By Garrett Turner–2/7/2012
Football is considered to be the all-American sport. But more and more we are realizing the dangers that football players’ brains face. They wear helmets but still often suffer repetitive brain trauma. This is especially true for young players. So the NFL and Sports Legacy Institute say they want to protect all.
The Sports Legacy Institute has announced a “Hit Count” proposal to “reduce youth athletes’ exposure to repetitive brain trauma in multiple sports with the goal to reduce concussions.” Chris Nowinski is co-founder of the Sports Legacy Institute. He hopes youth organizations will adopt this initiative by the end of this year.
“We’re hoping to set an actual numerical value to how many hits to the head children are allowed to receive,” said Nowinski. “This will go a long way towards eliminating total brain trauma and concussions to our youth. We can actually push this forward to make it a reality.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) can cause a wide range of symptoms. These include changes to thinking, sensation, language, and emotions. TBI also increases the risk of epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Concussions can cause long-term, life altering changes.
The NFL is aware how susceptible its players are to brain trauma. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell claims the NFL is leading the way in promoting awareness, and he says this issue must be taken seriously.
“We are not done yet,” Goodell said. “We will do what we possibly can to help the retired players, current players and future players by making the game safer. We will do it by making sure we pioneer research to make sure we understand all there is about brain injuries.”
Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday is helping Sports Institute Legacy. Saturday just finished his 13th season in the NFL and says he has “experienced his fair share of licks to the brain.” Saturday says the reason he supports this agenda is because his kids have now started playing sports.
“I love sports,” said Saturday. “I want to do as much as I can to encourage that in my kids, but I do realize there is a risk when you allow them to hit as many times as is allowed. Hopefully we can make some rule changes in the youth leagues and the NFL.”
Sports Institute Legacy has posted a “Hit Count” White Paper on its website www.sportslegacy.org. The site outlines the proposal, its timetable and implementation strategy. Sports Institute Legacy considers concussions a public health issue “that cannot wait for perfect evidence.”
By Garrett Turner–2/7/2012