While the popularity of football has never been higher in the U.S., major concerns are being raised about the safety of the game from the highest professional level to the youngest youth leagues. Alan Schwarz of the New York Times has written extensively on the subject. Among his findings, doctors now say there is a definite link between repeated head injuries and a serious brain disorder known as C.T.E., which brings on depression and problems with impulse control. Autopsies of former football players, many who died by suicide, have shown alarmingly high rates of C.T.E. and doctors are working frantically on a way to test for the disorder on living current and former players.
In response to this and other scientific revelations about brain and spinal cord injuries, some former NFL players have sued the league for putting their health at risk and not offering more in the way of post-career support.
Several efforts have been adopted to curb the violence of the sport. Leagues have outlawed especially dangerous hits, teams are now bound by trainers’ discretion on whether a concussed player is fit to return to the game, and people have begun looking at ways football equipment can be made safer (Incidentally, Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers wore a special helmet throughout the playoffs after suffering a concussion at the end of the regular season). Some people are pushing for more stringent policies, including raising the age at which youth players are allowed to tackle and restricting contact in practice.
A full archive of Alan Schwarz’s New York Times articles on football safety
A recent article on the subject in the New Yorker Magazine
Learn more about the D’Amore Law Group’s traumatic brain and spinal cord injury practice area
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