16 Jul Concussion Protocol in the NFL

A new video about concussions in the NFL has come out recently.  It’s called “Concussion Protocol,” by Josh Begley and Field of Vision.  According to the NFL’s own statistics, athletes suffered 281 concussions in 2017.  “Concussion Protocol” is a visual record of every one of those concussions. It’s disturbing to watch but it has the desired effect…it shows the impact a concussion can have on some of the world’s toughest athletes.

We already know that one concussion can have serious implications for a person.  What we are now learning is that the accumulation of multiple concussions may cause a degenerative brain disease called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (“CTE”).  It is a progressive disease of the brain found in people with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including symptomatic concussions and sub-concussive hits to the head that do not cause symptoms. The brain degeneration is associated with symptoms which include memory loss, confusion, aggression, depression, dementia and more.

Dr. Ann McKee, a Boston University neuropathologist, examined the brains of 202 deceased football players’ brains, including those from the NFL, the CFL, semi-professional players, college players and high school players.  Her findings were published in The Journal of the American Medical Association in 2017.  Of the 202 brains studied, 87 percent were found to have C.T.E. The study found that the high school players had mild cases, while college and professional players showed more severe effects. But even those with mild cases exhibited cognitive, mood and behavioral symptoms.

There is no doubt that people are now talking about how often NFL players suffer concussions and how serious the consequences can be. One can only hope that these discussions lead to an improvement in how players’ concussive injuries and symptoms are dealt with.