Tag Archives: Concussions

Protecting It’s Players or “Protecting the Shield”

by Nicholas Muhl

“We’ll take a quick break while the trainers tend to the player down.” I have never heard this statement made by football broadcasters more than this National Football League season. As of last week, according to official NFL statistics, 15 percent of NFL players had suffered some type of injury through the first two weeks of the season.

15 percent. That’s 234 players.

If you want to take a look at it another way, NFL teams can have an active roster of 53 players. That means that over four full active NFL rosters had suffered an injury out of 32 total NFL teams. Worse than you thought, right?

This past weekend was highlighted by even more injuries, specifically Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger who suffered an MCL sprain and bone bruise to his left knee. He joins starting quarterbacks Drew Brees (Saints), Tony Romo (Cowboys) and Jay Cutler (Bears) on a growing list of high profile NFL players who have suffered serious injuries this season.

A lot of sports media coverage has been highlighting these individual NFL injuries, specifically the quarterbacks ones, but coverage of the overall issue seems to be lacking. A simple google search of “15 percent of NFL players hurt” will provide you with very limited results. Outside thinkprogress.org and one Bleacher Report article, the only coverage of this issue seems to be on the many low profile sports blogs. ESPN and other major sports media outlets continue to shy away from serious dialogue about the growing injury problem in the NFL. They rather spend most of their time discussing how long players will be out and how it effects our fantasy football lineups.

The NFL continues to damage control as it faces more and more questions about the safety of it’s players and medical care after their careers have ended. According to a report released by Frontline earlier this month,  87 of 91 deceased former NFL players that were included in their study tested positive for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The leading cause for CTE is repetitive trauma to the head. This report comes just a few weeks after the trailer of the new movie Concussion, which stars Will Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu. A doctor who challenged the NFL’s policy’s and medical treatment of players, specifically after retirement, when he discovered CTE in the brains of several NFL players.

Despite new medical research being done everyday and legal action being taken against the NFL, it seems that the major media still is shying away from the issue. Whether its because the NFL is working to repairs its image in cooperation with the media or because major media decides fantasy football and other coverage brings in better ratings, something needs to change. The media needs to begin asking the question, is the NFL and commisioner Roger Goodell truly doing everything in their power to protect it’s players? Or are they more concerned with “protecting the shield.”

Concussions: Why the World and Soccer Should Listen

By Kaleb Page

When it comes to the topic of concussions in sports the main sport in question is football. Rarely do you find discussion on concussions in any other sport and one rarely finds criticism thrown at other sports like one does with football. The time has come to look at the sport of soccer or fútbol, as a concerning area for concussions.

Recently in a match between Arsenal and Chelsea, Thibaut Courtois, who is a rising star at goalkeeper for Chelsea, fell victim to a blow that left him unconscious on the pitch. This blow resulted after a ball came in the box towards forward Alexis Sánchez of Arsenal and Courtois slid in to recover the ball before Sánchez could get a boot on the ball. The scene was a car- crash-like pile on the pitch that left Sánchez looking over a knocked out Courtois.

Doctors and training staff members came on to check out the star keeper and run what was said to be the Premier League’s standard for head injuries. Even though the guidelines were ran, there is one disturbing fact about what happened following this severe head injury.

For 14 minutes after the injury and testing, Courtois was allowed to play on. Yes, you read that right. The guy who was just lying on the ground unconscious after receiving a knee to the head was allowed to get up and play like nothing even happened. He was eventually taken out of the game, but that was after the fact that he played on for 14 minutes. Now if this happened in the game of football the uproar would be astounding and would almost guaranteed be the talk of sports for weeks on end. Yet when you turn on the television to SportsCenter, Fox Sports Tonight or even NBC Sports Network do you see the same outcry as if it was a sport like football? The resounding answer is no.

Taylor Twellman, who contributes on ESPN broadcasts for soccer, is a very outspoken member of the soccer community who has had his own battle with concussions in soccer. His own professional career was cut short by the mishandling of a concussion he received while playing. He recently looked at the mishandling of this concussion and the concussions in this sport over the years.

Even if you trace back to the World Cup this summer, Twellman was angered by the handling of concussions on the world’s biggest stage for soccer. Several players received concussions in various games, and yet they played on, or attempted to at least. This prompted a response from Twellman saying that, “It’s barbaric. The way FIFA has turned an eye to head injuries, it’s 1950s-ish.”

I could not agree more with Twellman and some of the others in the soccer community who have concern with the treatment and handling of head trauma in soccer. In this most recent development with a rising star like Courtois, it brings this issue to the forefront where it belongs just like it does with football concussions. In the end the question needs to be asked to FIFA and the respective leagues around the World: Do you care about your athletes’ well-being or are you going to continue to pretend like you care?