CONCUSSIONS ARE AFFECTING THEGAME OF FOOTBALL.By: Dominic Fontana & Michael Gooden
CONCUSSION: A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that alters the way your brain functions. Effects are usually temporary, but can include problems with headaches, concentration, memory, judgment, bala nce, and coordination. (Mayo clinic staff, 2011)
CAUSES: Most of you know that a concussion can be caused by any significant blunt force trauma to the head such as a fall, a car accident, sports injury, or being struck on the head with an object. (WebMD, 2010) Photo courtesy of Google Images
CAUSES CONTINUED: However, most people don’t know that the brain is cushioned from everyday jolts and bumps by the cerebrospinal fluid that it floats in, inside your skull. A violent blow to your head and neck or upper body can cause your brain to slide back and forth forcefully against the inner wall of your skull. Sudden acceleration or deceleration of the head — resulting from events such as a car crash or sporting injury— also can cause brain injury. (Mayo clinic staff, 2011) Photo courtesy of Google Images
WHAT PART OF THE BRAIN IS AFFECTED? Brain injury causes lesions that appear and change over time in the prefrontal cortex and its pathways to the other regions of the brain. (The Franklin Institute, 2004) Photo courtesy of Google Images
FUNCTIONS OF THE PREFRONTAL CORTEX(PFC): This vital region of the brain regulates thought in terms of both short-term and long-term decision making. It allows humans to plan ahead and create strategies, and also to adjust actions or reactions in changing situations. It helps to focus thoughts, which enable people to pay attention, learn, and concentrate on goals. This area is also the part of the brain that allows humans to consider several different yet related lines of thinking when learning or evaluating complex concepts or tasks. The PFC also houses active, working memory. (Anissimov, 2013)
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS: 4 MAIN CATEGORIES: Thinking and remembering Emotional and mood Not thinking clearly Easily upset or angered Feeling slowed down Sad Not being able to concentrate Nervous or anxious Not being able to remember More emotional new information Sleep Physical Sleeping more than usual Headache Sleeping less than usual Fuzzy or blurry vision Having a hard time falling Nausea and vomiting asleep Dizziness Sensitivity to light or noise (WebMD, 2010) Balance problems Feeling tired or having no energy
TREATMENTS: A person who might have a concussion needs to immediately stop any kind of activity or sport. Rest is the best way to recover from a concussion. Get plenty of sleep at night, and take it easy during the day. Avoid activities that are physically or mentally demanding Such as: exercise, schoolwork, video games, etc. Use ice or a cold pack on any swelling for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Use pain medicine as directed. (WebMD, 2010)
PRESSING ISSUES TODAY: Concussions in the NFL Numerous debates and have been a hot topic in the interviews have taken place world of sports. on SportsCenter regarding ESPN, The NY the issue of concussions Times, CNN, etc. have and the effects they have on covered stories concerning the players. the concussion problem. Photo courtesy of Google Images
HOW WE ONCE KNEW FOOTBALL: Prior to the 2010 NFL http://www.youtube.com/wat Controversy, player safety ch?v=Qz6wJ-rcfbA was not of the upmost "Guys are thinking about it importance. much deeper now than they Players were allowed to did before," deliver head-to-head ―When we played, we took it collisions without facing in stride, playing dinged. It penalties or fines from the was part of the game, but league. nobody told us at that time Players would return to the there might be some game even when they residual effects. You had to showed signs of play through it to survive.‖ concussions. - Harry Carson, NY Giants Hall of Fame Inside LB (Cimini, 2012)
