The Long-Depicted Issue of Concussions in NFL Sports
“Concussion; an injury that can potentially restrict the brain from processing/ functioning and have some memory loss. The injury is located around the head and it is usually caused by extreme force to the head. In many dilemmas, there is hardly any external injuries but rather internal. Many people believe that concussion is the loss of consciousness, but that is just a myth. Hard contact sports such as football can create concussion, and it happens very often. If concussions are untreated, it can cause serious repercussions and can potentially be fatal” (Elaine K. Luo, MD). Some people believed that the NFL was arrogant and self-centered; although they knew the risks of playing a hard-contact sport. But knowing this fact they knew something was wrong when the NFL wasn’t acting against these risks. It was the blindness of the NFL that people began to raise suspicion and created propaganda. League of Denial used propaganda and inculcation techniques such as card stacking and granfalloon to settle their own conclusions.
The NFL committee declared denials that football was responsible for the brain injuries and it was safe for players to go back into games after suffering a concussion. But was it good to go back with brain injuries? What are they Hiding? There are four stages of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). “Stage one includes your basic headache, which follows with lack of attention and concentration. Stage two; when a member with CTE starts to exhibit slight depression or even certain mood swings and loss of memory. This is also on top of stage one. Stage three; when people begin to become executively dysfunctional, memory loss with lack of attention and concentration. Stage three can also include mood swings added with depression and unfortunately suicide. 75% studied with the effects of CTE are labeled to be cognitively impaired. Lastly stage four is the worst, it is when all the side effect from one to three all happen together and some people described with “a profound loss of attention and concentration, executive dysfunction, language difficulties, explosivity, aggressive tendencies, paranoia, depression, gait, and visuospatial difficulties.” (Dr. Ann McKee) how is this not life-changing?
In the film League of Denial allegations that the National Football League automatically refuted scientific evidence that violent collisions are linked to early-onset dementia, long-term brain damage, death and other consequences for players. “Concussion is one of these pact journalisms issues, frankly. There’s no increase in concussions. The number is relatively small. The problem is, it is a journalism issue.” Paul Tagliabue the past NFL commissioner was clearly using card stacking tactics to influence the public and the players that the amount of concussion is relative to any other professional sports. Tagliabue’s only issue to confront this dilemma was giving coaches and players a simple handout that explained the symptoms of CTE and how you can ‘easily’ cure it. But one player particularly Mike Webster a symbol to head injuries was discussed that the safety was too important. Mike Webster’s doctors discussed that the plethora of head injuries Webster accoutered was his downfall to his career and to sudden death, to have the symptoms of CTE (cognitive dysfunction). Dr. Ann McKee a neurologist discussed that she examined that “Of the 202 players, 111 of them played in the N.F.L. — and 110 of those were found to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE, the degenerative disease believed to be caused by repeated blows to the head.”. She even discussed that players as young as 23 too old as 89 have died from CTE, a total of 1300 has died.
In order to solve the situation of concussion on its effects on any athletes starting from high school, collegiate, to pro sports, it starts with the people. After Dr. Bennet Omalu a man against the NFL’s committee and a forensic pathologist, he published papers showing that the brains of two former NFL players (including Mike Webster) had suffered serious degenerative brain disease. As a professional who understands the brain, he had uncovered theory or critical findings that could potentially crush the NFL in ways that would slow the NFLs development. But before it could go public, Dr. Omalu was unfortunately attacked by the NFL to retract all his findings that would tarnish the NFL. Omalu understood that what he found on Mike Webster was not external but internal, but what the NFL saw was completely different. Omalu stated that “And they went to the press. They insinuated I was not practicing medicine; I was practicing voodoo.” (Dr. Bennet Omalu), in the grand scheme, this is a form of distracting members from thinking “undesirable thoughts”, a form in which some cult leaders or propaganda used to sway there people to have the same consciousness, in this case, to preserve the NFLs legacy. The “undeniable thoughts” propaganda was mainly used to sway the NFLs supporters to believe that they are doing the right thing and that their justified answer is what goes for everyone. Dr. Omalu believed that if any case that his work had actually been read by families or mothers who children playing football he believed that the NFL would crumble to the floor, “ he said is 10% of mothers perceive football as a dangerous sport, that is the end of football.” – (Dr. Bennet Omalu).
As social media progressed during our time, the news and sports television impacted the people who had gone through the time of League of Denial. Propaganda such as testimonial launched a severe issue to the NFL causing outsiders to investigate, which created a seize. From newscast to different doctors and attorneys seeking certain revenge or gain from this dilemma. As far as testimonials can lead to individual concerned families, which is not far enough, a Congresswoman from Washington D.C Linda Sanchez believed that any settlement that the NFL was willing to give is not justified enough. Linda Sanchez spoke out and said “The settlement does not do enough to ensure that the NFL is taking all the necessary precautions to protect its active and retired players,” (Sanchez), she understood that the lives of NFL players were not just entertainment but actual people who belong in this world- “Players and their families need peace of mind that the NFL is going to take full responsibility and help them navigate the challenges that come with traumatic head injuries.” (Sanchez). In 2007, Congresswoman Sanchez chaired a hearing at the Judicial Subcommittee of Commercial and Administrative Law to process through to the NFL players if they were adequately served by the NFL, especially players with CTE. Congresswoman Sanchez created a mass of public awareness going through with a campaign to create wide awareness of concussions. After two decades, the year of 2013, the NFL still denies that CTE and their players have no real correlation, it was unclear. Year after year after year, the commission committee insisted that they were looking into the crisis, but they never got into the problem in any kind of valid way. There should be better evidence now from 1994 to 2013. More than 4500 retired football players have sued the NFL, they were looking at billions of losses and not millions. One of their arguments was that you must sacrifice your life and body to play this sport, it was something they must pay for playing a professional sport. It was all believed that once you retired with CTE you become insane and uncontrollable. Mood swing starts to happen, memory loss starts to pile, and then follows death or suicide to those who are unfortunate. Even with the support of the National Institute of Health, the NFL doctors swooped in to tell everyone that it was for pure science. The NFL went the offensive and told everyone that they created a youth heads up program and donated $30 million to help with this dilemma. A quick form of snob appeal. Snob appeal- to appeal to the general physical, social, or intellectual qualities (gaining superiority). It is not hard to appeal to a certain crowd and that what the NFL did is that they were trying to please their audience. The is putting on a good PR putting off certain discovery so that it will not have to lash back at them sooner. The new and current commissioner of the NFL Gordon now acknowledges that there is no link at all with CTE and the players. It was an endless delay. Maybe there should be better evidence by now? People are thinking that the NFL has fraudulently concealed information.
Will the league every change in the future? Will there be any discovery to beat this long cold case? How long until the NFL realizes that the players are more than just pawns but actual lives. The image now is just a concussion problem, and that there is no acknowledgment agent of long-term brain damage. The details of how the NFL going about this task is just unfathomable. Even though they have paid each player a $765 million buyout, it gives other people 765 million reasons why people don’t want to play football in their current situation.
For now, the NFL seems secure, but I believe that the NFL will soon figure out what they are doing wrong. All the people who love to play football or even just to watch won’t be as interested. The many ghosts that the league carries will catch up to them unless they know a sudden solution, which won’t happen for decades to come. Only time can tell what tell if the League has passed through arrogance and selfishness, or if there overusing propaganda just to gain supporters.
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