A concussion usually occurs after a violent and hard blow to the head and it causes the brain to slam against the skull. In this case, the cerebrospinal fluid is not able to cushion the impact. Studies show that when a football player’s head gets injured, speeds in this instance range from 17 to 25 miles per hour. The force averaging to this has been estimated to be 98 times the force of gravity. When the player is hit, the shock passes through the brain fluid and bounces back off the skull. Usually, the concussion always occurs at the other side from the impact’s point. When a concussion occurs, it can cause the bruising of the brain and tearing the blood vessels. It damages the nerves (Teitelbaum 160). Concussions and long-term effects of having repeated blows to the head have made them become a hot-button topic in sports over the past few years, most notably in the NFL. The NFL has recorded an increase in the number of concussions witnessed every year. Experts suggest that these concussions, if not handled properly, may bring to the end of football.
The Master Lawsuit. The NFL is finding itself sued by its former players. Former players and some other small groups claim that the NFL has known about the high risk of brain injury that comes along with playing football and that they have covered it for years. These groups and former players have filed a master complaint where they united their complaints into one case. The NFL does try to dismiss the case but Robert C. Heim has retained the law. The firm Dechert LLp prepares the trials behind the scenes. The NFL argues that the players’ injuries are handled legally by bargaining collectively and having an agreement and that they have no base to sue the NFL now for the past injuries. If the court rules that the players have a case to answer, then NFL has big problems. Having a trial would be awful news for the NFL. It would mean weeks and months of an extraordinarily adverse publicity that is likely to distract people’s attention from the product of the field. Making the matter worse, there would also be a discovery phase when each of the sides can request evidences related to the case (Kamberg 10). It means that everything about the NFL’s handling of the concussion will be made public. The player’s antivirus has kept the owners in the light and honest during the lockout phase. Even if the prospect of no game checks were extremely scary, it would be beneficial to the NFL in terms of financial matters. However, in the setting of the suit, they have not fully addressed the injured players.
The Impact. Most people think that a dangerous football is the dramatic thrilling hits that always leave the players staggering, twitching, and totally knocked out. However, studies show that the actual real threat may lie in the impacts repeated again and again or in the sub-concussive forces. A former NFL defensive lineman and an activist Dave Pear believes that the concussion issue and its related lawsuits could have a dizzying effect. This effect, in his opinion, could lead to the end of the NFL. He says that if the issue of concussion is not treated properly, it has the maximum potential to end football. He says that earlier John Heisman saved the game by making the forward pass. According to him, it has now come to a full cycle. The former player also claims that the NFL does not do enough for its disabled veterans. Dave Pear has had numerous neck, hip, and back surgeries. In addition to the memory loss, this problem has made him qualify for some social security benefits back in 2004. Pear observes that the NFL has not been honest about concussions just as the way tobacco companies are not honest about cigarettes. He is a plaintiff in the concussions lawsuit against the NFL. Pear also highly criticizes the NFL players association and the NFL alumni association. He encourages former players to sign a declaration of independence (Nowinski 162). He believes that these organizations have not taken cared of the ex-players and usually act without their consent. Pear says that he enjoyed playing football, but once he got injured, the game turned on him. He claims that 95% of the retired players have come to hate the game very much.
A leading neurosurgeon has campaigned for having better protection for young athletes from head injury. He has linked this move to the number of retired NFL players seeking diagnosis for brain diseases. These diseases are linked to having multiple concussions. Robert Cantu has urged in one of the FIFA’s hosted international conferences to outlaw tackling in football, body checking in ice-hockey, and heading in soccer. He argues that having blows to the head of children under the age of fourteen is suicidal. People are becoming aware of the growing number of head injuries and cognitive problems among football players, including on high school levels. It has led to Malcolm Gladwell suggesting that football will come to an end, which has been supported by Jonah Lehrer.
Malcolm says that those who think that football is a tremendously solid game and cannot come to an end have to refer to the history. He gives an example of the stocks in Fortune 500 from 1983. He says that 40 % of those companies no longer exist. They ceased to exist because of law suits. His says that the NFL is likely to follow this route. He goes ahead and says that in the early 20th century, top three sports were baseball, horse racing, and boxing. Only one of those still has a high attraction (Hendricks 318). The most plausible dimension to the death of football starts with having liability suits. Pre-collegiate football already sustains more than 90,000 concussions every year. It means that insurance companies may stop insuring high schools and colleges against football related lawsuits. Most referees, team physicians, and coaches would feel extremely nervous about their financial exposure to the society. It implies that if one is a coach of a football team of high school or a volunteer referee, he/she may think that he/she can be hit with a $2million lawsuit at any time. It makes many people try to avoid it. Parents nowadays will try and keep their children out of playing football. It seems to be having a contagious effect where if one parent has second thoughts, many other parents will follow him/her. It is compared to extremely dangerous practices that occurred in the 1960s, but no longer exist (Roush 45). These were the risks of smoking or driving without seat belts. It suggests that the NFL’s feeder system will dry up and networks and advertisers would ultimately keep off associating with the league. It would lead to hostile publicity and chances of being identified as co-defendants in case of any future lawsuits.