CONTROVERSY IN THE NFL: In 2010, the NFL Since then, the league has acknowledged that introduced: concussions can lead to Stricter penalties and dementia, memory increased fines for illegal head- loss, CTE, and other related to-head hits symptoms. Improved helmets that better protect athletes This resulted from the 4,000 Taken other specific actions to lawsuits they received from further prevent player head former NFL players and injuries. families who are now dealing with the long term effects of the concussions they endured while playing in the league. There are currently 12,000 living former NFL players – so 1/3 of them are suing over head injuries. (Gbajabiamila, 2013)
MITCH WHITE’S STORY Seven years and one crushing hit later, he is one of the 4,000 former NFL players who are suing the league over concussions. At age 34, White is unable to work and is sometimes so debilitated by migraines that he cannot care for his two young daughters. He takes as many as eight medications at a time to ease his headaches, and smooth his erratic moods Photo courtesy of Google Images and sleeplessness. (Battista, 2012)
FORMER PLAYERS SUFFERING: The long term effects of Rodney Harrison is concussions have: fearful for his life after Ended players’ careers his 15 year NFL career early where he suffered Lead to diseases such numerous as CTE, memory concussions. loss, degenerative brain http://sports.yahoo.com disease, dementia, Alzh /blogs/nfl-shutdown- eimer’s, etc. corner/rodney-harrison- Even resulted in suicide says-scared-death- career-filled- concussions- 015416631--nfl.html
JUNIOR SEAU STORY: In May 2012, former San Diego ―Just block out this pain. It’s Charger, Junior Seau took his life taught from coaches from the by a self-inflicted gunshot wound time you’re in Pop Warner. I’ve to the chest while in his home. done it myself as a His family agreed to have his coach, coaching my kids through brain studied, to determine high school.‖ whether there could possibly be ―Junior was obviously very good a link between the hits to the at it. He’d play through ridiculous head he absorbed as a football pain that some people wouldn’t player and his suicide. even get out of bed with to go to The findings determined the an office job. Sometimes you brain of the All-Pro linebacker play a game with those.‖ showed abnormalities associated - Gary Plummer, former NFL with CTE and degenerative brain LB, former teammate of Seau disease. (Farmer, 2013) Photo courtesy of Google Images
STRICTER ACTIONS, FINES, AND PENALTIES Actions: Fines: The NFL moved the Each illegal hit is kickoff from the 30 to the assessed differently. 35 yard line. Depending on the extent Since a majority of head of the hit, the NFL injuries occur during the Commissioner, Roger kickoff, the amount of Goodell, will further returns per season will assess the play and decrease; therefore the assign an appropriate risk of head injuries will fine. also decrease. Penalties: Suspensions can also take place if a player When an illegal head-to- head hit takes place, the repeatedly commits ref throws a penalty flag illegal hits or if a for a 15 yard penalty. particular hit is extremely offensive.
IMPROVED HELMETS: The helmet has come a long way since the soft leather helmet of the 1920’s. The modern helmet is hard on the outside and extremely soft and padded on the inside and has even taken advice from the US Military. A couple new ideas have launched to further develop the helmet: An impact indicator chin strap that can measure the strength and duration of a hit that a player endures and can relay that information instantly to coaches and trainers. Reebok is designing a skull cap that can also read the impact of a hit on a player. (NFL.com, 2012) Photos courtesy of Google Images
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A PLAYER ISCONCUSSED IN THE NFL:1. Initial impact2. The force from the impact causes the brain to strike the inner surface of the skull and rebound against the opposite side.3. In severe concussions the brain can twist as it rebounds.4. The brain swells and puts pressure on the brain stem. Photo courtesy of Google Images
OBVIOUS CAUSES OF CONCUSSIONS IN THENFL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o66mekg-1_Y QB Matt Schaub took a brutal head-to-head hit from LB Joe Mays. Mays was fined $50,000 and faced a 1 game suspension. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXjx0osS-ew LB James Harrison delivered a traumatic blow to QB Colt McCoy. Harrison was suspended 1 game for his violent hit.
