Should concussions be taken more seriously?

In the midst of the 20th century, a new, revolutionary sport called football is opening up as an exciting and crowd-pleasing game. Ever since football’s creation, players have been suffering from severe head injuries called concussions, which are traumatic brain injuries that are caused by a blow to the head or body, a fall, or another injury that shakes the brain inside the skull.

Back during the birth of the NFL, it was optional to wear helmets when competing and considered “manly” not to wear one. Wearing any type of headgear was laughed at and criticized by teammates. Fortunately, times have changed for the better. Since the NFL and other major contact sport league formations, concussion prevention has taken a whole new step in the care of professional athletes.

Recently, the death of pro-bowl linebacker Junior Seau has brought up questions if years of crushing blows to the head and countless concussions had something to do with Seau’s shocking death.

In May of last year, Seau shot himself in the chest at his home Junior Seauin Oceanside, California, leaving behind four of his children and many unanswered questions. An investigation was needed to determine what exactly lead Seau to commit suicide.

It was later announced in a press conference held by doctors who examined him that Seau committed suicide because of a brain injury that he was unaware of. More and more of these cases are coming out by retired or veteran athletes who either died or were diagnosed with a life-altering brain disorder.

In a study by the Center for Disease Control of almost 3,500 National Football league veterans, who had played at least five seasons between 1959 and 1988 an active player on their team, were at a four-fold greater risk of dying from Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and depression, than the rest of the population.

This study increased the acknowledgement that concussion prevention in modern sports is crucial to the health of athletes whether they’re on the field or they’re retired from the game. There are new measures being put in for concussion prevention, for instance the mandatory “imPACT” or Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing all high school athletes have to take which tests your cognitive ability. This is a major step up from the “you’ll be fine” or “walk it off” days of sports.