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Mitchell Monska English 1102 Concussions in Football For assignment two, I am to select an issue from my figurative world, which

is the Charlotte football team. I will address this issue to all football players and athletes in contact sports. The issue I will discuss is concussions and head injuries in the game of football. This topic has been an on going problem for as long as football has been around and continues to grow as athletes and training technology advances. The national football league and other organizations are working together to come up with an idea or situation that will limit these types of injuries without drastically changing the game. Some policies and regulations have been put into play as well as new equipment such as more advanced helmet padding and mouth guards. One of the most common head injuries in football is concussion. Concussions are very serious and should not be taken lightly. If a concession is gone untreated, a person could develop further neurological problems that could show up later in life. I received my first concussion when I was in the eighth grade playing for my varsity middle school football team. After I made head contact with the ball carrier, I felt dizzy and confused to as where I was at the time. I had no idea what the plays were or what was going on. Players and coaches were trying to talk to me to make sure I was okay but I could not really understand what they were saying at the time, I only knew that they were trying to say something to me. Sometimes it is hard for a person to know whether they have had a concussion or not. A concussion is a state of unconsciousness caused by a hard hit or blow to the head. A concussion can also be brought on by a hard whiplash in which the brain shakes inside the skull cavity. The human brain is a very soft organ and very vital to the rest of the body. The brain is surrounded by spinal fluid that acts like a cushion for the brain, to prevent from banging into

your skull. Concussions are not a one-day event. In order to get cleared to play, you have to be evaluated everyday for seven days to insure that you have not developed further damage from the injury. Evaluations include certain types of hand and feet coordination test. Also, they have set concussion test that work with memorization skills and matching. Every player is required to take this test before the season begins every year to make sure nothing is wrong before going into full contact. If a player has experienced a concussion previously, the coach or trainer should be notified before that player can partake in activities. The major concern here is not just in the big hits in the college and pro football, but a big concern for the kids on little league and high school teams. These kids brains and bodies are not fully developed yet and their decision-making skills are not where they should be. I feel that young football players need to be highly educated in the football world about injuries and hoe to properly hit so that they can avoid injuries like concussions as much as possible. All football players should be taught how to tackle properly and what the consequences are for leading or tackling with your head down. Many players around the country have been seriously injured or paralyzed from hitting or getting hit improperly. One of the most recent cases of concussions in football is Eric LeGrand, number 52, who played linebacker for the university of Rutgers. As a very strong and physical player, LeGrand was coming down on kickoff leading with the crown of his head when he ran into the ball carrier. LeGrand was stunted on the field after the collision and could not move. LeGrand fractured his C3 and C4 vertebras in his neck. These C vertebras, the cervical vertebras, protect the spinal cord. When the breaks occurred in the vertebras, the shards aggravated the spinal cord, which caused his paralysis. This accident happened in October of 2010. Still to this day, Eric LeGrand cannot move from the neck down. To me, this was the major wake up call around the nation for football and the world of sports when dealing with injuries. I play football for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte

and I never really thought about the impact that laying big hits on players could have on the brain until I got to the college level. Kids in middle school and little league need to be aware of the dangers of playing the game of football.

The National football league and National collegiate athletic association, also know as the NFL and the NCAA, have taken matters into their own hands to try and prevent head injuries by establishing rules and policies to the game. The NFL and NCAA have inserted a new rule that will be in place this season. The rule is targeting: a player who targets and makes contact with a defenseless player above the shoulder will be ejected from the game. By defenseless, they mean if a player is looking up to catch the ball or is occupied by another tackler, you cant come flying in making helmet-to-helmet contact. If the targeting foul occurs during the second half of the ball game then the player will sit out the remainder of the half and the first half of the next game. The football committee passed the rule back in February of 2013 and officially approved it for play in March of 2013. This rule not only takes big steps towards player safety but also has made a lot of people turn away from football in disgust. Even though the rule is put in place to prevent head injuries, the players and coaches are frustrated that the term hard nose football cannot come into play anymore. This rule has made some players not be as interested in the game anymore because they believe the fun of blind-siding their opponent is gone. In my opinion, the rule cancels out some players completely. You have many different types of players in the game. Guys that can run faster than others, guys that can catch or throw better, then you have the category of big hitters. Instead of making plays with the ball, they make plays on the body of the ball carrier. With this rule in play, they have to adapt to a more finesse style of play. Head coach Nick Sabin of the University of Alabama ran into the infamous rule two weeks ago against Texas A&M. Ha Ha

Clinton-Dix, a top corner for Sabin and the Alabama defense, was penalized and ejected from the game because of a hit above the shoulders on a Texas A&M wide receiver. Sabin was infuriated and challenged the play to be under review. The play was reviewed and overturned because they saw that the hit was not intentional to the head. Clinton-Dix was allowed to return to play but the fifth teen yard penalty still stood. Coaches around the country are experiencing this with the new rule in place to prevent head injuries.

