Concussions

Alexis Hansen, Staff Writer

After a football season full of concussions attached to memory problems and depression, it is evident that football is in need of some changes.

For years, people have been combatting the assertion, “Isn’t football getting a little too dangerous?”, with an unquestionable answer of “It’s America’s sport.” And while it is true that football has taken over baseball as America’s favorite pastime, a blanket statement like that doesn’t account for the fact that there were 123 concussions reported last season in the NFL. Yeah, that means that there were most likely more. It may even be double that because 50% of concussions go unreported and untreated according to study that CNN did in collaboration with ESPN.

Speaking of studies, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) did a study in January on a deceased college football player’s brain. They found that this man had suffered 10 concussions in almost two decades. This isn’t just about numbers and statistics, however. Before the player died of cardiac arrest, he had to drop out of school because of the burdening headaches and anxiety caused. The JAMA interviewed those associated with this player. They found that there was just so much handed to him playing on the field that he couldn’t handle it anymore. He was only 25.

In light of the situation at hand, it seems like more players are starting to value their minds over that war zone of a football field. Things are starting to move forward in ways like players retiring early. Case in point, Anthony Davis and Chris Borland of the 49ers were the most surprising of those retiring. Both in their mid-20’s, these guys know that when it comes to professional football any one of the 900 – 1500 blows to the head could cause major brain damage. It honestly shouldn’t be all that surprising that someone doesn’t feel ready and willing to give themselves a life sentence of head trauma for the sake of a game.

What’s still disconcerting, is how there are players out there who are ready and willing to keep playing after receiving a concussion. When players hurt their joints, it can take months and months to return to the field. Concussed players return a whole lot sooner, even though the impact of head injuries can be more treacherous compared to those other injuries. It seems that we still have a long way to go until we can stop saying, “Football is really dangerous”.