Early Onset of Dementia and Death for American Football Players | Elliot Cohen

American sports have progressed into a standard for big plays with a little capacity for extended attention from viewers. Along with little plays is a growing concern for safety. For example, are helmet standards regulated and standard in American football?

Football helmets have been remade throughout the progression of the game. When the sport first started leather helmets were the only head protection for players, but the game was not as violent and hard-hitting as it is now. Injuries were far and few between because of the unpopularity of the sport. When the game gained some traction and became an American staple more thought was put into the design, especially when plastic and synthetic plastic were introduced.

As 21st century football has emerged into one of the most attended sports, it is not only standard, rather it is required to wear the approved plastic helmets. Although football players are depicted as the most physically in-shape and elite, a recent study shows that the glamorous lives of the players are short lived not long after retirement.

Due to the amount of head on tackles and collisions, the safety of players has become jeopardized.  Many players face an occasional confusion from a tackle but these injuries build up. The enormous amount of unregulated helmets or refurbished helmets isn’t safe and puts the status of players’ head safety at risk. Since pain and injury build up, lifelong effects can be hindering mentally and physically.

The pain is so enormous that some professional and collegiate athletes take pain killers before playing. As unhealthy as that may seem it kills the pain and adds on to the pain and longterm effects because it enables the players to hit harder and play with more aggression and no pain. Building up pain leads to dangerous and possibly lethal bursts.

The reason professional football players live shorter lives and have serous injuries after their professional careers is because of this built up pain and brain damage. Due to these injuries mostly affecting the brain, cases of Alzheimer’s, a lack of ACh, causes serious memory loss and early death. Different types of Dementia also stem from head injuries due to the loss of brain cells. Moreover, the connection between brain diseases and football is very notable and intriguing, as many are now questioning the safety of the sport for those playing in high school and beyond. If more people knew of the serious long-term side effects from this sport, would people no longer watch? Would they cease to attend games? The continued profit and success of this industry dramatically depends on its popularity. Furthermore, those who continue to spread word of the detriments of this sport may jeopardize the business and possibly the livelihood of the conglomerate heads of the NFL.

In my opinion, more individuals should know the danger the players are getting themselves into and question whether the sport should truly stay as one of the American pastimes, or be deemed as a form of barbarity.


 

Elliot Cohen is a Staff Writer for Pulse Magazine.