Whoever said that no pains come with no gains might have been referring to the National Football League (NFL), as if there is one thing Football Players are all familiar with, it is the probability that they might run headfirst into a concussion during each game play. A concussion basically involves knocking one’s head against another surface area where, at the best of times, an impact absorbed by your skull might only leave you momentarily disorientated. In the worst cases though, a concussion patient may suffer from memory loss, headaches, dizziness or blurred vision. Or, they could simply pass out and lose all consciousness.
Grades of Concussions
According to the book of Neurology (Chapter 48, Published in 1997), there are three grades of concussions, all of which are measured by how long each side effect lasts. The mildest (wherein all symptoms of a concussion should clear up in less than a quarter of an hour) involves the feeling of disorientation, poor attention span and loss of focus while still in a conscious state of being. It is recommended that all Football Players suffering from a Grade One concussion be removed from the game and should be frequently examined every five minutes until all symptoms of the concussion has passed. While a player with a Grade One concussion can still rejoin the play, it is recommended that said player rests for at least one whole week in the event that a second concussion occurs.
If a Football Player fails to shake off all concussion symptoms described in Grade One concussions, he must then be permanently removed from the game immediately and will not be allowed to play for at least two whole weeks. The daily checkups should also include a brain scan to determine that normal brain activity is occurring, else the player can be potentially kicked off for the entire season.
A Football Player suffering from concussion is easily categorized as a Grade Three case the moment he passes out or losses all consciousness. In this event, said player must receive immediate medical attention including neurological examinations at least once a day. Should said player pass all medical examinations two weeks after the symptoms has cleared up, he can then take a one month medical sabbatical before returning to the field.
How Bad Is It?
Although certain parties have been quick to state that tighter regulations set in place are now making football a safer sport for its players, the back-to-back concussion experienced by Philadelphia Eagle’s star player, Brian Westbrook in October 2010 perfectly how exemplifies two head injuries are all it takes to throw a star running back’s career in jeopardy. Here’s an interview with the Pro Football Player discussing his concussions.
More importantly, such head injuries have sparked investigations on how often desperate players are returned to the playing field post injury and if any of the Football Players were even given clearance to play by the independent neurologist.
Career moves aside, Football Players suffering from regular concussions also have other health-related problems to worry about including dementia, mood swings, personality changes, fatigue, persistent headaches, short attention spans and memory loss. As a matter of fact, a Time.com study discovered that NFL players are much more at risk for Alzheimers versus the general popularion.
In a separate study conducted by Boston University’s Centre for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy (CSTE), scientists also discovered that 100% of Football Players included in NFL head injury statistics are found to show dramatic brain damage towards the end of their lives. It should also be noted that NFL Football Players who have experienced concussions also tend to die at a relatively younger age as well. During autopsy, scientists have further commented that the brains of these deceased Football Players also resemble that of a 75 year old man suffering from Alzheimer’s disease due to the massive tangling of their brain tissue.
NFL Concussions in 2010
During the Regular Season, a total of 159 head injuries were reported with an average of 9.35 concussions treated per week, or 0.62 concussions per game. Interesting enough, with 33 players per football team, an incidence rate of 15.06% and 9.38% epidemiological incidence for a 53 man roster suggests that the actual number of unreported concussions may actually be higher.
It should also be noted that the defence players suffer the most from concussions (51.5%), followed closely by the offense players (48.5%). Our findings have also revealed that the Associated Press has reported of a 21% increase in head injury, which includes 154 concussions occurring in practices as well as at preseason games.
NFL Concussions in 2011
Despite claims of tighter safety regulations and several lawsuits, the NFL football concussion statistics continue to climb with another 162 number of head injuries reported last year. That roughly sums up to an average of 10.80 concussions occurring every week and that there is a 72% chance of a concussion injury occurring at every NFL game.
From the concussion rate in NFL for 2011, it should be note that 51.85% of the head injuries were born by the offensive players whereas defensive players experienced the other 48.15% of head injuries. Just like the year before, the NFL failed to guarantee the safety for any of the players on the field, as there still exists a 50-50 chance of you being injured on the head.
Players vs the NFL
As hundreds of retired NFL players are now gearing up to serve the NFL and helmet manufacturers with a hefty law suit, sideliners are wondering if retired NFL stars including Jamal Lewis and Jim McMahon will be able to handle the duress of a very expensive, time-consuming legal battle with the league. These victims of concussions contend that even if the NFL never knew about the damage of concussions, the league should have made the well being of its players a top priority from the very beginning.
On the other hand, legal experts such as Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney Bruce A. Hagen along with Pope, McGlamry, Kilpatrick, Morrison & Norwood, LLP, (PMKMN) are personal injury attorneys who strongly believe that the law suit against the NFL can be won, especially since new evidence has come to light concerning the fact that the NFL has been publically denouncing the side effects of concussion and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), despite knowing about the condition for almost an entire decade.
As at this moment of writing, Bruce A.Hagen is still actively inviting former NFL players to testify against the wrongful actions of the NFL. As the number of football concussion statistics continue to mount against the league, the mechanism of NFL is also slowly but surely doing its best to repair damages as any case against the league brought to the court can potentially cost the league billions of dollars in damages.