For the safety of the players in the present and future, a stricter concussion protocol should be required at all levels of football. Though improvements have been made, the game of football is constantly changing and the protocol needs to keep up with the changes. Today’s athletes are bigger, stronger, and faster than ever before: “Size and physical conditioning techniques in sports at all levels have evolved to create an intense athlete. They ‘re able to create more force, power and speed than ever before and that leads to harder hits and a greater number of hits” (Neporent). These advances in training have led to a more dangerous sport.
The protocol has improved in recent years along with an emphasis on player safety, but the increasing numbers of players with long-term effects of concussions show there is still work to be done. A concussion is defined as temporary unconsciousness caused by a blow to the head or a violent shock from a heavy blow. The force transmitted to the head causes the brain to hit the skull, which causes the brain to swell. The symptoms of a concussion can appear immediately after contact or they may subtle and may not appear right away. The symptoms of a concussion can vary in length. There are many different symptoms to a concussion: “Common symptoms after a concussive traumatic brain injury are headache, loss of memory (amnesia) and confusion” (Mayo).
Other symptoms that may be involved with a concussion include loss of consciousness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, slurred speech, and fatigue. There are also symptoms that may not occur immediately, but may be delayed hours or days after. These symptoms include difficulty concentrating, sensitivity to light, and sleep disturbances. An athlete should . .col to the NFL and they also use the stepwise progression.
The progression can only start after a player has return to all baseline functioning and proper balance. A player has 5 days to complete the 6 step progression. The first two steps: Light aerobic exercise and intense aerobic exercise may be completed in the same day. The next step is football practice without head impact. They can then participate in non-contact drills with resistance training. If still no symptoms are shown, they can return to full-contact practice.
They are ready to play after they have passed full-contact practice. If they show symptoms at any of the steps though, they must start from the beginning. High school and youth football have a similar stance for their concussion protocol. The steps are required to be completed and a doctor must clear the athlete before he is allowed to play again.