Although professional football players are aware of the dangers of playing the game, they still continue to play. It’s a lifestyle for them. Today the game of football has grown to be much more physical and aggressive than in the past. Players of young age are coming into the league much bigger, stronger, and faster than your average veteran. It’s like a new generation of football. With that being said more injuries to the head are being reported and more players are needing to take time off because of them.
According to the NCAA Concussion study, “Approximately 300,000 sport-related concussions occur in the United States annually, and the likelihood of serious sequelae may increase with repeated head injury.” A prospective cohort study of incident and recurrent concussions in a defined group of collegiate athletes was taken place for 3 football seasons, a total of 2,905 players were studied.
“The 2905 college football players were followed up for a total of 4251 player-seasons. Our study resulted in 196 reported concussions among 184 players (12 concussions were prospective repeat concussions). Of the 196 incident concussions, 94 were included in the assessment group. The overall rate of incident concussion was 0.81 per 1000 athlete exposures (95% CI, 0.70-0.93). More than half of the total concussions (n = 101 [51.5%]) occurred in practices, but the rate of concussive injuries in games was markedly higher than the rate in practices (rate ratio, 8.15; 95% CI, 6.16-10.78). The rate in Division III was also higher than the rates in Divisions I and II.”
A concussion is a mild form of traumatic brain injury that affects how your brain functions. These effects can be short-term, lasting only a few hours or a couple of days, or cause long-term problems. When players trade blows to the head it causes the head and brain to move back and forward rapidly causing the brain to hit the skull and twist. It damages the delicate cells and structures inside the brain. This can cause physical and chemical changes in your brain to affect how it function and can cause serious long-term effects.
According to the University of Utah Health, “ About 300,000 TBIs occur each year as a result of sports, according to a study in the Journal of Athletic Training.”
Concussions can have short-term effects like headaches and confusion. Some people experience loss of memory and are unable to remember the event in which the concussion occured. Concussions may also cause, “ Headache, a temporary loss of consciousness, feeling as if your brain is in a fog, delayed response to questions, dizziness, ringing in your ears, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, blurred vision, and sensitivity to light and sound.” With this in mind, concussions without a doubt have an effect on the human brain that is unlike any other injury. Those involved in sports that have a high contact to contact aspect to them, are more likely to suffer indefinitely from injuries such as a concussion. Players who have experienced a concussion for themselves, may also be deterred from going back on the field to potentially relive the horror moment that put them out of the game in the first place.
Concussions can also have long-term effects on an individual. Some symptoms of a concussion develop hours or even days after the traumatic brain injury. Although, most people that suffer from a concussion only see short-term effects there are cases where people have to suffer long-term. Long-term effects of a concussion can include, “trouble concentrating, memory problems, irritability and other personality changes, sensitivity to light and noise, sleep disturbances, depression and other psychological problems, and disorders of smell and taste.” Some people even suffer from post-concussion syndrome, which is where they seem to still experience symptoms even after it has been six weeks since the injury has occured. What some may fail to realize is that, the more concussions a person has than the more long-term effects an individual may suffer from. This can also occur if one rushes into returning to the same activity that landed them with the concussion itself in the first place without letting their brain fully heal. It is important to let your brain heal to the fullest, because one wrong move can potentially set that person back even further than before.
Guskiewicz, Kevin M., and ATC. “Cumulative Effects Associated With Recurrent Concussion in Collegiate Football Players.” JAMA, American Medical Association, 19 Nov. 2003, jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/197667.
“Concussions: How They Can Affect You Now and Later .” University of Utah Health, healthcare.utah.edu/healthfeed/postings/2016/11/concussion.php.