NFL must acknowledge hidden head injuries

By: Jason Rathjen

The NFL was recently exposed on its lies and coverups by an investigative report published in the New York Times on Friday, March 25. The report shows that the NFL omitted multiple head injuries to starting players like Troy Aikman and Steve Young just to make it seem like head injuries occurred less often than they actually do.

The league’s research on concussions first started to be released in 2003, and there was immediate skepticism. After lots of cross-referencing and digging deep, the New York Times finally exposed the NFL’s lies.

This is going to be a big blow to the league that has captivated the United States since 1920. The NFL was already on thin ice with many of its once loyal fans amidst the domestic violence crisis that spread through the NFL like wildfire. The publishing of this investigation provides a lot of explanation for the league’s actions throughout the highlight case involving former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice.

Concussions in general are very serious injuries that should not be taken lightly. The impacts that a head injury can have can last a lifetime, and possibly even be the cause of death in some cases.

Concussions have been linked to CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy), a degenerative brain disease that has contributed to the death of former NFL stars such as Ken Stabler and Junior Seau. The fact that the NFL seemingly omitted instances of head injuries on purpose to downplay the rate and seriousness of head injuries in football makes it look childish.

Concussions don’t just happen in the NFL. They also can occur right here in our own backyard. “It feels like you are in a room where all the lights are flickering on and off, and you have pain all over your head,” senior football player Adrian Diaz said.

When one sustains a concussion, the brain literally bangs against the inside of the skull and becomes bruised. “It was weird, I didn’t really know what was going on. I felt really confused,” senior football player Spencer Williams said regarding his concussion.

The Times article also connects the NFL to the Big Tobacco industry. They found that they have employed the same lawyers and utilized similar lobbying techniques in their respective fights. The NFL continues to shoot itself in the foot with it’s shady and unclear actions.

As the word progresses and people become more and more aware of the adverse effects of head injuries, the NFL is going to need to figure out how it will regain America’s respect. Publishing misleading research and flip flopping on major decisions will eventually cost the league in every way possible.

The NFL needs to acknowledge the risks that the players face and do something to work toward a safer league. Football can still be football even if safety protocols are put in place. Football cannot be football if there are no players to play the game because either they won’t be willing to put their health at risk, or, if they do accept the risks, they may become physically unable to play after sustaining multiple blows to their heads.

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