As an average Midwestern American kid, I grew up around football my whole life. The Super Bowl this past weekend proves its significance in our culture.That being said, I still don't recognize the names Andre Waters, Dave Duersons, or George Visger. The reason is simple, none of them was able to play to their full potential because concussions sidelined them early in their careers and even led to suicide in an extreme cases. With recent advancements in science, doctors are now realizing the lasting, harmful impacts that concussions can leave on their victims.
According to a CNN article published in 2011 www.cnn.com/2011/10/05/opinion/udall-football-concussions/index.html over a million sports related concussions will occur this year alone, and many of them will go undiagnosed. The epidemic continues to leave players like George Visgers in extreme medical conditions. Another article published by CNN articles.cnn.com/2010-02-05/health/concussions.visger.football_1_kevin-guskiewicz-study-of-retired-athletes-brain-damage?_s=PM:HEALTH explains how a hit almost killed Visgers and has forever changed his life. He has no memory and has to write down everything in a notebook to serve as his makeshift memory. Scientists have consistently pointed to the harmful after effects NFL players see after retiring from their many years of violent hits, stating that concussions can even lead to suicide in the case of Andre Waters.
The ultimate question however remains, are these freak examples or is this a true epidemic? Most answers point to the latter as being the truth. Just today, 4 more former NFL players sued the National Football League for failing to address head injuries properly, and they are not the first. According to ESPN, an extensive article published with great research to back it up espn.go.com/espn/page2/story/_/id/7084785/is-year-round-football-putting-boys-girls-line-college comes to the basic conclusion that males are simply being passed up in school by females. Psychology class has taught us that this can't simply be attributed to one cause, Aka football, but it does play a role. A neurosurgery journal article journals.lww.com/neurosurgery/Fulltext/2011/06000/Early_Indicators_of_Enduring_Symptoms_in_High.18.aspx links more competitors in football with declining success of males in secondary schools including high school and college.
Being an avid football fan myself, it was hard to accept all the facts against one of my favorite sports, but the evidence is there. Football related concussions are the cause of many debilitating lifelong consequences to athletes. Ultimately, something must be done. So ask yourself, should our country continue to play this brutal sport at the cost of the minds of our future young men and women?