The NFL has began to change its rules regarding “defenseless” players, referee involvement, and concussions protocol. All these changes have been put in place because of their concern for the players safety, but is it enough?
In a study conducted by Dr.Ann McKee, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, she said that 110 out of 111 brains from deceased NFL players had CTE or chronic traumatic encephalopathy. This was one of the largest studies to date that dealt with head concussions and there effects on the human brain. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a degenerative brain disease caused from build up of a protein called Tau that occurs from repetitive head trauma. CTE slowly spreads throughout the brain, killing brain cells. The disease has multiple effects starting with memory problems and eventually leading to progressive dementia. It is also believed to cause aggression, depression, and paranoia.
The National Football League’s “proactive” stance on players safety has become increasingly important due to pressure from the media, coaches, and players. “I would say most people get concussions because they lead with their head when they tackle someone, if you teach the players how to tackle properly and get rid of kickoffs and kick returns i would think concussions would be less frequent,” said Ahmed Mohammed a defensive end and receiver on Lakewood High Schools football team. NFL players are also commenting on the subject “I would be lying if I said I didn’t get nervous about that stat. But this game, I just love it so much.” stated Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas David (Jeff Darlington, ESPN).
The opinions on this topic vary but ultimately it doesn’t affect anyone besides the players. I believe that the NFL should take responsibility for players safety but the majority of the responsibility should be laid in the hands of those being paid to perform. It is their choice to play football, a contact sport, for a living.