It is rare that on any given Sunday, some player in the NFL, doesn’t get their bell rung. The number of concussions, not only in pro sports, but also in college and down to the high school levels have increased. In what is becoming a common practice for high school players, after several concussions, young players are prohibited from playing the game. I recently met a young high school player whose doctor advised his school that he should not play, after suffering from his second concussion.
It doesn’t take a genius to know, that when a quarterback it blind side by a player who is running at full speed, that a head injury is possible as the quarterback smacks his hear on the turf. It also doesn’t take a brain surgeon to know that when the head is violently thrown back on the neck, bending the head severely toward the back side as the body goes forward, it also going to cause injury.
In a recent article is stated:
Professional football can be made “safer,” but to be made “safe” depends on your definition of the word. A sport involving full speed blocking and tackling will always cause injury. But injuries and safety are two separate concepts.
The great problem with brain injuries in the N.F.L. has been “informed consent” — the disclosure of risk to the players. We allow adults to do all kinds of dangerous jobs for pay, from police officers and firefighters to commercial fisherman and miners. But the risk in those jobs are common knowledge, so we think those workers have informed consent.
That has not been the case with the risks of brain injuries in pro football. As reported by Alan Schwarz in the Times, the National Football League was not disclosing to players the risks of concussion and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (C.T.E.), the progressive brain disease that eventually leads to dementia, which were well-known to academic researchers.
Should the aggressive hitting of the quarterback from the blind side be prohibited? Should a severe penalty be imposed to prevent injury to the quarterback?
But is there anything that can be done to stop or eliminate concussions, or is it just part of the game?