How Many Concussions Is Too Many To Play Football Are Athletes Protected Enough?

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Are Athletes Protected Enough?

What’s wrong with being an athlete? Should athletes be informed about the potential long-term effects of their sport on their bodies as well as their quality of life on the road? And whose responsibility is it anyway?

The fact is that many athletes suffer from injuries, regardless of the level at which they play, from footy to professional. The risk factor is real. For minor athletes, it is the responsibility of coaches, trainers and parents. In a perfect world, the decision should be made based on what is in the best interest of the athlete. Unfortunately, the athlete’s well-being is not always the main factor. Often it is a judgment call without all the necessary information.

However, athletes are more vocal about the realities of brain injury because they have to live with the long-term consequences. Is it really worth the price of fame, glory, and money if you have to live with pain, sleep problems, memory loss, and reduced quality of life because your body has been abused? Sports abuse is common but under-reported.

The problem is common among most large businesses. What is the benefit of the athlete in relation to the business of sports? There is a fine line between clear instructions and implicit expectations of teams from their athletes. Money combined with the mindset to overcome it leads to decisions that speed up the return-to-play schedule after an injury.

The NFL has been named in a class-action lawsuit by several former football players for administering Toradol before games. An over-the-counter pain reliever, similar to but stronger than Tylenol, masks the pain. The players allege that team doctors administered the drug en masse as players lined up for their injections. The tremors became harder to detect because the drug masked the pain. Does the doctor’s medical judgment affect the team instead of the league?

Heading the ball is another concern from soccer players. Since the brain is like jelly, it doesn’t take much to make it pop. Long-term impact occurs when athletes repeatedly hit the ball with their head. Under-10 footballers get frustrated with their headers because they don’t have the proper skills yet. When athletes constantly use their head, the risk of long-term exposure increases.

The NHL is also struggling with this issue. The high speed, full body contact, and unmatched ice surface are unforgiving. The Hockey Player Safety Committee continues to fight the issue of concussions. The design of stiff shoulders and elbows contributes to head injuries. In the whole scheme of things, which body parts take precedence? Head, shoulder or elbow?

These are adult players. The fact that 300,000 youth athletes suffer sports-related concussions each year is a staggering number. The National Collegiate Athletic Association, along with the Centers for Disease Control, recognizes this problem. They have teamed up to produce extensive training materials and guides on concussions.

A grass roots movement needs to start with a call to action coming from athletes, coaches, trainers and parents that the current risk is unacceptable. History shows that this is the most effective way to effect change.

Athletes expect their helmets to protect them from concussions. Simply put, this is a lie. Helmets prevent skull fractures, but no protection against concussions.

There are numerous accounts where an athlete suffered a concussion, but it was not immediately diagnosed and they were put back into the game. Statistics only show the number of hits reported. Given that many concussions go unreported or undetected, the true numbers remain a mystery.

Seeing Muhammad Ali in his final years, hearing about the NHL’s Derek Boogaard and his decline into drug addiction and suicide while recovering from one of many concussions at age 28, as well as the growing list of athletes whose lives have been changed by chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) reaches an epidemic level. Athletes, especially those who play harder contact sports, are more prone to it. These men thought they were immune to the long-term effects of these injuries. Now is the time that this is a very high price to pay for sports.

When athletes continue to play after a head injury, they put themselves at greater risk if a second head injury occurs during play, even if the second impact is not as severe.

Integrity is the right thing to do, even when no one else is looking.

Mental toughness is designed for high performance. Under no circumstances should a player play harder when he has a head injury. The science of brain injury matches the athlete’s reality experience. It’s time to change the situation and let athletes, coaches and team owners know that continuing to play while suffering from a concussion is not acceptable. Long-term consequences outweigh short-term benefits. There is nothing heroic about the quality of life on the road, because the athlete did not want to disappoint the team or be given a bad grade.

Problem: It’s hard to sit still. No one likes to be treated on the sidelines. Are you injured? How was your experience? Instead of looking at the negative, find what you learned from the experience. Find out if you put pressure on yourself as well as the pressure you felt from your team. Concussions are another injury from fractures, sprains, and strains. Check out the free information available at http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/sports/index.html?source=govdelivery Yes, injuries happen, but take personal responsibility to improve yourself . Take a stand for yourself as a player, remove yourself from the game until you are treated by a doctor. If you are a coach with the best interests of the athlete in mind, you should sit your player out until medical leave.

Lauren Fogelman, author of The Winning Point and founder of Expert Sports Performance.com, a company that teaches elite athletes how to consistently achieve peak performance, stay focused during competitions, and build the confidence to reach their BIG goals.

You are now invited to get your free starter kit “The 7 Best Mistakes Even the Best Athletes Make” at: => http://expertsportsperformance.com.

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