Junior Seau was one of the best middle linebackers in the NFL during his 20 playing years, amassing over 1,500 tackles, and delivering an insurmountable number of hits. In 2011, shortly after retiring, he abruptly committed suicide by shooting himself. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) conducted a study on Seau’s brain and diagnosed him with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease caused by repeated head trauma (Pilon and Belson). Seau is among countless other former players whose careers’ of playing football changed their lives forever. Former quarterback Terry Bradshaw told USA Today about how poor his mental health has become. He says, “I couldn’t focus and remember things, and I was dealing with depression” (Breslow, “NFL Concussions: The 2013-14 Season in Review”). Seau’s death and Bradshaw’s decline link to a growing epidemic in today’s sports: concussions. Recently, concussions increased in contact sports, specifically football (Breslow, “What We’ve Learned from Two Years of Tracking Concussions”). This increase, along with better awareness and pressure from lawsuits and the media, led to research for better concussion diagnostic technology and rule changes in football. Concussions and the effects associated with them forced football to evolve, for the better.
A concussion is “a brain injury caused by a force to the head or direct force to the face, neck or chest” (“Comprehensive Concussion Center”). These traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) frequently occur in contact sports. Andrew E. Lincoln’s research on concussion incidence in high school showed concussions consistently increased in these sports, but most notably football. His study also showed, “Concussions increased 4.2 fold over th...
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...E., et al. "Trends in Concussion Indidence in High School Sports." American Journal of Sports Medicine. American Journal of Sports Medicine, 29 Jan. 2011. Web. 12 May 2014.
"New NFL Rules Designed to Limit Head Injuries." NFL.com. National Football League, 6 Aug. 2010. Web. 13 May 2014.
Pilon, Mary, and Ken Belson. "Junior Seau's Death Classified as a Suicide." New York Times. New York Times, 10 Jan. 2013. Web. 18 May 2014.
Vrentas, Jenny. "Where the Game Is Headed." The MMQB with Peter King. Time, 25 Oct. 2013. Web. 19 May 2014.
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