Football may be one the nation’s favorite pastimes, but it is also a game that can result in serious injuries to players. The bodies of players are put on the line with every high-impact collision, with the brain being especially vulnerable to injuries like a concussion. This is an issue that, perhaps, doesn’t get enough attention in the medical community and the NFL.
Most doctors who treat football players are fully aware of the risk of concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The latter is a degenerative condition that affects the brain and has been attributed repeated head trauma from collisions in football. CTE was first recognized in the sport early in the 2000s, resulting in a large number of players being diagnosed with the condition to date. Additionally, over 100 players from the NFL were given a post mortem diagnosis of CTE.
Despite these findings, football remains a much-loved sport by both players and fans. Millions of fans attend games and host parties during the Super Bowl. However, the risk of brain injuries is ever present, leading to concerns that changes in engagement may be needed to help protect players.
Risk of Concussions
Unfortunately, concussions are relatively common in football – especially at the professional level. The brain is vulnerable because the human skull is hard and unforgiving when the head suffers impact trauma. Football players often collide with significant force, causing the brain to rattle around in the skull. It is this type of impact that results in a concussion.
Some of the signs of concussion are disorientation, loss of consciousness, light sensitivity, headaches and confusion. Some of these symptoms can last for months. If you have suffered a head injury playing football, visiting a doctor for examination is always recommended.
The NFL has attempted to reduce the number of concussions by implementing penalties and fines for deliberate and unnecessary helmet contact. However, these rules do not appear to have had a significant impact on reducing concussions in professional football. Looking at the number of concussions reported in practice and gameplay between 2017 and 2018, the totals recorded were 281 and 214 respectively. While that does show a reduction, a large number of players still suffered what could be a life-changing injury. What these numbers do not account for are injuries that are considered less serious than a concussion, but are still technically ruled as head injuries.
When a player suffers repeated head injuries, he may develop CTE. Any head injury, including concussion, contributes to the development of CTE over the span of a player’s career. One of the problems with predicting which players are at risk is the misconception over what causes the condition. Players don’t always report head injuries that result in pain and concussion symptoms.
More study is being conducted to understand the brain mechanics inside the skull, especially as it relates to head injuries like concussion. There are few sports where this type of injury is more common than American football. Rugby players, who do not wear helmets, are also a high risk group.
If you have suffered a concussion playing football, Ligori & Sanders can provide a free consultation to discuss your case and representation. Call today to speak to an experienced concussion lawyer.
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