During the fall months, in towns and cities across the country, Friday nights are synonymous with high school football. In recent years, however, there’s been growing concern about athletes who play football as well as other contact sports, as medical professionals warn of the dangers associated with concussions.
According to the Mayo Clinic, even one concussion can have serious side effects including headaches, nausea, dizziness, confusion and memory loss. In cases where an individual suffers more than one concussion, he or she is at an increased risk of developing “persistent post-concussion signs or symptoms,” which may include depression, cognitive impairments and sleep disturbances.
A recent survey revealed that one in three high school athletes reported suffering “two or more concussions in a season.” This sobering figure is even more troubling in light of the recent admission by a National Football League spokesperson who stated that there is definitely a link between playing football and the development of the chronic degenerative brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
The NFL’s comments at a congressional panel were made at a time when the organization is attempting to settle thousands of concussion lawsuits that have been filed by former NFL players and their family members. In an attempt to settle the cases, the NFL has proposed a $1 billion plan. However, plaintiffs in the case have appealed the settlement due to concerns that it serves to exclude players who will develop CTE in the future.
While research has already confirmed the likelihood of a link between repeated concussions like those suffered by football players and degenerative brain diseases including dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s; this is the first time that the NFL has publically acknowledged the CTE link.
Source: Crain’s New York Business, “Top NFL official says there is ‘certainly’ a link between football and brain disease CTE,” AP, March 15, 2016
Moms Team, “Multiple Concussions: Important Factor In Management,” Lindsey Barton Straus, JD, Oct. 29, 2013