Football and Brain Injuries: What You Need to Know

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Why is the football one of the most beloved sports in the United States? That is because Football is one of the most exciting sports due to all the violence that happens during every game. Everyone loves and lives for those vicious hits between players but this of course has its consequences of leaving some of the players very badly injured permanently or even dead in some major cases. Even though the football players are aware of the dangers and consequences of playing they still decide to take part in it because of the passion they have for the game and the joy it creates from the game they love.

The injuries that can cause major problems later in your life are concussions and there are many players in youth, middle school, high school, college, and of course, the NFL, and almost every player from any level of football have suffered throughout their career. This paper will show you exactly how dangerous playing football can be on your health and how repeated concussions can affect your life after football.

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We all know that football is a very brutal sport and there aren’t many sports like football which are as mentally and physically demanding on the body. Not many people know how hard and physical this sport is unless you’ve actually played the sport and may know that when you play you take many hits to the head and over time it takes a big toll on you. (‘Football, the Destruction of the Body, and the Building of the Spirit”, David French).

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The players run out to the football field with their pads and protective gear with the warrior mentality. Of course, they don’t think about the hits there taking to the head while they are out on gridiron battling the other team to come out on top and how that can affect your life when you’re older and that is because in football you learn to shrug off injuries and how to take a hit and you keep going no matter how much it hurts. (“Are Concussion Realities Helping To Erase Warrior Mentality of NFL Players?”, Zach Kruse). Due to this mentality of the players, one may suffer a concussion but ignores it and decides to go right back into the game to keep playing and is why many parents are worried about letting their kids play because that can lead to more severe problems like permanent brain damage or CTE maybe not right after the season but months or years later. ( “Football and Concussions: Worth The Risk”, Linda Helper).

Over time so much attention has been drawn to football and has become a hot topic because of an increase in head injuries that leads to concussions or worse. In football, it’s all about the collisions and sometimes the brain hits the inside of the skull from those collisions which happen very frequently in this sport. The problem is that those cause concussions and the concussion severity is determined by the force of impact. It may not seem like a big deal to get a concussion but an athlete is way more likely to suffer from a second concussion if they have already suffered through one especially if you play in the dangers of football. When you received a great impact you should look for symptoms like loss of consciousness, memory problems, headaches, disorientation, and fogginess to diagnose a concussion. (“Football and Brain Injuries: What You Need To Know”, Alex Pew and Danielle Shapiro).

This is such an important topic and is why there has been a very high concern over the impact it can have on their health because they are at risk later on in their life of developing brain damage that includes symptoms like problems with learning and memory, depression, and poor concentration and motivation. For these reasons is why you can’t return to playing on the field so hurriedly due to being more injury-prone to a secondary concussion within a short period of time. The players accept the violence and danger of the game because they enjoy the game’s rewards and challenges but it goes deeper than just multiple concussions because this can develop into a condition called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) which used to be called Dementia Pugilistica that was found common in boxers. (“Concussions in Football”, Michael Craig Miller).

When you play sports there will always be a risk of getting hurt or injured especially in football so you can’t really prevent concussions either even with wearing a helmet and mouthguard and all the protective equipment. So if you’re not careful you can develop the brain disorder CTE which may not be noticeable for a long time after you have received all those head injuries and which get worse as it progresses. Some of the symptoms that you may experience with CTE that have been a major problem in former athletes with this brain disorder that have caused them to commit suicide and even murder are aggression, depression, and impaired judgment. A former NFL star Aaron Hernandez who had one of the worst case reported of CTE at only 27 years old committed murder and then killed himself while in prison. (“Football and Brain Injuries: What You Need To Know”, Alex Pew and Danielle Shapiro). That is an example of how dangerously this brain disorder can really impact someone’s life and is why it should be taken as a serious concern and players should be informed on this disease especially the fact there’s no cure and can only currently be officially diagnosed until after death. There have been many great players who were in the prime of their career but ended it short due to a record of concussions or the concern of long-term health problems like this brain disorder. Even more, after it was discovered that the longer the length of a player’s career with constant impacts to the head have a higher risk of developing CTE and have a bigger risk of developing a way more severe case then someone who had a shorter career. (“What Is CTE?”).

In order to try to prevent Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in players of this dangerous game that we all love we have to make the game safer even though we can’t guarantee all concussions will be prevented, we can definitely lower the risks. The risk is already doubled for kids who have started playing tackle football since the age of 12 years old to develop long-term problems later in life especially players who play the positions of quarterback, running backs, and linebackers. (“Football and Brain Injuries: What You Need To Know”, Alex Pew and Danielle Shapiro). To lower the risk we have to enforce new safer rules to protect the players from all the violence but to do that the NFL has to be the ones to start these changes then all the lower levels will follow after them. The NFL has changed some rules to try to make it safer like shortening kick-offs because of the shorter distance between the players of each team which makes it less dangerous since they aren’t gaining as much speed when they go to hit each other. They are also making changes to safety equipment to protect the brain with more enhanced helmets and pads. (“NFL Rule Changes and Concussion Protocols”, Richard Laliberte. Another rule they have added to make the game safer is called the Crown Of The Helmet rule which would prevent any player from any side of the ball from initiating contact with the top of their helmet. That is a great rule because it’s much safer for both players to prevent injury and would penalize the players so they are very likely to hit safer but that means players will be at a higher risk of lower-body injuries since they are more likely to tackle below the hips. The best change they made was changing the concussion protocol to not allow players to return if they show signs of a possible concussion. (“Football and Brain Injuries: What You Need To Know”, Alex Pew and Danielle Shapiro).

When you play sports you should always be careful because you’re never safe from injury especially in a high contact sport like football. The athletes who play football should not only be better protected but should be educated about the effects a concussion can have on your health. In order to achieve this we need to spread awareness on the dangers of concussions if not taken seriously because if we don’t then the players will just remember the time they played their favorite sport as just a fun time in their life that they might even regret taking part of. For some players of the sport it’s too late for them and might not be able to prevent the development of CTE but we can make a change and prevent this from happening for the future generation of players. If we don’t make the game safer in the long run it will not be worth playing, risking your health no matter how much you love the game. Everyone loves the thrill of the game especially those bloodthirsty hits so we can’t stop them even with all the rules and protective equipment but scientists will continue to look for a way to protect everyone from concussions.

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Football and Brain Injuries: What You Need to Know. (2020, Sep 15). Retrieved from

Football and Brain Injuries: What You Need to Know

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