The Problem of Concussions Among Athletes in Professional Sports

Categories: Concussions In Sports

Concussions are not a unique problem to professional sports and debilitating concussions have become a dominant topic in sports. About 144,000 people aged 18 and younger are treated every year in U.S. hospital emergency rooms for concussions, according to a December 2010 analysis in the Journal of Pediatrics. Nearly a third of these injuries occur while kids are playing organized sports. Forty percent of pediatric concussions seen in emergency rooms involve high school students. The figure is slightly higher, 42 percent for younger children.

Overall, concussions are most common in football and ice hockey, followed by soccer, wrestling and other sports, and slightly more boys than girls suffer concussions. Concussions in athletes is a huge problem in many sports today, specifically, football. Recently the numbers of athletes diagnosed with concussions have increased dramatically. That increase could be the direct result of more awareness regarding what a concussion is and the symptoms of one. A concussion can be defined as a minor traumatic brain injury that may occur when the head hits an object or a moving object strikes head, an injury that can change a person’s behavior, thinking or physical functions.

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Concussions are a huge problem at every level of sports from elementary to pro, but child concussions have a bigger impact on the body. It is estimated that last year out of the 1.7 million diagnosed concussions, 30% of them were children with a sports related concussion. This huge statistic only accounts for the reported concussions yearly. As many children who suffer a concussion the problem still goes unnoticed.

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This fact could be attributed to the lack of education that coaches, players and athletes have about symptoms of concussion as well as the type equipment used during sporting events. Despite the number of concussions there still is no system implemented to reduce the numbers. Concussion technology in children is far behind the technology that has already been conducted for collegiate and pro athletes. Concussions in children provide more danger to their brains as they are still developing and it could ultimately impede their development process. It is essential that better technology and equipment is used to better protect young athletes from this traumatic head injury.

Imagine, being a star athlete on your sports team, with a future in playing college or even pro sports. But then, in the blink of an eye, this is all taken away from you as a result of a traumatic event. Have you ever had a concussion? Many athletes today suffer from this common injury of a concussion, an injury that can have disastrous side effects or permanently end an athlete’s career. Football is one of the most concussion filled sports, being the number one cause of concussions at Brookline High School. From the data collected about athletes diagnosed with a concussion, at Brookline there is a 75% chance of receiving a concussion during any given season. Concussions are a serious issue in high school sports and affect the game of football in many ways.

There are too many instances in sports were an athlete jeopardizes their health just to stay in a game or to receive satisfaction now. But what they fail to realize is that jeopardizing their health for short time satisfaction can lead to huge problems in the future. A football player in high school reflected upon the experience of being down on the field, I remember Coach wafting a cracked ammonia stick under my nose and moving his finger in front of my eyes. I’d been tackled hard and, apparently, had been slow getting up. I insisted I was okay. “Who’s the president?” he asked me. Despite being woozy, I was desperate to get back in the game. When I answered the question — it was Ike — Coach slapped my shoulder pads and sent me in on the next play. That something was, in fact, quite wrong in my head only added to the pride I felt. Even as a high school kid, I knew that more honor was to be had in playing through an injury than in the few passes I actually ever caught…. As I learned when my parents later took me to the doctor, I had suffered a concussion. That was nothing to the embarrassment I felt when they made me tell Coach I’d be sitting out practice for a week. His sneer flooded me with shame. That simply, I’d been plunged into the macho heart of football — a gladiator ethos which has lately drawn scrutiny because, indeed, of brain concussions.

