Concussion Issues Growing For The NFL

On January 18, 2013, in Sporting News, by Buddy TB

NFL NCAA ConcussionsThe issue of concussions suffered by former and active NFL players has generated more blogs on the Internet than almost any other subject concerning sports this year.  More and more ex-NFL greats have gone public with stories with their experiences and injuries during their tenure in the NFL and the lingering effects.

“Getting your bell rung” was once a badge of honor in sports.  That ability to shake it off and get back into the game for the next play was accepted and even respected.

However, it has been well known by doctors and sports trainers for over a hundred years now that repeated hard blows to the head will eventually cause an athlete to show signs of dementia….. which used to be called “punch drunk’ in the old days.

The term was often applied to prize fighters but it took many years to realize that the same thing was happening to other pro players involved with contact sports.

NCAA and NFL Football are the two most popular sports in the USA and they are also among the most violent.  Young athletes see themselves as invincible and indestructible. The pursuit of short term athletic glory overshadows the specter of long term disability, especially when the symptoms may be delayed by decades.

CTE stands for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy and describes a gradual degeneration in brain function due to repeated head injuries.  CTE symptoms can begin slowly and creep up on a player resulting in a loss of concentration, memory lapses, confusion, dizziness and headaches.  In various cases these symptoms have led to chronic depression and bi-polar like behavior.

Junior Seau was an all star linebacker in the NFL for 20 years.  Known as one of the best and fiercest defenders in football, Seau played for San Diego, Miami and New England.  In his later years, Seau’s behavior included wild mood swings, irrationality, forgetfulness, insomnia and depression. He retired from the NFL in 2009 and committed suicide in 2012.  A study released last week by the National Institutes of Health revealed that Seau’s brain revealed abnormalities consistent with CTE in a study requested by Seau’s family.

NFL teams have given a $30 million research grant to the NIH.

To date, over 3000 ex NFL players have filed lawsuits against the league claiming that the NFL withheld information on the harmful effects of concussions.

 

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