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Concussions on the Football field


Too much head trauma at a young age?
Today, many football players suffer from a common injury. This injury is one with
serious side effects and can end an athletes career. Concussions are a threat across
the world of sports. Football has a level of play that causes concussions. By
understanding more about this injury, we can help prevent this medical condition.
Concussions are a major threat on the football field, medical experts and the NFL are
doing the best they can do to help prevent them from happening and get a better
understanding of the symptoms and side - effects from this injury.
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that alters the way your brain functions.
Concussions are caused by a bump or a blow to the head. It can also occur when the
head and upper body are violently shaken. You cannot see a concussion, only the
symptoms that it causes. The game of football is a fast-paced sport that causes severe
collisions which can lead to head injuries. Football is a sport of speed and strength, so it
is likely for injuries to occur. According to the Mayo Clinic, all forms of concussions
impair your brain in some fashion. These injuries take time to heal, and each patient is
different.
There are common physical, mental, and emotional symptoms following a
concussion, which are confusion or feeling dazed, clumsiness, slurred speech, nausea
or vomiting, headache, dizziness, blurred vision, sensitivity to light and noise,
sluggishness, ringing in the ears, behavior changes, concentration difficulties, memory

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loss ( Concussion Traumatic Brain Injury 1). The effects are usually temporary but need
time to heal properly. Some symptoms will last only a few seconds while others linger or
may not appear for a day or week after the injury.
Mental rest is key immediately following a concussion. Athletes need physical
and cognitive rest for the best and quickest recovery. Reading, watching TV, video
games, texting stimulates the brain and can lead to prolonged symptoms, so it is best to
completely rest your mind and body for recovery.
Concussions are graded as mild (grade 1), moderate (grade 2), or severe (grade
3), depending on such factors as loss of consciousness, amnesia, and loss of
equilibrium. With a mild concussion, symptoms only last about fifteen minutes and no
loss of consciousness. A moderate concussion will last more than fifteen minutes and
no loss of consciousness. Then, a severe concussion, consciousness is lost, sometimes
for a few seconds. Seek medical attention if you have a concussion. A doctor will test
you and check for symptoms (2).
The brain is made of soft tissue. It is cushioned by spinal fluid in a shell of the
skull. When the brain is jolted, it causes a concussion. Then, the brain gets confused
and leads to the different symptoms of confusion, slurred speech, dizziness, and
memory loss (5). If you have a concussion, take a break. Stop playing and sit out. The
doctor will test coordination and reflexes. Do not return to normal activities until all
symptoms are gone. A doctor will give clearance to return to play. Participation in a
high-contact, high-risk sport such as football can increase the likelihood of a

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concussion. To help safeguard against a traumatic head injury, always wear protective
gear, helmet, padding, and mouthpiece (7). Always wear the right protective equipment
that fits properly and is well maintained.
Sports leagues are attempting to develop more effective strategies for
preventing, detecting, and treating concussions. Symptoms associated with concussion
differ between individuals (Issitt 2). Most concussions may be mild or moderate. But a
doctor will perform a CT scan or a MRI to detect lesions in the brain, when a severe
injury is suspected (3).
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is one of the most well - known
complications of repeated concussion. CTE has been tentatively linked to repeated
head trauma and known to occur in athletes involved in football. Symptoms associated
with CTE include memory loss, confusion, depression and dementia (4).Research
shows that concussions occur more in sports. Increased public knowledge about
concussions and CTE has brought more attention to treatment and prevention in the
sports world (7).
The increasing understanding of their long - term effects and severity have
ignited an intense debate regarding how professional sports organizations should
handle these injuries. A standard practice is developing once a concussion is identified.
A concussion should be evaluated by physician or medical team. Athletes need to rest
and to avoid contact sports and any other strenuous cognitive or physical activity until
symptoms are gone and the athlete has completed a gradual return - to - play

