Concussions: Is Football Safer Now?

By: Wayne Mizell

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Concussions: Is Football Safer Now?

Wade Mizell, Editor

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It took long for the NFL to decide if they ever wanted to say they new what concussions were doing to their players. Until now they are facing lawsuits because of hiding information and studies on concussions. According to the Deadspin article “A Timeline of Concussions Science and NFL Denial” Petchesky goes in depth about the history and studies done about head injures and how the NFL denies any of these things.

If we go back to around 1933, the NCAA first started the conversation about concussions: how they should be taken more seriously. Today, we all love watching football, and when a hit over the middle happens, we might be pumped up and think, ‘Wow, that was a hit, but the player that got hit could have a serious concussion.”

Over the years, different changes have happened to make football safer. There is talk that game is being ruined because of concussions, that everybody is playing too soft, but maybe we are saving lives! Making rules about hitting above the neck can save lives.

In 1973, something called Second Impact Syndrome came out. It deals with a player that has a concussion, but still plays and gets a second concussion. This study came out and showed that if this happens, the player has a 90% mortality rate. (Petchesky 2013)

This study was serious, but the NFL never showed any knowledge until around 1994. Three years later, The American of Neurology Society came out with guidelines for a concussed player. The NFL rejects the guidelines and continues with their idea that it was just a part of the game and nobody ever showed symptoms. In 1999, the NFL starts paying some of their former players who suffered horrible concussions to people who are disabled in different ways.

The NFL, over those years leading up to 2009, never acknowledged the talk about concussions again, including how concussions can lead to long-term problems, depression, and alzheimer’s. Then in 2009, the League spokesman Greg Aiello stated, “It’s quite obvious from the medical research that’s been done that concussions can lead to long-term problems.” After this, lawsuits against the NFL came loose, and in 2010, the first rules came out stating if you hit somebody directly in the head you will be penalized 15 yards and could be ejected from the game. In 2013, all lawsuits were completed, and the NFL lost about $765 Million dollars. (Petchesky 2013)

Since then, we are now to today where we have made things safer with rules and suspensions for hitting somebody the wrong way on a play. But should have we done this differently, maybe if certain people would listen then people wouldn’t have died from concussions, and we now know that now and it should carry on for generations, we need a safer game. It took too long for there to be strict rules about concussions, but football will always have a special place in America.