Sports

Concussion Study Reaches New Heights

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By now I’m sure that many of us have heard about the dangers of concussions and how they seem to be most prevalent in football. It’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility when you consider the amount of head to head contact that exists within the sport and the risk continues to grow with increased competition.

Many parents are already hesitant about allowing their kids to play football because of the injury risks involved but now with the latest study done on former football players, that concern may have just increased to a new level.

In a study released by The New York Times this past Tuesday, neuropathologist Dr. Ann McKee found that after studying 111 brains of former NFL players, 110 of them suffered from CTE prior to their death. With the damaging affects CTE has on the brain, the fact that just about 99% of former players suffer from CTE is incredibly alarming and brings into question whether or not playing football is even worth the risk.

With football being most popular to fans because of its hard hitting, competitive edge and aggression, you cant ignore that the amount of pounding each practice and every game, makes it hard to argue that the sport isn’t more risk than it is reward. Now certainly, the NFL has made it a point to continually modify the players’ equipment along with rule changes to make the game safer and college and high school football has followed suit but the amount of physical contact is still relatively the same. Because of the fact that CTE can only be studied in deceased patients, the only way to currently prevent it is by not playing football altogether.

Although  it now seems the risk of playing football can be an endangerment to kids who want to play many parents will outright refuse allowing their children to participate in the sport. Yet, there is still plenty of football to be played. Football is simply too big of a sport in America to suddenly lose all of its participants. It’s very possible that upwards of 70% of current NFL players have CTE but current players aren’t the ones suffering from it. It usually isn’t until 10-15 years after a player has retired that they may start seeing symptoms of CTE and it really starts to affect their livelihood and some players never experience any of the more severe symptoms.

CTE is essentially a numbers game and although some people who play football will fall victim, there are others who won’t. It’s no different from career-ending injuries that some players will suffer after playing years of any professional sport, especially boxing.

However for those who make it to the NFL or the CFL, it’s a career and profession just like being a police officer or a firefighter. These careers come with risks and some have more risk than others. And being in the NFL is certainly a risk that will continue to play its effect on the 53 players on 32 teams every year.

 

 

 

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