Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), medial collateral ligament (MCL), torn meniscus, muscle contusions, shoulder tendinitis, shoulder separation or dislocation, ankle sprains and strains, and torn hamstrings are just some of the injuries suffered by National Football League and College Football players. More serious than any of these musculoskeletal injuries, however, are two other injuries that affect the brain: Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and Concussion.
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), which is a progressive, degenerative brain disease, can lead to memory loss, dementia and depression. Concussion, on the other hand, is “a change in mental state due to a traumatic impact. Not all those who suffer a concussion lose consciousness. Some signs that a concussion has been sustained are headaches, dizziness, nausea, loss of balance, drowsiness, numbness, difficulty concentrating, and blurred vision.
During the 2015 season alone, there were over 180 reported concussions in the National Football League, an average of 10.7 NFL concussions each week over its 17-week season. Obviously, the more violent football is, the more fans, owners and camera crew are awestruck by this sports. They all do not realize, however, how this game can cause in players an illness that can reduce not only their quality of life, but also their life span.
Besides Chris Borland, a linebacker drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft, many other professional players retired from the sport early in their career due to concerns over head injuries inherent to the sport. The only sad thing is, they might have retired too late – when serious damage that will eventually lead to serious effects can no longer be reversed.
During the 1993 NFC Championship Game, for instance, Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman suffered a serious blow to the head which sent him to the hospital that same evening. In 1994, Chicago Bears fullback Merrill Hodge also suffered a blow to the head. This injury did not only make him retire from football; it also left him unable to recognize his close family members, including his wife.”
As mentioned by the Ali Mokaram law firm, “In the opinion of an increasing number of scientists, NFL players are paying the cost of such entertainment with their health and long-term well-being. Once their playing careers have ended, many NFL players find that the physical toll that playing professional football has taken on their bodies makes them unable to live a productive, healthy life. Some of these injuries include physical pain from broken bones and joint injuries, but increasing evidence shows that many professional athletes also have suffered degenerative brain disease from repeated concussions as a result of playing in the league.” In spite of this, players frequently feel forced to perform despite incurring severe head injuries in order to retain their professional careers and fans. This is incredibly dangerous for players as repeated concussions have serious long-term effects on a person’s wellbeing, such as: reduced life span, high medical costs, brain damage, chronic headaches, impaired concentration and memory, and, reduced balance.