The big challenge today, besides not changing the game, is deciding how we can make our equipment safer for the players so they can play the way they want and still be safe and concussion free. The NCAA and NFL have been working side by side with scientist and companies for years trying to find a solution to head and other susceptible body injuries in the football world. Lee Hanson is the founder of a firm who is making the guardian cap. The cap is a sleeve like cover for the outside of the helmet and is padded all the way around for premium protection. Hanson says his cap reduces impact on the head by thirty-three percent. An article by USA Today talks about how the sporting company Riddle is making sensor systems for when a player gets hit. They work by detecting when a player gets a big hit to the helmet and the helmet can sent a signal to tell the official or trainer how hard the hit was. I personally think this is a good idea only if they are trying to figure out how hard someone was hit after the player has been diagnosed with a concussion, that way they can measure the magnitude of the hit and concussion. Although the helmet helps measure the magnitude of the hit and can help assess the damage after it is done, this does not help prevent the concussion from happened, which is the majority of the problem. Other technology that has surfaced is UCLA professor Vijay Guptas new two-millimeter polymer for the inside of the helmets. Professor Gupta tested his polymer by using large hammers to apply major shock waves

through it. In order to get the players to wear the new safer lining for the helmet, Gupta made the polymer thin so it would not alter with the style and feel of the helmet. Scientist continues to work on this problem day in and day out. Eric Nauman is another one in the race for safer equipment, a biomedical engineer professor at the university of Purdue and part of the Purdue University neurotrauma group. Nauman has now come up with a new lining for the inside of the football helmets. The lining reduces g-forces to the players brain by Fifty percent. These doctors and scientist are taking major strides toward players safety. Junior Seau was a relatively famous linebacker for the Sad Diego chargers. Seau retired from the National football league in 2010, and in 2012 Junior Seau committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest. Autopsies reveled that Junior Seau suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy that is diagnosed in people who have had a lot of brain injuries or injuries to the head area. Personally, I think in Seaus case, he has been playing football in the national football league for twenty years, thats what makes him one of the best. The average career span for a player in at the professional level of football is three and half years. Lets say Junior Seau started playing football in high school, which would mean he has played twenty-eight years of football. Thats a lot of pounding on the body and the head. If every football player gets hit like him in the head at some point in their career, more players could end up dead like him with major brain damage. Also, the technology for equipment and concussions were nowhere near what they are like today.

The national football league is looking now to eliminate or change the way kickoffs are done. A kickoff in football is where there are twenty-two guys on the field, just like always. Eleven are the kicking team and the other are the kick return team. The ball is placed on a tee at the thirty-five yard line and the receiving team is spread out from the opposite forty-yard line to

the goal line. When the ball is kicked the return team sprints back to their proper spots to form a wall for the kick returner, if they form a good wall the return man can receive the kick and take it back for a touchdown. The problem with this whole situation is the kicking team, ounce the kicker kicks the ball the kicking team takes off full speed ahead to break that wall and get the ball carrier. This is called the flying forty, you have remember these players in the national football league are some of the fastest and most athletic human beings around, they get paid to keep there body in top shape. So when you have two NFL athletes running forty yards apart full speed at one another, your asking for a big hit. And these are the type of hits that are causing the internal brain problems and concussions. I do not agree with this rule at all, yes, I understand that its only for the safety of the players but you cant change the game itself. Thats like changing the American flag colors to blue and orange, its just not right.

As a player, you can prevent from getting a concussion or neck injury in multiple ways. Before every season, every player is given medical forms to fill out. The forms simply ask if you have had any previous history with neck or head injuries. It is very important that the players answers the medical questionnaire truthfully so the doctor can take certain actions to make sure each player is safe and okay to play. This is a big deal because if a doctor, coach, or trainer does not know about your previous injuries, that could harm you later on if you do get a concussion. As an athlete of any sport, you must keep your body in good shape. Proper conditioning and taking weight training serious can help prevent from injuries in football. Players must learn proper tackling and blocking techniques. Playing for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, we go over proper technique at every practice. Players also must speak up when equipment does not fit properly. A helmet that doesnt fit right is like not using a helmet at all. Almost every football

program in the country has the new revo speed helmets. In the helmets there is a lining that can be pumped up in two different places, the front and the back of the helmet. Before every practice here at Charlotte I get my helmet pumped up in both the front and back. It makes the helmet tighter to my head and I feel like it decreases the impact of a hit. Every player should take full advantage of the equipment use for football.

Head injuries and concussions are a serious issue and are nothing to play around with. Football is a choice you make and a life you choose to live. Football is not made for everyone. Not too many people can live to stand the strain and pain the players go through just to have temporally glory. I feel like the national football league and the national collegiate athletic association should continue to pursue new and advance technology to improve players equipment for safety.

Works Cited Concussion Overview. Web MD. WebMD, LLC, 2005-2013. Online Article. 16 October, 2013. Darcy, Kieran. Rutgers to retire LeGrand's No. 52. ESPN New York. ESPN Internet Ventures, 2013. Online Article. 16 October, 2013. Fricano, Mike. Making football helmets safer to prevent concussions. UCLA Today. UC Regents, 2013. Online Article. 17 October, 2013. Mihoces, Gary. More padding; the issue of concussions and better helmets. USA Today. Online Article. 18 October, 2013. Sports Concussion Brain Injurues. Life Quiality Making a Difference. Life Quality USA, 2012. Online Article. 18 October, 2013.