Posted by Natalie Morin
The pedestal that has been holding up a beloved American tradition is finally starting to teeter. American football is seeing backlash like never before, as athletes and researchers alike have become more vocal about the dangers that are not often talked about.
It’s no secret that football players are prone to injury. If you sign up for a sport in which the main objective is to slam players down into unforgiving turf, then you’re bound to suffer bruises, torn ligaments and even broken bones.
But we’re not talking about mere short-term injuries—we’re talking about long-term brain damage.
When HealthGrove looked at data from the U.S. National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), it was clear that football’s concussion rate surpassed that of any other sport. The NEISS collects injury reports every year from 100 emergency departments, showing that an estimated 17,627 concussions occur on average every year—close to double the number for basketball and soccer.
In fact, of all the ways to suffer an injury in football, the head and neck are at the most risk, after fingers. Of these head and neck cases, about 25 percent are reported as concussions.
The media has started to bring attention to the issue in recent months, especially in the NFL. Rookie Adrian Coxson of the Green Bay Packers recently became the third player to retire from the league this offseason amid concerns that his concussions could lead to permanent brain damage, joining former 49ers Chris Borland and Anthony Davis. According to Forbes, Coxson’s Grade 3 concussion could cause “significant long-term impacts such as cognitive impairment, motor skill problems and neurodegeneration.”
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