NFL Football Brain Injuries And Concussions Are Set To Be The Focus Of A New Film Set To Be Released This Month
A new movie set to release on December 25, 2015 is bringing awareness to the large number of serious and deadly NFL football brain injuries. The movie is called “Concussion” and is a documentary-style movie investigating the high number of injuries in professional football.
Specifically, the movie is examining the link between football concussions and CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), which is a degenerative brain disease that causes serious side effects, such as memory loss, thoughts of suicide, depression, and even death. In recent years, several prominent NFL players have died from CTE. The movie aims to bring greater awareness to the often hidden problem of NFL injuries. [http://www.tbo.com/sports/bucs/new-movie-concussion-delivers-hard-hit-to-the-nfl-20151118/, November 2015]
According to numerous studies and investigations, football is directly responsible for seriously injuring a large portion of players at the college, high school, and professional level. The New York Times reports that one in three NFL players have suffered football brain injuries. In 2013, 228 professional football players were diagnosed with serious concussions and required hospitalization. An investigation by the New York Times found that about one-third of concussion injuries are never listed on NFL incident reports. The league paid $675 million in 2013 to settle thousands of injury claims by former players. The New York Times investigation found that the NFL plans to pay monetary compensation for serious and fatal football injuries to 28 percent of all players, which is an incredibly high injury rate. A 2013 investigative report conducted by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs found that 76 out of 79 deceased former NLF players had CTE. [http://fansided.com/2015/01/17/9-nfl-concussion-statistics-youll-want-know/, November 2015]
Each season, the NFL sees an average of just under 200 serious concussions. In response to the recent backlash against the under-reported injuries, the NFL has implemented concussion “spotters” at many of its games. However, these spotters may be ignoring minor concussions that can still cause serious side effects. During several NLF games in 2015, injury spotters allowed players to continue playing even after sustaining serious head injuries which should require removal from the game and a hospital trip. [http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2015/11/15/9738228/nfl-concussion-spotters-failing-malcolm-jenkins-julian-edelman, November 2015]
The NLF is also currently working to improve the safety of player’s helmets to reduce the chance of receiving a concussion upon impact. One design currently under research is researching mountain goats and woodpeckers and uses the skull structure of the woodpecker as a prototype for the new helmet design. Woodpeckers and goats, unlike humans, do not get concussions and brain injuries even after incredible impact thanks to their uniquely designed skulls. The new helmet designs not only protect the skull, but also work to protect the brain from hitting the skull on the inside, which is how most concussions occur. [http://www.thestar.com/sports/2011/10/27/why_dont_woodpeckers_get_concussions.html, November 2015]
With greater awareness that professional sports and football can cause serious and deadly injuries, the safety of the game will only improve. If additional awareness using media such as the “Concussion” movie can prevent or reduce some football injuries then it will have done its job. With additional research, football does not have to result in fatal football injuries.