A Devastating Chain Reaction
When watching NFL football I see what others do not see, players playing with weapons. No they do not have knifes or guns on the field, the weapons are on their heads. Football helmets are used as weapons to hurt other players. It is like a huge ram is coming at a player, then nails him with his horns. Helmet to helmet hits are a problem the NFL is trying to stop, but they cannot physically stop players from committing these wrong doings. During a game I may see a player use his helmet to to tackle someone, this is just like a battering ram. Humans were not made to hit like this, and for that football players are taking the ultimate toll on their bodies.
Helmet to helmet hits are the worst thing a person can do to their body. Two helmets come at each like two cars crashing head on, and the results are disastrous for the soft tissue inside both. Men have been paralyzed or even died from head on helmet hits, in 2011 a Frostburg State player and a highs school player from Homer, New York both died from helmet to helmet hits. Along with death, these hits cause longterm mental damage, they cause concussions. In 2015, there were 275 diagnosed concussions in the NFL, in 2016 there were 244 diagnosed concussions. Thats 275 of the players in the NFL who may develop longterm mental impairment. Current symptoms of a concussion are, headache, confusion, memory loss, loss of consciousness, vision change, mood change, and fatigue.
Even though loss of consciousness is a symptom of a concussion, most concussions happen without a loss of consciousness. Players take a hit, then since they did not lose conciseness they assume that they are fine and go back to the field, injuring their brain more. In the NFL there are spotters who watch the game and decide if a player who took a hit needs to come off the field, but do they always see each hit? There is so much action going on the field at once. In high school there are no spotters, it is up to the discretion of the athletic trainer who cannot see everything from the ground as the spotter cannot see everything from up high. A student who is fighting for a starting spot get a nasty blow to the head, and does not lose consciousness, is he going to keep playing or go to the bench where someone can take their spot? A good friend of mine plays center for our local high school team, he is a junior and in a tight race for the spot. He walks to his a car with a box the size of a basketball containing ibuprofen. I confront him and say why do you need that. He responds with, I get a lot of headaches, and I cannot tell anyone because I will lose my starting spot. I later told his parents about this because I did not want him to end up like all these NFL players with advanced stages of CTE. No one can go into these players brains and feel what they feel, officials cannot stop helmet to helmet hits before they happen. All of this just happens and we need to see what happens after the hits. All these hits, they are killing people.
Concussions are killing former NFL player, the concussion itself doesn’t kill. What kills are the effects of concussions. Dementia, Alzheimers, depression, and CTE all can be caused by suffering chronic concussions. Dementia and Alzheimers, diseases meant for senior citizens, are being diagnosed in players only 50 years old. People with Alzheimers have their memory deteriorated at a rapid pace until they die from the disease. It is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. CTE is diagnosed in people who have history of repetitive brain trauma, such as football player. Symptoms of CTE affect a persons mood and behavior. Aggression, depression, and paranoia have all been seen as behavior changes. CTE has caused many former players to have extremely early deaths, including mostly suicides. Former Steeler’s center Mike Webster committed suicide at the age of 50. His brain was discovered be affected by CTE. Dave Duerson, Ray Easterling, and Junior Seau all committed suicide and were later discovered to have been affected by CTE. In 2017 convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez hung himself in his prison cell. Hernandez brain was tested and contained a severe case of CTE. He was 28 and researchers say that it was the most severe case of CTE in the brain of a person his age. The list of suicides goes on and on. More deceased NFL players brains are being examined and the results are out of the ordinary. A study published in the medical journal JAMA, found that of all the brains of deceased players studied, 99 percent of them had CTE.
Helmet to helmet hits, concussions, and CTE has gotten so bad that an ESPN football analyst even quit his job. Ed Cunningham resigned from a top job as an college football analyst due to the fact he did not want to see these college players health at risk. Cunningham a former player, saw other players as old as him have to retire due to fear of CTE and other long term brain injuries. He said he cannot simply keep contributing to footballs multibillion dollar apparatus. He just couldn’t see the brain injuring hits on college kids every week.
Helmet to helmet hits have a detrimental effect in the game of football today. They cause detrimental injuries such as spinal injuries and concussions. These hits can even kill players right on the field. Concussions then cause catastrophic results, causing CTE. CTE then causes players to have intense mental disorders and finally these players commit suicide. These devastating hits on the field need to stop, there needs to be someway we can prevent the hit before it even happens. It is worthless to try to add protection from bad hits when the protection does not work. We need to stop them before they happen, for the safety of our players.
“What is CTE” Concussion Legacy Foundation
“NFL Concussion Fast Facts” CNN Library http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/30/us/nfl-concussions-fast-facts/index.html
“CTE found in 99% of studied brains from deceased NFL players” Daniella Emanuel http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/25/health/cte-nfl-players-brains-study/index.html
“ESPN football Analyst walks away, disturbed by brain trauma on field”, John Branch https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/30/sports/espn-ed-cunningham-football-concussions.html