Very recently, National Football League’s (NFL’s) senior vice president of healthy and safety admitted to a member of a U.S. congressional committee the connection between football and head trauma, specifically, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease that can lead to memory loss, dementia and depression. This admission is based on a study conducted by Boston University, which has found traces of CTE in 90 out of 94 deceased players it has examined. (CTE, which was found in military veterans, those with a history of repetitive brain trauma and athletes, especially boxers, requires proof of degeneration of brain tissue and deposits of tau proteins and other proteins in the brain. Due to this, it can only be seen or detected through study of the brain after death or through autopsy).

The NFL and professional football players themselves know and acknowledge risk of musculoskeletal disorders/injuries (or MSDs, such as injuries to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, discs, blood vessels) . With regard to CTE, however, the league, for so long, denied any possible link between football and this chronic brain disorder.

MSDs include:

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) and Torn Meniscus, which are knee injuries;
  • Muscle contusions, which usually affects the thigh;
  • Shoulder tendinitis, which is due to the repetitive motion of throwing;
  • Shoulder separation or dislocation, which is due to a direct blow below the shoulder;
  • Ankle sprains and strains, which is probably the most common sports injury; and,
  • Torn hamstrings

In its website, the law firm Ali Mokaram says, “In the opinion of an increasing number of scientists, NFL players are paying the cost of such entertainment with their health and long-term well-being. Once their playing careers have ended, many NFL players find that the physical toll that playing professional football has taken on their bodies makes them unable to live a productive, healthy life. Some of these injuries include physical pain from broken bones and joint injuries, but increasing evidence shows that many professional athletes also have suffered degenerative brain disease from repeated concussions as a result of playing in the league.”

As long as football will involve very strong and heavy players running into each other at full speed (but how can it be otherwise?), it will remain to be a dangerous and violent game. Though there are safety protocols and rules in place to prevent head injuries, many of these are arbitrarily enforced by referees and team trainers alike. Often responsible parties will take negligent action in order to further the entertainment value of football games. Players frequently feel forced to perform despite incurring severe head injuries in order to retain their professional careers and fans, who are never aware of NFL concussion dangers, which include chronic brain damage, irrecoverable body impairment, brain damage, chronic headaches, impaired concentration and memory, and reduced life span.