A previous blog post discussed the risk of degenerative brain disease resulting from football injuries. In this post, it was pointed out how concussions and even repeated minor hits to the head could spell out future health problems related to head trauma for those who played football. These complications may include memory problems, depression, aggressive behavior, early-onset dementia and death. Perhaps most frighteningly, it is not just professional NFL players who face the disturbingly common risk of degenerative brain disease. Those who played high school and college football in New York and elsewhere may receive enough injuries to result in long-term complications.
Recently, a news conference was held by National Football League officials to address this growing concern. The NFL asserts that all possible measures are being taken to ensure the safety of its players, including developing better helmets and safety equipment. However, helmets are not a guarantee that players will avoid head injuries. Football players often clash with each other or are thrown to the ground, resulting in repeated bumps to the head and minor concussions, regardless of helmet use.
Brain trauma is by no means the only risk football players face. Joint and ligament damage, especially in the knees and shoulders, are common injuries a player may suffer during practice or a game. A serious joint injury can end a football player’s career and result in long-term disability and pain.
Data continues to point to the high risks of playing America’s favorite sport. It remains to be seen whether regulations will be changed to protect football players, if equipment cannot be improved to the point that long-term complications are reduced or prevented.
Source: The New York Times, "Mounds of Injury Data Can’t Bury Brutality of the N.F.L.," Michael Powell, Jan. 26, 2017