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Is the NFL Doing Enough to Protect Players from the Long-Term Effects of Concussions? (Op-Ed)

Football is not a safe game. Despite the sport’s widespread appeal, participants should be aware of the risks they face, the most significant of which are physically demanding. While the NFL has taken many steps to ensure player safety throughout the years, certain dangers still exist.

In recent years, worries about concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) have grown within the football world. After their deaths, more than a hundred former NFL players were found to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), further supporting the idea that repetitive blows to the head might cause severe brain damage. Some research suggests that even playing football at a young age increases the likelihood of developing CTE later in life.

The hazards are amplified by the very nature of football. Because of its sensitivity, the brain is easily hurt by powerful blows. Disorientation, headaches, and cognitive impairments—symptoms of concussions—are prevalent in the sport. There has been some success in reducing brain injuries, but the high rate of reported concussions is still reason for worry.

Critiques continue despite the NFL’s efforts to improve player safety. The league’s late recognition of the concussion issue and resulting disputes with the scientific community are seen in the dissolution of collaborations to investigate brain injuries. And there has been a lack of consistency in the use of safety rules, such as the evaluation of concussions and the punishment of risky plays.

There are still major dangers, even though the NFL has changed the laws of the game and prohibited helmet-to-helmet contact. The physical nature of football makes it difficult to guarantee player safety, despite continuous research into improved helmet technology and playing surfaces.  

Several recent events, such the cardiac death of Buffalo Bills defender Damar Hamlin and the repeated head injuries suffered by Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, have brought attention to the seriousness of the issues. The need for thorough safety protocols, such as cardiac checks and injury prevention initiatives, is brought to light by these instances, which go beyond only dealing with concussions.

Making sure football players are safe should be the number one priority. Greater action is required to reduce the hazards of football, even though the NFL has taken steps to combat brain injuries. 

Football has a lot of fans, but we must face the facts about the risks it might cause. This sport should continue to be enjoyed without jeopardizing the health and safety of its players, and the NFL must do more to prevent long-term problems like concussions.

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