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Essay Samples > Research > Concussions in American Football
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Concussions in American Football

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Player safety in American football has been a controversial issue for several years. The main concern, however, has always been the occurrence of concussions among athletes who play amateur American football and the NFL. Concussions are a form of traumatic brain injury, which for many years, has been a key contributor to a number of suicides among young adults, in the United States. Apart from causing suicide cases, concussions also lead to other symptoms after such athletes retire from the NFL or the amateur American football (Dunn). According to a survey conducted in 2007 by the National Football League, players who had experienced a minimum of three concussions during their playing careers had high probabilities of suffering from depression (Edwards). Five years later, the Canadian football league also conducted a survey consisting of six CFL players. The results indicated that three of the players had CTE complications (McCONNAUGHEY).

Controversy Surrounding the Topic

Player safety is a controversial topic in the American sports arena, especially for the case of contact sports such as Amateur American football. Many argue that the use of helmets and other protective gadgets provide an assurance to the security and safety of athletes. However, others argue that the provision of helmets to athletes in such games has increases the degree of brutality in the game, which has massively contributed to the increased number of concussion cases among athletes (Tamny). Thus, controversy remains on whether helmets are a necessary safety tool or a hazardous gadget.

Effects of Concussions of Athletes in the NFL and the Amateur American Football League

Concussions tend to be a cumulative element in the life of an athlete. Some athletes, especially those in contact sports such as the Amateur American football and the NFL, tend to suffer multiple concussions during their time span as players. Some of the concussions often go undiagnosed. There may not be a definite way of determining if an individual is likely to suffer from long-term effects, but there are symptoms that show on these athletes as a result of the concussions (SCHWARZ).

The trauma that athletes encounter as a result of multiple concussions from contact games have contributed to an increase in the likelihood of committing suicide among  NFL athletes. However, not so many suicides cases have been recorded as a result of concussions, but still, there have been players who have committed suicide after retiring from the NFL. Medical practitioners have observed that these suicide cases have had multiple concussion cases during their careers in NFL and the Amateur American football (Wolfson).

Concussions also tend to cause blurred vision among athletes. Multiple concussions have an effect on most parts of the human head. When an athlete experiences a concussion, the damage affects the eyesight of such an individual, causing blurred vision. In addition, some athletes tend to experience body balance problems and dizziness as a result of the concussions (Edwards).

How Concussion Affect the Health of Athletes In Future

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)A number of players have been diagnosed with CTE complications. Research has indicated that concussions could be one of the key causes of this complication. This is because 90% of patients confirmed to have CTE complications have been confirmed to be former athletes in contact sports, mainly the NFL and Amateur American Football. Multiple concussions, which go unnoticed, leave athletes with no medical attention, which leads to CTE cases after the athletes retire from the sport (McCONNAUGHEY).

Concussion Effects on the Future State of the Sport

The growing concerns of concussion cases in NFL and Amateur American football are likely to cause massive shifts in the structure of the game. Concussions occur due to the hard tackles these athletes make against each other. The athletes engage in such tackles because of the idea of protection from the helmets. Despite efforts to increase the safety of the helmets, athletes have continuously experienced concussions. Thus, there is only one way of reducing concussion cases: eliminating the use of helmets in the sport. The justification of this argument is in relation to similar contact games such as rugby, where players play without the use of protective gadgets. This lack of safety gadgets instills a sense of responsibility and care among athletes (Tamny). There is a possibility that in the future, the American Football association shall eliminate the use of helmets, to examine if concussion cases will reduce by any margin. However, such an action also faces its challenges. Most viewers of American Football games pay money to watch and enjoy the hard tackles. Hard tackles are fascinating to watch, and it is why fans go to watch the games. Thus, an attempt to eradicate the use of helmets is likely to receive opposition from sections of the management of the games, due to the revenues that clubs will lose (Tamny).

Response of NFL

The NFL has failed to respond adequately to the issue of multiple concussions among athletes. Instead of eliminating the use of helmets in the game, NFL has continued to modify the helmets used in NFL and American Football games, in an attempt to increase the safety of athletes (Tamny). However, this move has failed to yield positive outcomes, with the number of concussions continuing to increase. The NFL has not yet considered the option of eliminating the use of helmets in NFL and Amateur American Football games, just as in the case of other contact games such as rugby. There is an urgent need to identify lasting solutions on the safety of the health of NFL and American football players, in response to the failure of helmets to prevent the occurrence of concussions. 

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