PROBLEMS WITH CONCUSSIONS AND PLAYERMENTALITY: Today it is becoming a bigger "The bottom line is: You have problem that players want to to be able to put food on the return to the field after table. No ones going to sign suffering a concussion. or want a guy who cant stay Players do not want to show healthy. I know there will be a weakness to their coaches or day when Im going to have teammates out of fear of trouble walking. I realize being replaced and not being that." – Maurice Jones-Drew. able to provide for themselves or their families. This is a huge problem because suffering from another blow to the head can greatly increase the chance of further injury and future illness. (Associated Press, 2011) Photo courtesy of Google Images
FUTURE EXPECTATIONS OF THE NFL: The battle between the NFL Players Association and the NFL has been a constant issue. The NFLPA claims that the NFL cares more about money than players’ safety. The NFLPA wants concussion specialists who have no team affiliation to stay on the sidelines and oversee concussion protocols and treat players. In the long run, the NFL is a big business and they want to protect their image and keep fans. The NFL is concerned about losing fans due to continuing stricter rules and regulations that they think may change the game too drastically. (Mortensen, 2012) Photo courtesy of Google Images
Anissimov, Michael. "What Is the Prefrontal Cortex?" WiseGEEK. N.p., 25 Feb. 2013. Web. 3 Mar. WORKS CITED FROM PRESENTATION 2013. Battista, Judy. "A Players Concussion, A Familys Ordeal." The New York Times. The New York Times, 16 Sept. 2012. Web. 5 Mar. 2013. Boriboon, Kia. "Concussion Management In Football: Dont Shake It Off." PT In Motion 5.1 (2013): 18- 25. SPORTDiscus with Full Text. Web. 28 Feb. 2013. Cimini, Rich. "In N.Y., Two Sides to NFL concussions." ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, 17 May 2012. Web. 10 Mar. 2013. Clemmitt, Marcia. "Traumatic Brain Injury. Is an Effective Cure Possible?" CQ Researcher by CQ Press. CQ Press, 01 June 2012. Web. 28 Feb. 2013. "Concussion - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention." WebMD. WebMD, 23 July 2010. Web. 10 Mar. 2013. Farmer, Sam. "Junior Seau Had Brain Disease When He Committed Suicide." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 10 Jan. 2013. Web. 11 Mar. 2013. Gbajabiamila, Akbar. "Concussion Lawsuits against NFL Shouldnt Be for Everyone." NFL.com. N.p., 12 Feb. 2013. Web. 10 Mar. 2013. Hayes, Ashley, Molly Green, Stephanie Smith, and Justin Lear. "Former NFL Players: League Concealed Concussion Risks." CNN. Cable News Network, 20 July 2011. Web. 5 Mar. 2013. "History of the NFL Football Helmet." NFL.com. N.p., 15 Nov. 2012. Web. 10 Mar. 2013. Jost, Kenneth. "Is the NFL Doing Enough to Protect Players?" CQ Researcher by CQ Press. CQ Press, 11 Oct. 2011. Web. 28 Feb. 2013. Mortensen, Chris. "NFLPA Wants Concussion experts." ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, 13 Nov. 2012. Web. 10 Mar. 2013. Press, Associated. "Players Still Willing to Hide Head injuries." ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, 26 Dec. 2011. Web. 5 Mar. 2013. Staff, Mayo Clinic. "Definition." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 22 Feb. 2011. Web. 3 Mar. 2013. Staff, Mayo Clinic. "Definition." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 22 Feb. 2011. Web. 3 Mar. 2013. "The Human Brain - Watch Your Head." The Human Brain - Watch Your Head. The Fanklin Institute Online, 2004. Web. 11 Mar. 2013. Tracy, Michelle. "Shake, Rattle, and Roll: The Impact of Undiagnosed Concussions in Pediatrics." ScienceDirect. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2013.
OUR OPINION: How Concussions Are Damaging the Great Game Fines. Suspensions. Penalties. Are all these things hurting thegreat game we once knew? As a kid growing up, I was trained to hit theQuarterback in the mouth. No one was taught to avoid contact in certainareas pertaining to the head. I remember times after a big collision whenmy head was throbbing and the field was spinning around me but I playedthrough in order to prove myself to my coaches and fellow teammates.Living through the intensity of high school football taught me to suck it upand move forward. Coaches to this day are blunt and willing to do anything to win.Take into consideration the words of Saints Defensive Coordinator, GreggWilliams, ―Every single one of you, before you get off the pile, affect thehead… Continue to touch and affect the head. Kill the head and the bodywill die‖ (Petchesky, 2012). They do everything in their might; verballycalling players ―pussies,‖ ―worthless pieces of shit,‖ and ―dumbasses‖ whenthey fail to make a hit or play on the ball. Experiencing a traumatic blow tothe head is just one of the few worries on a player’s mind.
