The War Against Concussions

Authors: Marcos A. Abreu*(1), Wirt Edwards(2), Brandon D. Spradley(2)

(1) Doctoral student at the United States Sports Academy studying sports management.
(2) Professors at the United States Sports Academy

*Corresponding Author:
Marcos Abreu
Doctoral Student
United States Sports Academy
One Academy Drive
Daphne, Alabama 36526

The game of football, especially at the higher levels, is becoming increasingly dangerous as athletes keep getting bigger, faster, and stronger. The rate at which concussions are occurring is alarming and player safety has become the topic of conversation among sport the community. Since the symptoms and signs of a concussion don’t always appear immediately or appear to be mild at first, the sports community originally assumed that the head injuries weren’t serious. Besides the risk of suffering another concussion, a growing body of research has linked sports concussions with serious long-term effects like depression and memory problems.

To make matters worse, researchers documented that high school and collegiate athletes do not report concussions sustained during football play because they were not aware of the signs and symptoms of a concussion. Furthermore, although the National Football League (NFL) injury report has shown a decrease of head injuries since 2012, PBS FRONTLINE’s Concussion Watch project reported that one-third of all concussions sustained during that time were left off the injury report. As research continues to expose the serious nature of sports concussion, league officials are facing constant scrutiny to change the rules and regulations that govern the game of football.

Although the sport of football has a protocol to assess a player for a concussion, visual inspections could limit the amount of information a health care provider could gather. To address these certain limitations, manufacturers designed football helmets to decrease the forces of impact and engineered technological solutions to better detect head impacts that may cause injury. The purpose of this study is to examine the advancements in concussion detection and prevention, ultimately, providing league officials with recommendations that could help reduce a player’s risk of a concussion. In addition to increasing concussion awareness, this study will support the balance between the adjustment to new concussion research and the sharing of knowledge acquired through research.

Keywords: concussion, concussion evaluation, concussion management, return-to-play, concussion prevention technology, football helmet concussion reducing design.