The slow death could take around 10 to 15 years. It is suggested that college players and high school players will commit suicide with autopsies showing CTE. Even if the NFL keeps modifying its rules, it will turn out that permanent head contact even without the concussion still produces CTE. New technological solutions such as wearing of helmets and pads are tried, but they are failing to resolve the problem. It will lead to the Ivy League quitting football. California will then shut down its participation. It will lead to busting up of Pac 12. Then, gigantic ten calls will quit followed by the East Coast Schools. It will turn football into mainly a regional sport. It will make the social economic picture of a football player become more homogenous. A football player will become poor, have weak home life and be poorly educated. It will lead to Chevy and Ford pulling theory advertising followed by the IBM Company. Eventually, beer companies will withdraw their advertisements leading to the death of NFL football (Cantu 102).
Hopefully, the doomsday will never happen as the youth football, high schools, colleges, and the pros will see the danger and will act quickly to eliminate it. It can be prevented by having massive educational programs for coaches, players, and parents on the signs and symptoms of the concussion. There should also be an educational system to teach about the procedures of evaluating probable concussions, return-to-play policies, and removal policies. There should also be a neuropsychological testing in addition to the post concussion testing. More studies should be made concerning the effects of cumulative hits or impacts to the head that are not concussions. There should be implemented a new helmet technology. There should be modified rules to limit helmet to helmet contact. Along the way, the NFL would have lower talent levels and lesser training and would have a substantial number of players from poor countries. It would happen in case the demand for money is high and the demand for safety is relatively lower.
Another intriguing factor that showcases the near end of the NFL football is some lawsuits cased against them. The first lawsuit has been filed in Philadelphia, which included twenty one former players. They have been led by All-Pro Louis Breeden. The following day another lawsuit was filed by sixty one old complainants in Los Angeles all of whom were famous players including 2-all time Pro Isaiah Robertson and Delvin Williams (Meehan 74). The third lawsuit was the most intriguing one seeing Jacob Bell rise into the limelight and hit the headlines. He decided to walk away from a game leaving a whopping $890,000 on the table. When asked about this, he based his decision on the increased awareness of the long-term effects of the concussions. Bell said that calculating the risk compared to the award analysis, the risk of having a long-term brain damage was not worth the cash. It is an indicator that Bell is a remarkably sharp guy who made quite a desirable decision. It was a decision that many former players had never had the opportunity to make. Bell made a statement to the St. Louis Post Dispatch that what worried him most whenever he had a game was his personal health. After boycotting the game, he knew he would no longer get a paycheck from his employees. Thus, he joined other former players in filing a lawsuit concerning the concussions against the NFL. The retirement of Bell and his logical arguments greatly bolster the plaintiff’s case (Solomon 8). It indicates that if players had been warned about the concussions risk, most of them would have decided to retire from the game. Players could also have been able to determine the reward worth risking the long-term brain damage. It would have helped them to make a responsible and informed decision. It shows that most of the NFL football players are boycotting the game despite having more money since they know about the long-term effect of the concussion. It indicates that next year players will boycott playing the game and it will be long forgotten.
The NFL is now trying to manage this situation. The NFL is trying to make an attempt to fence off the issue. It is by contending that current plaintiffs involving the brain injury should be bound. They say that it should be done by one or more collective agreed bargains. Teams involved are expected to try and handle concussions with the help of unique treatments and procedures as they occur. They are still not sure whether concussions implications can be limited contractually or be managed on a case–by-case basis (Omalu 106).
Concussions are on the verge of bringing an end to the NFL. It is seen this way because most former players are filing lawsuits against the NFL. Most of them claim that the NFL has known about concussions for a long time, but they hid the truth comparing it to the cigarettes company. Most former players who have retired consider the NFL to be the biggest enemy of the human health. After Bell left a game leaving a massive chunk of money behind, it has become a clear indicator that the game has been slowly losing its fame. He claims that he values his health more than the money. Money could not cover the damage he would get in case of the brain damage. It has made some players leave the game after knowing the consequences that may occur later in life.