The NFL has recently released new stricter concussion guidelines.
The new policy states, in part: “Once removed for the duration of a practice or game, the player should not be considered for return-to-football activities until he is fully asymptotic, both at rest and after exertion, has a normal neurological examination, normal neuropsychological testing, and has been cleared to return by both his team physician(s) and the independent neurological consultant.”
This could be a really good thing.
I am a long-term multiple (mild) Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI or TBI) survivor who experienced assaults, falls, car accidents, sports-related injuries in the 1960s, '70s, '80s, and '90s. My last mild TBI was in 2004, but it was definitely the worst of the lot.
I never received medical treatment for my injuries, some of which were sports injuries (and you have to get back in the game!), but I have been living very successfully with cognitive/behavioral (social, emotional, functional) symptoms and complications since I was a young kid. I’ve done it so well, in fact, that virtually nobody knows that I sustained those injuries… and the folks who do know, haven’t fully realized just how it’s impacted my life.
It has impacted my life, however. In serious and debilitating ways. I’m coming out from behind the shields I’ve put up, in hopes of successfully addressing my own (invisible) challenges and helping others to see that sustaining a TBI is not the end of the world, and they can, in fact, live happy, fulfilled, productive lives in spite of it all.
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8 thoughts on “New NFL concussion guidelines”
Perhaps I am a cynic but I believe that this is just window dressing and legal protection for the NFL. They really have little financial investment in the later years of their players – so if players develop dementia or become suicidal its not their problem. They just want them to play. The culture is such that the players won’t say – hey, I feel odd – so they go right back and play. Look at yourself – you have had how many concussions and didn’t think of any of them as long term consequences. These guys need to make the rule far tighter and far more serious – but that would hurt the profit of the game.
I agree – it does sound like window dressing. But at least it’s a start. The simple fact that they’ve addressed this even a little bit seems like a move in the right direction.
What would really help things, would be if parents and coaches were more vigilant and more protective. And more educated in general. And of course the players should be educated, as well.
As long as that’s not happening, though, there’s only so much you can do. Football is at the very heart of this country, and changing it substantially doesn’t seem that likely.
check this out –
I heard him speak and the images he showed made me think that if I had a son I would tie him up and chain him down before I would let him play football. But that’s me.
It does make you wonder what’s going on in the heads of so many folks walking around, these days… I suspect things may change in the sports scene, over the coming generations. Or maybe they won’t. Unless someone can firmly establish the science around this and communicate it clearly to everyone so they can understand it, vital facts may just fall by the wayside. Still, it’s good to hear he’s out there. I haven’t read his book yet, but now that I’m reading again, I may. Thanks for the tip.
I’m a mother of a 16year old son who loves football and basketball.
His last season he had suffered his 2nd GRADE 3 CONCUSSION in a 11 month period.
He was being told that if he got one more concussion, he would never be able to play sports again. I started to do major research on concussions and mouth guards when I came across your website. My son was fitted for a Maher mouth guard right before the football season begun. In the first game he was hit very hard and as a mom.I was holding my breath to see if he had to come out of the game. He got right up and continued playing. After the game I asked him about that hit and he said “Mom I can’t believe I didn’t feel a thing”
Which ,as the season continued, he said it has helped unbelievable! I have parents coming to talk to me when their child gets a concussion to see what I have learned and what steps for protection I have taken. I truly believe that the Maher mouth guard is 100% the reason my son can continue to play sports. Thank you!
Lombard , IL
Thank you so much for sharing – this is really great information.
I will pass it along to my family members who have kids who play sports and also get concussions.
I will also look into it more and learn about it myself.
Thanks again and good luck to you and your son.
I will look into the Mahler mouth guard – pass this along to some docs I know and see what feedback I get – my instinct here is that a mouth guard can’t protect against knockdown blows to the head, coup contra coup injuries etc. but I don’t know the mechanics of this so I will hold off. Regardless – if your child has a concussion he should be out of the game for at least a week and observed closely for any possible sign of tbi. If s/he has repeated concussions I suggest they consider alternative activities – it’s not worth your life.
I have read about mouthguards protecting against TBI by stabilizing the temporal area of the head. I’m not exactly sure how it works, but I have read some fascinating things. I wish my memory were better – and I had a more diligent bookmarking practice 😉
Speaking from experience, trying to get a kid whose life revolves around sports to give them up — even if it means staying safer — is a pretty tall order. If you can find at least something that helps protect, that is great.
The other thing is, subconcussive hits can add up, to the point where the brain is impacted, even if the player doesn’t feel it. See my post at http://wp.me/pa9lT-OA and check out http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/10/19/091019fa_fact_gladwell?currentPage=all for a full story that will give you food for thought.