In the last four years, over 500 NFL players have suffered head injuries. With the growing popularity of football, millions of young players are exposed to the possibility of head trauma and concussions. As we learn more about head and brain injuries, the long term effects cannot be ignored.
Hopefully, Will Smith’s exciting new movie Concussion will bring awareness to this problem like never before. Here are some interesting facts and figures about football head injuries.
Football is a violent sport and athletes participate with the full knowledge that they may suffer sprains, broken bones
or other injuries, knowing that the injuries can be overcome through rest and rehabilitation. Traumatic brain injuries
are of a much more permanent nature, however, and parents now have to ask whether it is safe to allow their children to participate in a sport that has caused irreparable damage to many of the professional athletes who have committed their lives to entertaining other people. If repeated blows to the head are causing such serious injuries to professionals, what is the extent of the damage to college and high school athletes?
Despite Violent History, the NFL Continues to Grow in Popularity From 2006 until present day, the viewership of NFL games has risen from just over 90 million viewers to nearly 115 million. This is despite a growing prevalence of on the field and off the field violence that has been associated with the sport. As more research has been committed to the topic of concussions and trauma to the head, it has been revealed that there may actually be a link between repeated injuries to the head and aggressive or violent behavior or moods.
The popularity of football results in the desire of children to participate in the game at a young age, with players enrolling in leagues at younger ages than ever before. Despite a drastic drop in the number of reported head injuries over the last four years in the NFL, medical researchers have uncovered evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in 96% of the players they examined. This suggests that head injuries are simply being underreported and that your children could be enduring similar injuries without ever knowing they have been hurt.
Professional Players Have Growing Concerns over Concussions
With almost 46% of the players in the league admitting that they have suffered a concussion at some point in their career, and 80% voicing concerns over brain injuries in the future, the issue has become a polarizing one. The league had for many years tried to brush the issue under the rug, prompting a class action lawsuit on behalf of retired players and their families that resulted in a settlement that could cost the league over $1 billion once all of the plaintiffs have received their settlements.
The upcoming movie, Concussion, starring Will Smith, chronicles the story of an immigrant pathologist who discovers an irrefutable link between CTE and repeated injuries to the heads of football players and the steps that the NFL took in their efforts to cover it up. Players receiving settlements will receive between $1.5 million and $5 million each, but this does not help the players that are currently performing. In an effort to limit the amount of head injuries, new rules have been instated which include penalties for head to head contact, stoppage of play when a player loses his helmet and a concussion protocol that players must go through prior to receiving clearance to return to play. Despite these concessions, concussions remain a common occurrence, prompting some players to go into early retirement out of concerns for their long-term health.
Football is Responsible for More Concussions than Any Other Sport
Male athletes are far more likely to suffer a concussion when playing football than when participating in any other sport. Approximately 75% of all males sports related concussions are football related. Half of female sports related concussions occur when playing soccer, which is also a contact sport. The problem with youth contact sports is that, unlike in the NFL, there are not professional neurologists waiting on the sidelines to detect symptoms of trauma to the brain
. The children themselves must be cognizant of and willing to report their injuries instead, and many of them do not out of fear that they will not be allowed to play if they do.
To determine whether your child may be suffering from a traumatic brain injury, consider that 78% of concussions occur during games rather than during practices and that headache and dizziness are the two most common symptoms of an injury. Headache is reported in 85% of concussion cases while dizziness occurs in 70-80% of cases. Coaches should never let an athlete that is experiencing these symptoms following a brutal hit return to the game unless a concussion can be ruled out.
Additional Symptoms of Concussion
Concussions can lead to more serious injuries when they are not treated properly and many of the tears that occur within the brain during the process of a concussion are not immediately detected unless through the use of imagining scans. Immediate effects can include the temporary loss of balance or motor skills, losing consciousness, changes to hearing and vision, confusion and memory loss and sudden changes to the athlete’s mood. Long-term damage can result in neurological conditions such as ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and more.
Football remains an extremely popular sport and can teach our children discipline, how to operate as part of a team and perseverance under extreme pressure. It can also be the source of injuries that will impact their lives in ways we do not fully understand yet. This is why you must take every precaution possible to detect and respond to any head injury that your child suffers while on the field. For more information about the
NFL Concussion Settlement and what you should do if someone you love suffered an injury while playing football, contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC. We are a leading award winning personal injury law firm that has successfully recovered compensation on behalf of thousands of people whose injuries were the fault of negligent or careless actions.