Concussions and the effects on local football
By Kyle Levasseur
Over 300,000 football related concussions occur annually, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Quinnipiac University professor, Richard Hanley, has studied football throughout his life after playing in college. He says if the sport was created today, it would be banned in the United States.
“Football is a game with a penalty called unnecessary roughness,” Hanley said. “That implies that the nature of the game has necessary roughness.”
Former football player, Andrew Grinde, felt the roughness of the game by suffering multiple concussions while playing for Yale University. He decided to retire from the game when he heard about the possible effects on the brain, after talking to his older brother who studies neuroscience.
“[Football] takes away excellence from the brain. It’s a simple as that,” Grinde said.
Professor Todd Botto teaches athletic training and sports medicine at Quinnipiac after working as an athletic trainer for the football team at Southern Mississippi University. He says that concussions will never go away from football, because while helmets are ideal for protecting against skull fractures, they cannot stop the brain from hitting the inside of a player’s skull which can happen in a collision that has plenty of force.
However, doctors at the University of Alabama at Birmingham are working on developing helmets that dissipate the forces that players put on one another’s heads. The experts are using crash test dummies to simulate collisions, so that each specific position on the football field has a helmet best suited to the hits they face.
Despite the possibilities of concussions in football, there are still players and coaches that point to the positives of football. Connecticut native and Boston College defensive end, Zach Allen, is projected to be signed in the first round of next year’s National Football League draft, according to a CBS mock draft who placed him at eleventh overall. He says money is not the only benefit of playing the game he loves.
“Football teaches people what it means to be part of a team,” Allen said. “The lessons you learn in football - the camaraderie, I think it’s definitely worth it.”
While people may have differing viewpoints on whether or not people should play football, Americans are still watching the sport. Through 12 weeks, NFL games are averaging 15.8 million television viewers, a 5% increase from 2017, according to ESPN.