Concussion crisis

Hit after hit, tackle after tackle, NFL players take a beating every game.

Each play is fast and physical and in the heat of the moment, one wrong hit can end a player’s career.

American football is known for being a “man’s sport.” It is aggressive, violent and dangerous. Injuries that derail a player’s career — an ACL tear, a broken leg or just general wear and tear — happen all the time.

But no injury has the lasting impact that head injuries do.

Unfortunately, concussions happen nearly every week in the NFL. Concussions occur when the head and brain move rapidly within the skull, which can damage cells. These are most common after an intense blow to the head.

Concussions can lead to memory loss, repeated headaches, sensitivity to noise and light and the development of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, better known as CTE.

NFL players take a lot of blows to the head, both big and small. Tua Tagovailoa, the quarterback for the Miami Dolphins, has been at the center of concussion talks around the league in recent weeks.

In their week 3 matchup against the Buffalo Bills, Tagovailoa showed signs of a concussion after a hit but was cleared to play citing the injury was to the lower back. Just four
days later against the Cincinnati Bengals, Tagovailoa was thrown to the ground, suffering a serious head injury.

It was a scary moment as the third-year quarterback seemed paralyzed on the ground, unable to move. He was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital.

That kind of play, where elite athletes are knocked out cold, unable to move their arms or legs, must be avoided in the NFL. Plays that make you realize the NFL still has a concussion problem and they do not seem to care.

There are countless new rules and new advancements to helmets to help lower the chance of concussion. However, the most common way players get concussions is by their head hitting the turf.

Rules and advancements can only go so far. The league and teams care about two things above all else: winning and revenue. In the case of Tagovailoa, a rising star player on a winning team, the league chose to look the other way. After the appar– ent injuries received in the previous game, he should not have been playing in the next game, especially on a short week.

One can only feel bad for the players, they know the risk of playing professional football and they would do everything in their power to compete every week. This is why the problem falls on the shoulders of the teams, the trainers and the league.

The NFL has to stop letting players with injuries, especially to the head, go back out onto the field. A star like Tagovailoa brings in ratings, there is no doubt about it, but his safety should be put first.

Other factors like hard turf fields and Thursday Night Football also contribute to the problem and it is all to seemingly make just a little more money.

The NFL needs to put their player’s health first. With more and more CTE-related deaths being reported, such as the recent passing of former star wide-receivers Vincent Jackson and Demaryius Thomas, the problem continues to impact lives outside of the gridiron.

The head must be protected and the NFL must do better.