Sunday Night Head to Head Lights
In the sport of football, traumatic brain injuries such as concussions have drastically affected hundreds of professional athletes until this day and still has an impact on the game. The NFL will always have cases of concussions no matter what equipment is worn. Concussions have been a serious present issue with players today. The NFL has tried to resolve the number on concussions occurring during seasons by improving equipment, adding concussion protocols, and making rule changes to ensure the safety of playing at all levels of football. Although these changes have improved and decreased the number of concussions occurring, coaches and organizations must focus on High School and College level players because of all the young, developing brains of the athletes. They must understand that concussions are very severe and can cause long-term damage to the brain. It is important to educate them on the issue while they’re still taking in everything that comes with playing the game of football.
Helmet manufacturers have been trying to reduce the impact of hits to the head with new helmet technology. Over the years several new models of helmets have been improved more and more by the year. Helmets are tested by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) which provides voluntary standards that are designed to assess a helmet’s ability to prevent skull fracture. These helmets provide bigger and more comfortable padding which only makes the players feel like it’s safer than the standard helmet. What it does is make players want to hit harder while completely disregarding a full impact head to head hit. No matter how they happen, concussions injure your brain to some extent and they all require time to heal. Brain injury from even the mildest concussions can have short-term and long-term effects.The effects of a concussion can be subtle and change over time. Symptoms can last days, weeks or longer. Since 2003, researchers have been instrumenting football players with the Head Impact Telemetry (HIT) system to collect head acceleration data each time a player experiences a head impact. The measurement and analysis of head acceleration data collected from these in-helmet accelerometer arrays have been well validated and accepted. The concept of the study was to develop and introduce the concept of a new evaluation system that can be used to provide quantitative insight into the protective performance of football helmets against concussions.
Coaches feel obligated to keep their players safe from injury but should be held responsible on some occasions of concussions. As a coach you should always prevent injury to players. Coaches usually take it easy on players during practice. Players usually don’t practice with knee pads or thigh pads, are restricted from contact hitting, and mainly run through the motions for gameday. In a close game things are completely opposite, players obviously wear full gear and play full contact but coaches tend to push their players to the limit and get desperate to deliver wins for the school because their reason for being hired in the first place. This is where injuries come into play and it’s the coaches job to prevent that which isn’t always the case. In 2009, the NFL announced that it would impose its most stringent rules to date on managing concussions, requiring players who exhibit any significant sign of concussion to be removed from a game or practice and be barred from returning that same game. There were cases where players stopped showing symptoms or passed sideline tests and returned to the game not knowing that they really had a head injury. The NFL’s practice of allowing players to return has been a criticized for putting players at risk. It is widely known that symptoms of a concussion can reappear hours or days after the injury, indicating that the player had not healed from the initial blow. The new rule still allowed players with some fleeting concussion symptoms to return to games. Symptoms that require immediate removal include amnesia, poor balance and an abnormal neurological examination, whether or not those symptoms quickly subside. For symptoms like like dizziness and headache, however, a player can return to the field unless they are “persistent”, as the statement said.
Rowson, Steven, and Stefan M. Duma. “Development of the STAR Evaluation System for Football Helmets: Integrating Player Head Impact Exposure and Risk of Concussion.” SpringerLink, Springer US, 7 May 2011, link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10439-011-0322-5.
“Concussions: How They Can Affect You Now and Later .” University of Utah Health, healthcare.utah.edu/healthfeed/postings/2016/11/concussion.php.
Schwarz, Alan. “N.F.L Issues New Guidelines on Concussions.” New York Times, 3 Dec. 2009.