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Concussion

In: Other Topics

Submitted By moorej5
Words 1912
Pages 8
Jason Moore
The University of Findlay
Dangers of Football

Abstract
Using the research of Juliet Macur, Barry Wilner, Dr. Robert Graham and Melanie Stout of TMJ4 news, I observed and analyzed concussions amongst American football. In the past, head injuries amongst football have been known to be looked over and not taken serious. Based on what I’ve found, players who did not tend to their injuries suffered serious health issues later on in their careers. Cases about Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, dementia and etc. amongst former players are a lot more common. Tragic reports about former players committing suicide, as well as incidents amongst the youth.

Dangers of Football

Football is arguably the most dangerous contact sport in America. Head injuries and concussions have always been a part of the game. The number of tragic cases and the lifetime effects that experts are beginning to witness on the older players, make experts question the health of the youth’s future in the sport. People do not take sports related head injuries as seriously as they should. Many NFL players who did not tend to their head injuries like they should’ve were known to have had C.T.E. (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy). Many cases and reports about head injuries go to show why athletes, parents, doctors and even coaches should start taking head injuries more seriously. When we think of a concussion in football, we instantly think about a hard head clashing tackle, or a blindside hit on the quarterback, not knowing that a concussion can occur from something as little as a player getting tripped up and hitting their head on the turf the wrong way. Players don’t truly understand the effect that a tiny injury may have on you, and if that injury is not treated it will create even bigger health issues. This leaves question in the air of “why should athletes take head injuries seriously?” NFL hall of famer Rayfield Wright was recently diagnosed with dementia and has been struggling to adjust to the lifestyle it is causing him to live. Rayfield had fulfilled the biggest dream and milestone of his life by making his first NFL start. In that same game, his first NFL start, Rayfield took a devastating blow to the head by Los Angeles Rams Deacon Jones. “It was as if I’d just been hit in the head with a baseball bat.” Rayfield stated in a New York Times article written by Juliet Macur (2014). It took Wright almost 40 years until he realized that he had sustained a concussion in his first NFL start. How did he go so long without realizing? Players tend to let injuries pass them by; they try act as if an incident never happened. Why do players avoid admitting when something serious is wrong with them? “I don’t want people to look at me any differently,” Rayfield stated. “When I’ve been at the top of the NFL, I don’t want people to know. I’m supposed to be tough and invincible. So if something’s wrong with me, I just try to hide it. Which is exactly what I did” (Macur 2014). “I can’t continue to avoid something that brings me constant pain such as headaches, dizziness, even forgetting where I’m at, at times” (Macur 2014). Wright said that he incurred so many concussions throughout his career that he couldn’t even count them. Why would a player let his brain take such damage like he did and then not even expect to have any health problems in the future? Wright stated that “sometimes, I walk into the kitchen and forget why I went there,” a few examples of what the effect of not tending to head injuries will do to a person in the long run. A person may not have sign of the effects right away, but according to Rayfield’s situation, it is known to catch up with you. Rayfield also explained, “I’ve gotten into several car accidents because of seizures. Totaled two cars. My memory is not good. There’s a big fight within myself” (Macur). Still devastated with the fact that was all happening to him, Wright was still shocked and terrified at the fact that he had been diagnosed with dementia. With the health issues that older players are dealing with as consequences for not treating their injuries and taking serious precautions in their playing days, younger players should be inspired to take their body’s and health more serious. Sources from CBC News explains why parents and players should take Concussions seriously. Committee chairman Dr. Robert Graham urged parents, schools and athletic departments and the public to treat concussions seriously so young athletes don’t hide their symptoms. “Players and etc. should always be aware and treat any signs of a concussion serious.” An article from The New York Times “Hard Knocks” (2010) “head injuries amongst football players are rising and the after-effects are more serious than ever before.” According to the article, University of Pennsylvania football player (Offensive Linemen) Owen Thomas started playing football when he was nine years old; according to his mother Kathy Brearley, “he loved to go into practice and hit really hard.” Over time those hits started adding up. In April of 2009 Owen Thomas took his own life. The autopsy showed that his brain was in the early stages of C.T.E. There were no signs that would even show Owen Thomas had this disease. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy isn’t a disease to be taken lightly. The tragic disease is a head trauma induced injury linked to depression, impulse control problems, memory loss and dementia. It’s a disease more than 20 former NFL players were diagnosed with. Most interesting fact about the observation of Owen Thomas is that he had never been diagnosed with a concussion. Meaning, even though scientists had found this disease in Owen Thomas’ brain, he had never been diagnosed with the injury that would typically lead to the tragic disease. Owen’s mother was aware that he loved to go out and hit but never suspected that he’d ever had any head sort of injury, as people of the football community it’s important to pay attention to the little details like this. If we learn to take injuries more serious it may prevent tragic incidents like this from happening.
