAMA, American Medical Association, 25 July 2017, jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2645104.

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