Concussions: the Less the Merrier

by Mark08 on February 4, 2014 - 9:03pm

As we all know, in today’s society, professional sport teams take up a big place in our cities. It is the perfect source of excitement, adrenaline and amusement, but do we really know what these athletes go through every day? These players constantly have to train and work hard to bring to the minimum their chance of getting injured. The injury the most talked about is the concussion. But what is a concussion?

A concussion is a trauma to the brain that affects the motor skills as well as the functions of the brain. Concussions can also lead to many post-injury repercussions, such as, Dementia Pugilistia (a form of dementia), the “Shell Shock Syndrome” which is headaches and nausea for weeks to months, and second impact syndrome, which leaves the brain vulnerable of another impact in a short lapse of time, relative to the seriousness of the injury.

Procedures to help prevent these injuries started in the mid 1900’s when protective gear was introduced to reduce the shocks to the head. Progressively, measures were taken to improve and help evolve technology to lessen the number of concussions. Policies, from inside the professional sport associations, were put into place as of the late 1990’s. The NHL was the first to adopt this kind of policy, while, still in 2011; the NBA was still lacking one.

Let’s take the NHL for example; teams take these types of injuries very seriously. After an incident, the player is obliged to take a 15 minute breather, in what they call the “quiet room”, to calm down and regain his senses. Once that time is up, the team doctor, who decides if the player is apt to continue playing or if he needs to sit it out, examines the player. Furthermore, this same doctor decides, when a player is put on the injured list, whether he will need to stay out or when he gets the green light to go back and train with the team. There has been a constant increase in the number of concussions, particularly in the NHL and the NFL, which makes one question, are these sports getting too dangerous to be played on the professional level?

This issue is a very big one in the world of sports and is constantly under scrutiny. Many argue that it is the athlete’s choice to play and they are conscious of the consequences that can occur. These people believe that it is part of all the excitement of the sports and that the physical component of these sports is just another element. This means that they judge that injuries are only collateral damage that isn’t intentional. While others believe that we should protect them, instead of encouraging them to hit each other as hard as they can. This group of people claims that the Sanctity of Life is in some sort, in play in this issue. This group also takes into consideration that players may be intentionally hurting others players, which leads to the next claim that they are making, being, “It is always wrong to act in any way that will harm another person”.

Both position have strong arguments for and against in this issue, and there doesn’t seem to be a clear winner in the future. But if you were responsible for preventing these types of incidents/injuries happening, what measures would you take, trying to avoid taking out the excitement of the sport, without putting the players in greater danger?

Flynn, Simone Isadora. "Concussions In Pro Sports: An Overview." Points Of View: Concussions In Pro Sports (2013): 1. Points of View Reference Center. Web. 4 Feb. 2014.

Comments

I think that this topic is worth to be debate, because sports plays a big role in our society for many reasons; fighting obesity, making money, etc. My position on this topic is that professional athletes are aware of the injuries that the can get (especially in full contact sports such as hockey or football). Therefore, I think that most athlete agree on the fact that they can be injured.
I also think that the opposition's claim is not valid. The claim ‘’It is always wrong to act in any way that will harm another person” is not valid because there is certains sport that are based on harming the opponents such as boxing or mixed martial art. Athletes in these sports know that they will eventually get knocked out but they are still doing it because they like fighting each other it is their passion. Therefore in this case it is impossible that act in a way to harm the opponent is wrong because it is what they are expected to do.
To answer your question, I don't think that we are responsible for the athletes’ injuries because it is a part of the game. Then finding new regulations to avoid injuries is pointless, I think that we should focus more on the trainings that the athletes go through and find a way to train them to make the athletes less likely to be injured. So maybe should we incorporate in their training a kind of education on the injuries that they can get ?

Although full contact is dangerous, it is up to the athletes how to play and what to do on the ice/field. As serious as concussions are, I bet 99 out of 100 guys would refuse to take the contact element out of the game they know and love. Players will often say, if you can't take the hit, stay on the sideline as a spectator. It is not easy to avoid these hits, and won't get any easier in the future. Instead of try to eliminate a part of the game that has been around for hundreds of years, instead just try to reduce the risk. For example, use high-tech equipment for the head, to monitor impact. This way team doctors can decide whether it is safe or not for a specific player. In my opinion, it will save time on rule changes and effort convincing veteran athletes, while still promoting safety. It is hard to teach an old dog new tricks, especially if it means telling 250-pound athletes to play nice.

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