Within the past couple of years more head protection garments have been introduced. For example, in boxing, people who wear head gear are less likely to receive mental disabilities. "On top of that, the effects of getting hit accumulate fastest in the fighters who do without headgear." This means if boxers don’t wear headgear they are more likely to get brain damage. There are many more head protectors for sports like soccer and boxing, and for football, companies are making more padded and protective helmets. This is helping prevent concussions, but in a way, it is setting up a situation where they are more likely to occur. For example, in football, with more padded helmets people are more likely to tackle head first because it won’t hurt them. But on the other side, these people are hitting hard to the head creating more concussions for the receiver of the hits. This is similar to boxing. It used to be in boxing there were no gloves, so you did not want to punch to the head because you would hurt your fingers and possibly break them. “Helmets do protect against other injuries, like skull fractures, but there's no equipment that can guarantee lowering the risk of concussion”
Sports leagues have tried to decrease the amount of blows to the head. For example, James Harrison a linebacker in the NFL was fined $125,000 for illegal helmet to helmet contact last season. Even though the NFL is trying to limit these hits, they are still being sued by four former players because these players claim the NFL was “ignoring the fact that there could be long term brain damage as a result of hits to the head”. That was 3 years ago, and since then NFL referees have been penalty “flag happy” on dangerous tackles. There has also been a lot of research done on concussions to raise awareness to the general public. There is a research center in Las Vegas who gives boxers MRIs before and after fights trying to see if there is any damage and why some athletes can receive numerous blows to the head and not receive long term damage. So far athletes have been willing to participate in this program, and over 148 boxers have participated in this research. From this research we are learning the effects of fights on the athletes body.
From a different perspective the NFL is being too harsh in changes and the players just need to “man up”. Many people believe that the National Football league is taking the football out of football and that they should let the teams just play with no helmet to helmet contact rule. The players know what they are signing up for when they enter the league and that they are making so much money that it does not matter. This is a valid argument and it should be at least considered by the league. “But is football without kick-offs still football? No more dramatic returns for touchdowns. No more advantage or disadvantage to be won or lost by improving field position. No more exciting, surprising, game-changing onside kicks.” This quote is criticizing the league for taking kickoffs out of the pro bowl. The fans just want excitement and actions and with this change that also may be changed in the regular season will take out the excitement and the fans will not be happy at all. There is a fine line between safety of players and just plain ridiculous rules.
I believe that the changes we’ve made as the result of finding out about concussions are not too big. All of the sports leagues will eventually get fined (if they haven’t already) for knowing about the damage that these concussions in sports can cause. My friend received a concussion from soccer, he now wears protective headgear. Even though the headgear doesn’t completely stop the concussions I think he is very smart to wear the protection. Society has come a long way after learning about the long term damage of concussions and they have also been very smart to make the changes they have made.
Update: November 14, 2013
First, I would like to thank everybody who has read and commented on my blog. You guys gave me new ways of thinking and I have learned more because of you! I learned that many people have either had the experience of getting a concussion or someone close to them has suffered this terrible injury. I have learned how hard it is to recover from a concussion and how hard the struggle is to get back to one hundred percent. I also learned that getting a concussion is way more common that I originally thought, other than what I had heard on T.V. I had only known one person with a concussion. Now, after asking many people, I have learned that there are a lot of people in the community that have suffered a concussion and learning about their stories and roads to recovery was very interesting. It seems as though everybody agrees with my arguments and if anything, the opposing side is quite small. Some people did help clarify some things for me. For example, I had not heard of the help that many people offer and how the concussions affect the sleep patterns (one person once suffering a concussion slept 16 hours a day!). I did have to do some further research on how high school systems deal with kids who suffer concussions and found out that the colleges handle them a lot better. Overall, I really enjoyed this project and I want to thank you all for making it all so memorable!