According to USA Today Former Long-time San Diego Charger and NFL Legend Junior Seau committed suicide in May of 2012, Gary Sports stated that the Hall of Famer shot himself in the chest in 2012. He had a degenerative brain disease linked with repeated blows to the head. “We were saddened to see that Junior, a loving father and teammate suffered from CTE.” The family said in a statement (Sports 2013). After so many years of playing and taking so many hits without taking necessary precautions, Seau’s career caught up with him. Researchers from the National Institutes of Health said “the formal NFL stars abnormalities are consistent with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.” Junior played for 20 NFL seasons in San Diego, Miami, and New England before retiring in 2009. Sports pointed out that Seau’s family requested the analysis of his brain. Symptoms of CTE may cause a change in one’s behavior and the changes in personality. “We saw changes in his behavior and things that didn’t add up with him,” his ex-wife Gina told the associated press. “But CTE was not something that we considered or were even aware of.” Seau, amongst many of other NFL players who’ve experienced head injuries did not swallow his pride and come forward about the pain he was suffering. This is why it’s important for athletes to acknowledge any head injuries in which they may be experiencing, a person may never know how serious an injury is they may be dealing with and the effects it can have on his/her life.
A case on an 11-year-old football player from Muskego, Wisconsin who suffered a tragic death, TMJ4 news’ Melanie Stout (2013) stated that school officials said Evan suffered a concussion in his youth football game. Several days later at recess, playing around on the football sleds had accidentally bumped his head and collapsed, he was immediately rushed to the hospital where he died of head trauma. After suffering the first concussion the teachers of that school and the parents should have taken serious precautions before letting Evan return to play. The fact of the matter is how did Evan even receive a concussion? Concussions in youth football may happen more often than in college football specifically because of the maturity differences. Kids who aren’t as maturely developed have an unfair advantage when getting tackled, the force of impact may be much greater. According to Tara Parker Pope (2009) who pointed out “the difference in the amount of concussions from youth football to college football may be the size and weight differences of the players.” In high school football you may often times see a much larger difference between the players such as the linebackers and Quarterbacks or the defensive lineman to the running backs.
Although experts and scientists are still searching for ways to make the game safe, players and coaches and parents have to continue to do what they can to keep the players health safe. If they do not take care of their brains and bodies, similar health issues will be in the futures of these players. With all the incidents and tragic accidents happening across the country hopefully it shapes as a Public Service Announcement to everyone around the world to take head injuries more seriously and to pay close attention to head injuries and to be cautious about them because it is obvious that it is a serious matter. If the youth will idolize all of the great things that the legends have done on the field, they should take it upon themselves and be better than their idols by being smart and taking care of their bodies, giving them a chance to live a life without having to deal with all of the pain and suffering. Players and guardians can’t continue to be stubborn about injuries, it’s proven that the outcome of doing so isn’t always good. Players are so stuck on the “It can’t happen to me” phase, until it actually does happen to them, and by that time it is typically too late to help themselves. Tragic accidents like these are openers to the world and its athletes, especially.

References
Macur, J. (2014, January 26). For a Cowboys Star With Dementia, Time Is Running Out. The New York Times. Retrieved April 25, 2014, from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/27/sports/football/for-a-cowboys-star-with-dementia-time-is-running-out.html?_r=0
Sports, G. (2013, January 23). Junior Seau's family sues NFL over brain injuries. USA Today. Retrieved April 25, 2014, from http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/2013/01/23/junior-seau-brain-injury-lawsuit/1858753/
Dr. Robert Graham. CBC News. Retrieved March 15, 2014 from http://www.cbcnews.com Stout, M. (n.d.). Muskego Child Dies after Playground Injury - 620 WTMJ - Milwaukee's Source for Local News and Weather. Muskego Child Dies after Playground Injury - 620 WTMJ - Milwaukee's Source for Local News and Weather. Retrieved April 25, 2014, from http://www.620wtmj.com/news/local/102330324.html http://journals.lww.com http://neurology.about.com
Hard Knocks. The New York Times. Retrieved March 15, 2014 from http://www.nytimes.com…...

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