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progression of increased activity, which often takes seven to ten days but may take
several weeks or even months (Flynn 2).
Medical evidence suggests that the acknowledgement of concussions appears to
be on the rise in all areas of professional sports. In 2009, the NFL did admit the reality of
the dangerous long - term effects of concussion. The NFL became the first professional
sports league to publicly do so. Medical evidence suggests that multiple concussions
may result in lasting brain damage. Recommendations on proper concussion evaluation
in pro sport settings, on field or sideline evaluation of acute concussions, concussions
grading and management, graduated return - to - play protocol, concussion
rehabilitation, and ongoing monitoring symptoms are all issues associated with the
research on concussions (5).
The gradual return - to - play plan can be started when an athlete is completely
symptom-free. All athletes must complete the protocol that starts with gradual,
progressive steps getting back to the full participation. This begins with a light aerobic
exercise to increase your heart rate such as, the stationary cycle and light weightlifting.
Then, the phase moves to jogging and push-ups, and a moderate intensity of
weightlifting. Next, progress moves to running at fast pace, agility drills, and a regular
weightlifting routine. Finally, full practice with controlled contact and then full
participation with competition. An athlete is only progressed to the next stage if they do
not experience any symptoms at the present level. They must stop and rest if any

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symptoms appear. After supervised completion of each stage is accomplished, the


return to play is granted.
Professional sports association should take all possible steps to protect athletes
from concussions. They should require protective equipment, develop medical policies,
and charge penalties to athletes who have reckless behavior. Medical professionals
have learned that sport concussions are a severe injury in hours, days and sometimes
years after suffering the injury. Although, a professional football player is perceived to
be tougher than most people, the NFL has implemented new policies geared toward
protecting players who have suffered concussions. (Walter 2).
Greater protection will help both the athlete and their sport. The best way to win
games, sell tickets, make money is to take all steps to keep the best players healthy and
on the field. Professional sports have taken steps in the right direction to protect players.
NFL is mandating a standard procedure to evaluate players for concussion (4).
Increased awareness of the causes, symptoms, and long - term effects of sports
- related concussions will reduce the number and severity of head injuries. The
discovery of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) has motivated coaches and
players to alter the way football is played before any more players are subjected to the
long-term effects of the repeated head injuries ( Miller and Concussions 1).
CTE is from multiple concussions. The symptoms are memory loss, aggression,
depression, confusion, and dementia. With greater understanding of the effects of
concussions, athletes are better equipped to prevent head injuries (3).

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Athletes need to take responsibility for their future and quality of life and change
the way they play. Medical professionals feel that education for athletes about
symptoms and long - term effects will motivate them to learn safer techniques. NFL has
begun policies against helmet - to helmet hits. Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin
says Dont hit the head. Dont use the head (4). Coach Tomlin created this phase as a
way to cut back on the number of concussions incurred by his players. The Steelers
also launched a program to help educate young football players on safer tackling
techniques. Coach Tomlin and his team are hoping to teach players and coaches how
to maintain a good, desired level of play while reducing the number of on-field
concussions. These programs are important steps toward preventing and reducing head
injures. Improvements to equipment and stricter penalties for headshots are also an
important means of combating concussions on the football field.
Concussions can cause long - term effects. Four thousand NFL players have
filed lawsuits saying the league did not protect them. Doctors report that even when
symptoms have gone, the brain is still not 100%. Most concussions are mild and can be
treated. But, if untreated, it can be deadly. Findings have a large impact on the
regulation of professional sports (Nordqvist 1).
A study shows older athletes who had concussions have symptoms like
Parkinsons disease and Alzheimers. Research shows concussions cannot be taken
lightly. Athletes who return to their sport too soon are at high risk for brain damage. So
rules are changing to protect athletes (2).

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The best treatment for a concussion is rest. This allows your brain to recover.
Your doctor will recommend that you physically are mentally rest to recover. This means
to limit activities that require thinking and mental concentration, such as playing video
games, watching TV, schoolwork, reading, texting or using the computer. Your doctor
may recommend a shortened school day, take breaks and reduce workloads or work
assignments (Mayo Clinic 1).
As your symptoms improve, you may gradually add more activities that involve
thinking. When treating a headache, try taking Tylenol, avoid other pain relievers such
as Ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin IB, and aspirin they increase the risk of bleeding. Resuming
sports too soon increases risk of a second concussion and of lasting, potentially fatal
brain injury (1).
Evidence is emerging that some people who have had multiple concussions over
the course of their lives are at greater risk developing lasting, and even progressive,
impairment that limits their ability to function. No one should return to play when
symptoms of a concussion are present. Never return to play on the same day as the
injury (1).
Concussions are a serious issue in football and many sports. They affect football
in many ways. Today, medical professionals and the NFL are learning how to prepare
and prevent this injury. In the game of football, one must look at the symptoms, injuries,
and side-effects to gain more knowledge in prevention and recovery. With a better
understanding of concussions and medical advancement, we are helping athletes stay

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healthy and stay on the field. Many coaches and players are proactively working to raise
awareness of the risk of concussions on the football field.