The Role Of Concussions In The NFL

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Concussions themselves are a controversial topic simply because of their destructive forces on the lives of everyone, ranging from people who tripped and fell a little too hard, to people who make a career of hitting other people as hard as they possibly can. There are many people opposed to the idea of football’s inherent violence, yet advocates of the sport claim that removing the factor of colliding would make a completely different sport that cannot even be called football, which itself has become so ingrained in American society that it practically owns a day of the week from Week One of preseason to the closing seconds of the Superbowl. The fact remains though that if football were to suddenly cease existing, many people would be jobless,…show more content…
In 1994, then-commissioner Paul Tagliabue formed the “Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee”, to which he appointed the New York Jets team doctor Elliot Pellman as chair, even though Pellman had a distinctive lack of knowledge and experience in neurology, being instead a rheumatologist, specializing in joint pain such as in the knees. They originally claimed that concussions were an occupational risk, changing their stance to instead that there was no link at all after Hall-of-Famer Troy Aikman, Quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, took a knee to the head, resulting in a complete lapse in memory of all the events of the game prior. Commissioner Tagliabue can actually even be quoted as dismissing concussions, saying “On concussions, I think is one of these pack journalism issues, frankly… There is no increase in concussions; the number is relatively small… The problem is a journalist issue.” Later, as Dr. Bennet Omalu was trying to bring light to the issues in the NFL following him giving an autopsy to former Pittsburgh Steeler Mike Webster, who had died homeless and penniless due to dementia caused by repeated hits to the head, the NFL claimed that Dr. Omalu’s investigation were fraudulent and demanded that he retract his findings, a request usually reserved for claims believed criminal (Ezell). The ignorance of the NFL was strong then, but as light was brought to the issue it was…show more content…
Now, one might argue that because of the fact that the NFL ignored the fact that concussions were an issue that they have no right to continue operating. However, that was the mistake of Tagliabue, a former commissioner. Robert Goodell, the current commissioner, has actually put forward a conscious effort to, among other things, protect the livelihood of the players. Opponents to the NFL may also argue that it took an external force to bring light to the situation; however it is very likely that eventually an internal case would have been undertaken, and the same results would have been found, equally unbiased. Finally, critics on the handling of the issue may claim that concussions are still very much a threat in the NFL. This is true, however the number of incidents is on track this year to be even lower than last years. Concussions cannot be abolished entirely, they are present in every athletic activity, from Hockey to Gymnastics. Because of the effort, and the fact that it is showing results, the NFL should be credited for lowering the amount of concussions, an injury which is basically an occupational hazard of all athletes (excluding perhaps

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