10 December 2014
Concussions in Hockey and American Football Concussions happen more often than people think they do, and they don’t only just happen in sports but that’s where they are talked about the most. The National Center of Biotechnical Information has reported that about 3.8 million concussions occur in the USA per year; however, as many as 50% of the concussions may go unreported. People can get concussions without knowing that they have one; whether it’s from getting hit in the head, getting in car accident, or falling. Any little impact may cause problems with the head/ brain. In the 2012 NFL season, 15% of the players in the league were diagnosed with a concussion, (CNN Library) and in the NHL 13% of players on active rosters were concussed at least once during the season (Klein). According to ESPN’s Sports Science, in the NFL players experience many helmet to helmet collisions and each one of these collisions has an impact of 100 Gs of force at 20 mph
American football is responsible for the most concussions in sports in the USA, not just professionally but at the amateur and recreational levels as well. By playing any sport, there is a risk of getting concussions; even in non contact sports. This fall, my softball team had five people get concussions, and people don’t expect people to get concussions in softball since it is a non contact sport. I personally have never been diagnosed with a concussion, but I have been around them practically my whole life. My oldest brother got his first concussion when he was 10, so I was 4, and he has continued to get them throughout his whole life in both baseball and football. My other brother also got them often while playing high school football, to the point that if he had gotten another one he never could have played a contact sport again. By being around them, I am aware of the long list of symptoms, the dangers of getting too many, and some of the different test and protocols that have to be followed in order to get cleared for physical activity. Concussions are becoming more of a hot topic when it comes to sports because people are learning about the impacts they have on someone after their sports career is over. Over the past twenty years the NFL has been made more aware of the severities of concussions and playing while being concussed and the NFL has started taking precautions towards it. But this hasn’t stopped ex players from suing the league because they have had brain trauma problems after retiring. The image below shows the progression of the lawsuits againt the NFL and what they’ve done to look into the brain injuries. It all started in 1994 when the Mid Traumatic Brain Injury Committee was formed to investigate the long term effects of gettting concussions. Former NFL satrs are now suing the league because of the problems they have faced and they plame the league for not protecting their health and well being enough during the duration of time that they were playing. The players lawsuit was origianlly headed by former Dolphin great and hall of famer, Dan Marino. The image then goes on to show some of the research institutions that have helped the NFL try to understand the impacts of these hits and the damage that it does to the brain. Over the past twenty years there have been 7 known suicides of ex NFL players, and autopsys have shown how they all had significant brain damage, and their families had confirmed how after retiring they weren’t themselves anymore.
Junior Seau was a 6’3” 250 pound linebacker who played nineteen years in the NFL deleviering massive hits on the opposing teams. While Seau was in the NFL, there wasn’t a concussion protocol that had to be follwed so he played with concussions a lot of the time according to his ex-wife. Junior retired from the NFL in 2009 and committed suicide on May 2, 2012. After interviews with his family it was soon discovered the Seau sufferd from insomnia,