How to Help Decrease the Risk of Concussions in Football (Cont. from Previous Post)


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In my previous blog post I talked about the dangers of concussions in football and how they could have an extremely negative impact on the current and future of the players' lives.  In this blog post I will explain what is currently being done to try and minimize the chances and risk of concussions and if they are working or not.

These new rules include changes in the kickoff which was leading to the highest percentage of concussions as players are just running full sprint down the field to hit the other player at any costs.  The rules have been made to increase the chances of the other team "taking a knee" resulting in a touchback.  These rules have 
apparently been successful in their first year of use according to this article from the Washington Post.
xenith-300x287.jpg
Other measures that are being taken to help reduce concussions in the game of football are technologically-based.  During my sophomore year of high school, we were chosen as "test-dummies" for the up-and-coming helmet brand Xenith.  
These helmets were supposed to be effective and work very similar to the mattress brand Memory Foam, by using shock absorbers that adjust to the head shapes to keep your head secure.

The results have been very positive, even though my first year wearing this helmet I did receive a concussion, the overall statistics have been positive.

As technology continues to advance more information on how to help prevent concussions will be discovered which will help the football player at every level.  

New implements are being put into place at the high school level with the use of imPact concussion testing.  This allows each student-athlete to complete a baseline test of generic questions to compare to the results of a test after a suspected head injury.  I was able to use these tests first-hand after my concussions and you can see your accuracy improve which clearly shows signs of healing to the brain.

In today's technologically enhanced world players have the advantage of feeling safer while playing.  That does not mean that the risk of serious injury is not there, safety in sports is no where close to being perfected, but it is being worked on every single day.  It would not be considered a contact-sport if it was 100% safe.  I am going to end this blog post the with the same thought as the last one as I have now given more information on the topic.  With all of these new rules and technologies in place, are sports worth the risk of a serious life-altering injury?

3 Comments

Matthew,
Having also been an athlete in high school with my main sport being basketball, I also know first hand the impact that concussions can have on the health of an athlete. Your post made me curious about a few questions. Is it possible that some people are more prone to concussions than others? And do some show more symptoms than others from a hit of relatively equal force? I was thinking that maybe evolutionarily, some people may have harder heads than others and are less likely to get a head injury, but with today's medical technology the "thick skull" trait may not matter all too much anymore. The reason I think it would be interesting to measure this somehow is because there have been times when certain people I've played a sport with will get a concussion from a seemingly light blow to the head while others will be perfectly fine and pass their imPact test with flying colors after sustaining a hit that appears very violent. I have always been curious about this and am glad that your post brought this up.

Lauren, I appreciate the comment and that you read my post! What I have learned is that, once someone receives their first concussion, they become very prone to more concussions. For me, my first concussion was a huge hit that I blacked out from. The second one was a normal tackle that I assume just hit me the wrong way, which caused the second one. I hope that answers your question to some extent.

I've always, always hated the comparison between war and football. I understand the baseline comparison, but in no way, shape, or form are they similar. However, the one thing that I agree with in terms of the concussion argument, is that when an athlete decides to strap pads on and buckle his helmet, there are risks that he acknowledges and willingly accepts. Similarly, when a soldier goes to war, he knows there is a risk. The NFL and really any level should do all they can to prevent concussions, better equipment, less "kill-shots" on kickoff, but football will always have an underlying risk that will never change. Those who play should understand the seriousness of the risk, and how real it is. But as long as the beautiful game that is called football stays around, people of all ages, men and women will yearn to be in front of their television on Sunday afternoons.

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