Players such as Safety Jack Tatum of the Oakland Raiders playedfearlessly; hitting players and punishing whoever dared trespass in his zone.Frankly, he didn’t give a crap about anything other than knocking the piss out of theopposing players. He once stated, "I always wanted to hit someone hard, and if theygot hurt, that was part of the game. But you always wanted them to be OK"(Leibman, 2010). This quote couldn’t be more accurate. Back in the 1970’s Tatumwas nicknamed ―The Assassin‖ for injuring multiple players and even paralyzing DarylStingley. Overall, the game of football is a violent sport—players will get injured (eventhough you mentally don’t want them too), but it is part of the game. Since the 2010 NFL Controversy, the league has implemented stricterpenalties and fines on players who deliver illegal head-to-head hits to help protectplayers from head injuries. The kickoff has even been moved closer by five yards inorder to decrease the chance of a return up the field. Enormous athletes running ateach other full speed trying to make a big play is one of the main causes of headinjuries in football, but it is also where momentum of a game can swing and is one ofthe more exciting aspects of football. In today’s NFL, we see defensive players takingless aggressive approaches—passing up hits on the quarterback and receivers inorder to ―please‖ league officials and higher authoritative figures. And when they failto do so, are fined thousands of dollars or suspended for multiple games. How doesthis help the sport? It simply doesn’t! The only thing it helps is losing revenue. Playerscarry multi-million dollar contracts and receive additional millions from endorsements.All these luxuries are from playing the game of football. They signed up to play aviolent sport and should be aware of the consequences resulting from head-to-headcombat. We understand that these players can suffer from horrible long term effectssuch as degenerative brain disease or CTE due to many concussions they suffer intheir football careers. The thousands of lawsuits the NFL has received from formerplayers coping with terrible diseases are obvious signs that too many blows to thehead can be a very serious issue. The sleeplessness, erratic moods, depression, andmemory loss are troubling symptoms that these athletes are now suffering through.Although these players are examples of what can happen from too manyconcussions, the game of football should not suffer because of them.
In our opinion, the league should continue to invest time andmoney into further improving equipment such as helmets, padding, andmouthpieces to decrease the chances of head injuries. Teaching propertackling techniques is another vital thing the NFL should do. Put the timeinto teaching these monstrous athletes to not tackle by leading with theirheads. However, as far as penalties and fines are concerned, they havebecome strict enough and no further rules should be implemented. Playerssuch as Chad Ochocinco and Maurice Jones-Drew agree with thestatements above. In a 2011 Preseason game, Mason Foster delivered abrutal head-on-hit to Chad Ochocinco. NFL commissioner, RogerGoodell, fined the Rookie linebacker $20,000 for his illegal tackle.Ironically, Ochocinco reimbursed Foster the $20,000 and stated thatFoster’s hit was part of the game and plays like that simply happen(Klopman, 2011). When Maurice Jones-Drew was asked aboutconcussions he replied by saying ―The bottom line is: No one’s going to signor want a guy who can’t stay healthy. I know there will be a day when I amgoing to have trouble walking. I realize that‖ (Associated Press, 2011).These quotes and actions above validate our argument. If you take awaywhat makes the sport special it will take away interest from the sport. Fanswill walk away from the game if there is no game left. If we can’t see whatwe want to see we will find something else to watch.
Klopman, Michael. "Chad Ochocinco Tells Roger Goodell He Will WORKS CITED FROM EDITORIAL Reimburse Mason Fosters Fine." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 25 Aug. 2011. Web. 11 Mar. 2013. Leibman, Glen. "Five Quotes By and About Jack Tatum." SPORTS QUOTATION MAN: FOR YOUR DAILY DOSE OF SPORTS QUOTES: Five Quotes By and About Jack Tatum. N.p., 27 July 2010. Web. 11 Mar. 2013. "NFL Getting Too Soft!!" HubPages. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Mar. 2013. Petchesky, Barry. ""Kill The Fucking Head": Gregg Williams Told The Saints To Destroy The 49ers Brains." Deadspin. N.p., 05 Apr. 2012. Web. 13 Mar. 2013. Press, Associated. "Players Still Willing to Hide Head injuries." ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, 26 Dec. 2011. Web. 5 Mar. 2013.