NFL confirms continuous concussion can lead to disease


I remember the “boring plays” from my freshman football season. An incomplete pass or a three-yard run stopped short. But for my teammate it was a different story. From the sideline, all I saw was my friend lying motionless on the turf as the trainer rushed toward him. He got up, but there was clearly something wrong. After being diagnosed with a concussion, he was done for the day. He wouldn’t accept it. He fought and he fought, repeatedly saying, “I’m fine, I’m fine, put me back in.”

But something so simple as a concussion can be deadly.

Since its conception, football has been associated with concussions and similar head injuries. In recent years, private researchers have speculated that continuous head trauma has been the cause of some players developing chronic traumatic encephalopathy, when certain proteins eats away at the brain. CTE has larger effects on particular parts of the brain than others.

After years of pressure from various news networks and publications and researchers across the country, the National Football League has confirmed the connection between CTE and constant head impacts. On March 15, NFL senior vice president for Health and Safety Jeff Miller stated that constant helmet-to-helmet hits may, in the future, cause players to develop CTE.

It’s crazy to think that after all these years that this disease has been around, the NFL only recently has come out with a statement. But the responsibility doesn’t only fall just on the NFL. Players need to realize that their lives are much more important than missing a game or two. This relates to high school athletes especially. Students need to know that whenever they feel any symptoms of a head injury, staying out of the game is the surest way to prevent something worse down the line.

Now some former NFL players have committed to donating their brains so researchers can begin to find a cure for the disease. Abby Wambach, Team USA forward, has said she will also be donating her brain due to the forgotten fact that soccer players suffer concussions as well.

Kids that are playing football and soccer, practicing martial arts and playing other contact sports need to be aware of these possible consequences. Head injuries can be silent killers. Blowing off a “simple” headache after a major impact can be a big mistake. Taking a break, getting checked out and waiting to be cleared to play again is key to maintaining your mental well-being for the future.