This scenario and story is very common throughout sports around the country. Athletes believe they are ok to continue play but they do not know the full consequences behind continuing to play in a contest. Any slight blow to the head could cause a head trauma and potentially end a career and alter someone’s life. Athletes as well as coaches and some parents need to separate the importance of being successful now by risking playing through a concussion and being successful in the future. An example of a player thinking about his future is former Ohio State linebacker Andrew Sweat, he gave up an opportunity to play in the NFL because of his health. Throughout college he suffered two concussions that fortunately for him did not ruin his shoot at the NFL. His rational behind turning down an opportunity that most cares, its football it happens, just bounce back stronger than before.” These responses touches on the idea that football players refuse to let the dangers of concussions worry them and discourage them from participating in the game they love so much. I believe this is a problem, an athlete should never compromise their health for the love of a sport. In reality football will end soon weather it be injury or no longer able to play as a very small number of athletes will go pro. The best situation is football end because one no longer has the ability to play rather than ending because of an injury. Football is “Americas sport, but the game people have come to love is in jeopardy as the danger will eventually be too much for people to contend with. I think the best way to keep the dignified sport of football is too better the technology for protection against concussions as well as implementing a system to better educate coaches at every level the true dangers and complications of concussions.

Brookline High school athletic department is taking steps to prepare and prevent these possibly life changing injury. One of the biggest tools in the effort to help athletes with concussions is the ImPact test (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing). This test is the first, validated computerized concussion evaluation system. Despite the proficiency of the test, it should not be used, as the only determinant of whether or not an athlete should be cleared after suffering a concussion. The numbers show that the football team at Brookline is the most susceptive team to have one of their players receives a concussion.

I propose to eliminate the football program until every player in the program from freshman to varsity is able to use a helmet with “better concussion technology.” The helmet I propose Brookline High School use for football is the Xenith helmet. Xenith LLC, is a company that was founded in 2004 by former Harvard Quarterback, Vin Ferrara. Ferrara main focus when starting this company was to make high tech helmets to minimize the possibility of concussions in football players. The current conventional helmet such as the Riddell Speed which the high school uses relies on foam padding. While this technology was very protective and useful a decade ago it is no longer as protective. Players are getting bigger, faster and stronger and they need something more protective to prevent a traumatic head injury. The Xenith helmet provides the necessary protection needed in today’s game by packing the inside of the helmet with air-filled disc-shaped pads that act as shock absorbers. When the helmet is struck, the shock absorbers compress and vent air, depending of the impact of the collision. The greater the force, the more the cushion absorbs and redirects energy away from a player’s skull. This has the effect of deflecting energy away from a player’s skull, instead of towards characteristic of the Riddell helmet. This new recent technology has proven to be very effective. According to John Papas, football coach at Buckingham, Browne & Nichols, a private school in Cambridge states, “we’ve really cut down on concussions since we started using Xenith helmets. It’s the best move I’ve made in 36 years as a coach.” “Xenith’s helmet are the most innovative that I’ve seen in years.” With these statements it shows that these Xenith helmets are a great innovation. Xenith is a leading voice in raising awareness of head injuries and a leading proponent of educational efforts to reduce the risk of these injuries. The Xenith helmet could provide the better head protection that Brookline High School needs in order to reduce the number of concussions with the student athletes who play football. This company is setting precedents on the concept of advancing player safety through innovation and education.

In today’s generation many schools are defined and noticed by the tradition and success of their athletic programs. Let’s face it the legacies of success in sports carries more value and remembrance than a schools legacy within a successful math team. Schools place significant value on athletics but a schools success is not more important that an athletes health and life. Unfortunately, many of today’s sports put kids at risk of a suffering a concussion. The brain one of the most fragile organ in the body should not experience such trauma, especially as a child during crucial developmental years. During a typical year it is reported that high school athletes account for about 13.2% of all sports related concussions.Athletes suffering concussions is a huge problem but a bigger problem is the failure of coaches and athletes to take concussion seriously. Many teams are focused on the immediate result of an athlete participating and not on the long term effect that continuous concussion could have on a child’s brain. I propose to eliminate the football program at Brookline High School until better helmet technology is implemented for every player from freshman to varsity. No helmet can guarantee injury prevention, and no helmet is concussion proof, the path to addressing the risk of concussion and other injuries begins where education and innovation meet. Therefore, it is essential for football programs everywhere especially Brookline High to use better head protection.

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The Problem of Concussions Among Athletes in Professional Sports. (2022, Feb 15). Retrieved from

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