Essays Football Concussions

Essays Football Concussions-36
This uncertainty haunts the Mater Dei coaching staff, who struggle on a daily basis to effectively manage the risk of concussions among their players.The new research on concussions has allowed them to prevent many of the worst injuries, but it has also made them increasingly aware of the ubiquity of injury.

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The worst possible outcome is a disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.

For decades, this disorder was only associated with former boxers — its original name was “dementia pugilistica,” or “punch drunk” disease. At the moment, CTE can only be diagnosed postmortem, after the cortex is dissected.

Another disturbing clue comes from the initial results of an autopsy analysis led by Ann Mc Kee at Boston University.

Over the last five years, she has autopsied the brains of fifteen former players who suffered from various mental conditions, including memory loss and depression. Although Mc Kee has only studied a single teenage brain, she found that brain damage was already detectable, with the multiple-concussed 18-year-old football player showing irreversible signs of CTE in parts of the frontal cortex.

Although these teenagers are suffering concussions at higher rates and with worse consequences — the head trauma of football targets the most vulnerable areas of the developing brain — the overwhelming majority of these kids will never play the sport competitively again.

They are getting paid nothing and yet they are paying the highest cost." Although CTE is often clinically indistinguishable from Alzheimer’s — patients suffer from memory loss, mood disorders, and depression — this degenerative illness has a very different cause. It is what happens when the brain is smashed into the skull again and again. However, there is disturbing evidence that CTE is occurring among players at rates many times higher than normal.For instance, a 2009 study commissioned by the NFL found that former players between the ages of 30 and 49 were being diagnosed with severe memory-related diseases at approximately nineteen times the rate of the general population.The scientists describe these symptoms as “neural precursors,” warning signs that something in the head has gone seriously wrong.This research builds on previous work documenting the hazards of football for the teenage brain. There is no bodily metaphor for what happens when the Jell-O of cortex accelerates into the skull.f the sport of football ever dies, it will die from the outside in.It won’t be undone by a labor lockout or a broken business model — football owners know how to make money.The consequences appear to be particularly severe for the adolescent brain.According to a study published last year in Neurosurgery, high school football players who suffered two or more concussions reported mental problems at much higher rates, including headaches, dizziness, and sleeping issues.The stadiums will still be full on Sunday, the professionals will still play, the profits will continue. The sickness will be rooted in football’s tragic flaw, which is that it inflicts concussions on its players with devastating frequency.Although estimates vary, several studies suggest that up to 15 percent of football players suffer a mild traumatic brain injury during the season.


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