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Football is a nationally known sport and is played in even the most remote parts of the world. Although it is praised and talked very highly about, people tend to skip over the parts of football that could cause prolonged health effects. Effects detrimental to the human body can be categorized as injuries, which can ultimately prevent the capabilities of a person. There are speculations being introduced, debating whether more safety precautions should be taken to protect football players. As a current high school football player knowing some of the consequences of playing, football organizations such as the NFL should take more safety precautions to ensure the wellbeing of their players.
Injuries vary in many ways but ones like head injuries are attracting the most attention. Head injuries not only cause problems that are current to a player but they live with them forever. Current studies show that “[a]mong 111 players who played in the National Football League (NFL), 99% had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)” (Hurley).
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a degenerative disease of the brain and is associated with repeated head traumas like concussions. The disease can not only affect the carrier throughout their life but it may also lead to death. Another study by Dan Hurley found that 110 out of the 111 players deceased had been affected by CTE. The effects of CTE start to appear when the carrier begins to act unusual and they start going crazy, which is what leads to their death. Injuries are common in all aspects of sports or related athletic activities.
People get treated and deal with injuries daily as they come hand in hand with the athletic associations.
However, when it comes to head injuries it is not something that should be taken lightly. Where injuries that involve knees, elbows, arms, muscles, and anything below the neck are important, head injuries have far more at risk. Injuries of the head could lead to a lifelong impact on the human brain and its capabilities. Even though other injuries can be prolonged and can be just as permanent, a head injury is way more severe considering the fact that it can determine life or death. Head trauma in football should be something that is discussed often and should be continuously rehashed to invent new ways to protect players from permanent brain damage. There are methods being used to prevent head trauma in the NFL such as rules, regulations, and headgear but it is not taken as far as it could be. Although the protective headwear has improved immensely since the common days of CTE, there is no reason that the equipment should not be advancing with the common day technology to protect the players.
Football itself is one of the most aggressive contact sports this country has ever seen. The development of the sport has increased through its regulations and precautions, but the sport is still responsible for any injuries, risks, and even death. Helmets in football serve as a defense mechanism against opposing forces to protect players’ heads. However, helmets still to this day are not manufactured properly to fulfill their job in preventing injury to players. Part of the reason companies is promoting and selling helmets that provide minimal protection is because of the thing that makes the world go round…money. Companies will rush and throw helmets together and pitch them to teams, just to receive the money. Manufacturers very well may be trading the overall safety of their product for higher profit margins, and with that comes the endangerment of those players who use the product being sold to them. The NFL receives on average “8 billion dollars per year”, and with that kind of income, investing in suitable helmets to properly protect their players would not put any sort of strain on their finances (Graham).
Helmets today do little or nothing in fully protecting players from concussions, which ultimately means that helmets that are produced to withstand opposing forces are compromising and allowing all of the energy to be directed towards the skull resulting in harm. A lot of the controversy involving the safety within football is that with the installed safety regulations the players are not playing football anymore, and are looked at as weak. While it is true that the players nowadays are not playing the same game of football that was first invented, the safety protocols are there for a reason. Believe it or not for some people, football is not the end all be all, these professional players have lives, wives, and kids that they provide for and would like to go home to. So for the people who believe that there are too many regulations and safety protocols in the game of football, they simply do not see the necessity of being safe rather than sorry.
Furthermore, Kluger also notes that this problem is compounded by the fact that today football helmets are only designed to limit lacerations or fractures to the skull, not to prevent concussions. He emphasizes his point that the helmets in the market today “do little or nothing to prevent concussions.” It’s important to understand that Kluger‟s claim is not merely subjective but rather backed by statistical evidence. As Katherine Chretien notes, a recent study found that high school football players’ helmets are repeatedly subjected to 20 g to 100 g blows over the course of a practice. All the while, 75 g‟s are standard considered enough force to cause a concussion. If the NFL, with the financial resources it has today, chooses to put a lot of resources into finding a method of producing safer helmets it will almost certainly be successful in doing so. Safer helmets could drastically lower the concussion rate in football, without changing the game in any shape or form. A lower concussion rate in the NFL would certainly bode well for the league’s public image, and allow the league to maintain the fan bases it has today. If the league is successful in doing so, it would certainly be able to carry on as the top-grossing league in the American sporting world.
All in all, the advent of concussion research has certainly put the NFL under a great deal of pressure. Ever since third party scientists have begun studying the effects of concussions on the brain it has become very apparent that concussions can and in many cases do lead to permanent brain damage. This science has been backed by the life experiences of a number of retired NFL players who, since retiring, have developed chronic brain diseases which both depreciated the quality of and shortened their lives.
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