Concussions have become one of the most talked about risks to football players of all ages. Questions surrounding the difference between headaches and head injuries are numerous. As a result, the NFL and the Army came together on August 30th at West Point to announce a new partnership between the two organizations. The goal of the partnership is to improve awareness of these traumatic brain injuries and to focus on finding solutions to the problem.
Both Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno and the commissioner of the National Football League, Roger Goodell, came together to speak to some 200 cadets about the concerns. They noted, in their speeches, that peer pressure can be a big factor in football players discussing these concerns.
The Co-chairman of the NFL's Head, Neck and Spine Committee noted that of all the players who suffer concussions as a result of the game, 90 percent have no idea they have had one. As a result, he is pushing for a new law, referred to as the Zachery Lystedt Law. The law's name comes from a middle school child who suffered a brain injury after sustaining a concussion on the field.
The law focuses on educating coaches, parents and athletes about the dangers and risks of concussions. It also establishes requirements for removing a player if signs of a concussion are present at practice or during a game. The law requires clearance from a doctor for players to return to the game. The law has been passed in Washington D.C. and 39 states thus far. Ultimately, the goal is to protect players from lasting injuries as a result of repeated concussions.
Source: Times Herald-Record, "Army, NFL team up to spotlight head injuries," Sal Interdonato, August 31, 2012.