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The Nature of the Game: The Race to Reduce Head Injuries in Football


Football has attracted a lot of attention in recent years for the serious nature of the injuries that have occurred to players. The situation is so serious that many parents no longer want their children playing football at school.

Here is a deeper look at the problem, along with some of the solutions being suggested.

Football’s Injury Problem

The NY Times recently reported on the death of Kevin Turner, a former NFL player who died aged just 46. He was well known for being one of the main plaintiffs in bringing a lawsuit against the the NFL that involved 5,000 former players. He died from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS, after suffering from it for six years.

His is just one of the cases that has sent shockwaves through the sport in recent years.

Indeed, The Atlantic recently reported on the start of the 2015 season, stating how there had been 14 concussions just weeks into the season. It also highlighted new research that has been carried out into deceased former players that found high levels of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

It is becoming increasingly clear that football injuries can be very serious. If you are injured playing football, especially when it comes to injuries that result in brain trauma, you may be able to take legal action.

An article in Forbes also looked into this topic. It reported on the ’60 Minutes’ story that looked at the high levels of CTE among former players. This leads to memory loss and depression, sometimes many years later, and it is often caused by cumulative impacts to the head over time, which can start very early, often in high school.

NFL football

What’s Being Done About It?

The NFL has claimed that concussions are going down. In its Health and Safety Report for 2015, claimed a 35 percent reduction in regular season games since 2012. In 2013, it banned players from tackling using the crown of the head, and this seems to have helped.

Changes to the way that the game is played are clearly one way to combat injuries. To reduce head impacts, doctors are now observing players during games, and they have the power to stop games and prevent players from going back on if they think there is too much risk.

Technology Is Also Playing a Role

New helmet technologies are also being tried out to reduce injuries. These involve using sensors in the helmets, which sense the severity of the impacts, as well as their frequency.

Will Football Ever Be Safe?

Football is a dangerous sport, and it always has been. Injuries will always occur in the game, and this is not likely to change. What can be done is to reduce the chances of injuries, and reduce their severity. Steps are being taken to make sure this happens, but it is clear that more needs to be done.

If you play football, or you know someone who does, make sure they take their health and safety very seriously. This is especially important if you have a child who plays the sport, so always get them checked out after the first signs of a head injury, and make sure they wear the right protective equipment every time they play.

Owen Giles can’t help but be safety conscious, he worked as a Health & Safety Coordinator for many years before retirement. His health and safety focused articles appear on numerous blogs online.


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