Each year, across Long Island, thousands of high school students participate in football. However, in the wake of several recent fatalities, these students are hesitant to storm the field.… Read the rest
On January 26, 2011, Democratic lawmakers reintroduced legislation, Protecting Student Athletes from Concussions Act, that would set minimum safety standards for concussion management in public schools across the country.
The legislation would, for the first time, ask school districts to implement a concussion safety and management plan. It would require schools to post information about concussions on school grounds and on school websites. It would also support when in doubt, sit it out policies for students suspected of sustaining a concussion during a school-sponsored athletic activity.
The National Football League (NFL) has endorsed the legislation and is working on similar … Read the rest
Football helmet safety standards are currently set by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE), a nonprofit corporation. The testing method used today is essentially the same as was established in the 1970s. The original goal was to prevent sudden death, skull fractures and brain bleeding in football, a goal that has been achieved. But the hot topic today in football is concussions, an injury todays football helmets cannot eliminate. The NFL acknowledged that the lack of a perfect helmet contributed to its decision to use big fines and the threat of suspensions to cut down on … Read the rest
The sports pages continue to be filled with articles about athletes who suffer concussions and other head injuries. A hot topic this week is the National Hockey Leagues consideration of imposing a rule effective this season – as opposed to next season) – to prohibit shots to players heads from behind or blindside (considering that such contact bears no relation to the skills of playing the game on an individual or team wide basis it seems almost incomprehensible that such hits are presently legal so long as there is no finding of intent to injure).
Now, in what has been … Read the rest
The annual ritual of the NFL draft was held a few weeks ago and teams are now holding their rookie mini-camps to get a better look at the players they selected. Whether a player’s college career was affected by injury was a often a major factor in the evaluation of the player. But not all injuries are created equally, or, it should be said, affect positions equally, according to a study co-written by medical personnel from two N.F.L. teams published in the April 2009 issue of The American Journal of Sports Medicine. The study tested the effect of specific diagnoses … Read the rest
Last week saw the National Football League make eleven (11) rule changes including issues involving replays, kickoffs, onside kicks, and hits to the quarterback. Viewed as a whole, the rule changes reveal a concerted effort to reduce injuries to players. Some critics contend, however, that the rule changes will water-down the physical aspects of the game, likening future NFL play to flag football. But to the owners, the players are their most valuable assets, and protecting them, and avoiding the sight of players being taken off the field strapped to stretchers is understandably paramount.
The new rules are also consistent … Read the rest
Super Bowl hoopla did not prevent a meeting this week in Tampa with the attendees urging the NFL to join them in researching the connection between football and progressive brain damage and declaring that a concussion crisis exists in football. Among those at the hotel meeting were former Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson, eight-year NFL special teams standout Isaiah Kacyvenski and 73-year-old Bernie Parrish, who played eight seasons for the Cleveland Browns and now spends much of his time battling the NFL Players Association, which he says refuses to adequately represent retired players. Joining them were several doctors from the Boston … Read the rest
Sixteen athletes, including six former NFL players, have agreed to donate their brains to a program that will study the long-term effects of concussions. Of particular interest is a condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (C.T.E.), which has been likened to pugilistica dementia seen in boxers. Common symptoms of the condition, a form of traumatic brain injury (TBI) include dementia, Parkinson’s, irritability and short-term memory problems. The condition can be confirmed only by postmortem tissue analysis; X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging tests cannot yet detect it.
Five out of six former N.F.L. player’s brains that have been examined in this … Read the rest
It is indisputable that cerebral concussions are commonly sustained by football players, professional or amateur. As time has gone by, concussions have gone from being considered relatively minor injuries to becoming a cause of deep concern for long-term cognitive problems that often result therefrom.
An interesting article in The New York Times last week by Alan Schwartz about the recent concussion sustained by Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the expertise of concussion management at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center pointed out some apparently significant differences between how concussions are dealt with in the National Football League as compared … Read the rest
The F.B.I. is investigating how it was that more than 200,000 amateur football players in the United States wore used helmets this fall that were returned to the field without proper testing.
The investigation concerns the purported failure of Circle System Inc., of Easton, Pa., in an apparent effort to save on labor and insurance costs, to perform a formal drop-testing procedure in which helmets are subjected to strong forces in different locations on about 2 percent of the helmets they handle as part of a safety protocol mandated by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (Nocsae).… Read the rest