The subject of concussions and the effect they have on the athletes who suffer them during competition has been the subject of a great deal of discussion during the past decade. Many articles have been written and many TV shows have done stories about concussions. This has been a big change to how things used to be. Brain trauma was something that was never discussed in relation to sports. Here are some of the ways that the public has learned about the impact of concussions on athletes.
1. Former football players have discussed their concussions.
The secrecy surrounding concussions was especially true when it came to football. The National Football League (NFL) did not want any attention drawn to the issue of concussions. The owners were making millions of dollars every year and they did not want something like this getting in the way of their profits. They were most concerned about the potential for a class action lawsuit filed by former players who has suffered permanent brain damage while playing in the NFL. This is exactly what happened. However, the NFL and the former players reached a settlement which many people believe was much too small when you consider that the NFL has literally billions of dollars. However, the settling of the lawsuit did not stop the wave of bad publicity for the NFL. They had ignored the issue of concussions for the first 60 years of the league’s existence and now it had finally caught up with the owners. Players who were experiencing brain problems as a result of NFL concussions began to come forward and give interviews on the subject.
2. Rule changes were put into place.
Mary Hayashi was one of the people who started to push for tighter regulations and research concerning concussions that were suffered during sporting events. The public outcry for changes in the sport of football eventually reached the offices of the NFL in New York City. The league had finally realized that it could wait no longer and it had to act now. All of the work that Hayashi and other people had done to raise awareness about sports concussions had finally paid off. The NFL began what they called a concussion protocol for any player who was believed to have suffered a concussion. A series of tests would be performed on a player to determine the extent of their head injury. The player is then forced to sit out of competition for a period of days if it is determined that he has suffered a concussion. This change was received positively by players, coaches and fans.
3. The movie “Concussion” gave the problem more publicity.
Hollywood got involved with the issue of concussions in sports and the NFL in particular. A film called “Concussion” was made with Will Smith playing Dr. Bennet Omalu. He was the doctor who is generally credited as the first person in the medical community to say that the NFL has a problem on their hands involving concussions. He did several interviews on national shows to discuss the findings that he made. These interviews that Dr. Omalu did were the first exposure that many average people had to the problem that football players were facing every time they went on the field. This caused many players to reconsider playing the sport.