Have you ever seen the movie “Concussion” with Will Smith?
So basically, in this movie directed by Peter Landesman, we follow the real-life character of Dr. Bennet Omalu (played by Will Smith, of course). The doctor is performing an autopsy on a former NFL player, revealing a neurodegenerative disease that Dr. Omalu considers “as bad as Alzheimer’s disease.”
Now, this really happened. Like, actually. The reason that many have never heard about this disease, known as mild/severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), is because the NFL and some crazy powerful people didn’t like the doctor posting about a life-crippling disease that comes from playing football.
But we’ve got to talk about this! This could be the reason for a lot of domestic violence issues, as NFL players have a weirdly greater chance of committing abuse against their partners. Let me explain.
Individuals who have experienced severe damage to the brain are known to have a “brain injury.” Cool, now that the self-explanatory portion is over, let’s focus on types of brain injuries. TBI, specifically, creates a whole arrange of issues in one’s behavior as a study on veterans in Operation Enduring Freedom found. The researchers discovered that these veterans with TBI experienced “cognitive difficulties, including impairments in attention, memory efficiency, and processing speed” (Combs et al., 2015). In conjunction with this, the study found that those with TBI had a greater history of addiction, self-harm, and PTSD, leading to overall greater aggression levels.
Now I’m not saying that the reason OJ…um…. “allegedly,” killed his late wife was because of his football career. I’m just saying that the numerous amounts of head-force trauma could have been a great contributor to the outcome.
We can’t have a bunch of enraged teenage boys in an activity that will lead them to have addiction issues and other psychological diseases. It isn’t fair to them and it certainly isn’t fair to their parents. But there’s got to be a balance.
Football is America’s pastime. Who could forget about sitting down for Super Bowl Sunday? Hell, you can’t even walk a mile in the United States without seeing some football propaganda. But we’ve got to inform student-athletes of the danger of contact sports. As athletes continue getting better, especially in football, this creates even more danger to psychological health when someone is hit on that field.
But I’m hopeful for the future. With technology growing expansively, I do not see why someone could not form a polymer that is strong enough to keep the brain safe during contact sports. And there’s the other thing about civil liberties. If someone wants to play football or any other sport, knowing that they could get hurt, they should have the right to do so. The only thing other people can do is make sure that the damage that is done is minimal. And the only thing I can do is write this wee-little blog informing others about the psychological dangers that come with heavy contact sports.
But don’t ban the NFL! Please! That’s not what I’m saying!