The History Of TBI In The NFL
The NFL has been under attack because of the well documented number of brain injuries athletes are dealing with, and the long-term health problems that come from them. I’ve spoken about it before, and the problem isn’t going to be solved soon. The very nature of football is having men ranging around 300 pounds crashing into each other and it causes lots of injuries.
The National Football League has stayed steadfast through all of this claiming they provide the best safety precautions possible for their players, and that players “knew the risk.” Ta-Nehisi Coates, senior editor for The Atlantic, thinks they haven’t been as forthcoming and proactive as they like to claim to be.
Coates collected a relative history of brain injury issues in the NFL, including notable cases. The first entry on the list is the story of Al Toon who suffered five concussions in six weeks during 1992 while playing. Initially he said he wouldn’t retire, but within a week Toon quit the game saying “I feel better sitting still than moving around. I get real tired. Things I normally help with around the house, I can’t.”
Toon’s story is the beginning of the NFL dealing with TBI, and they responded by saying concussions are simply an occupational hazard of the sport. You would think they would know better by now, but they have rejected American Academy of Neurology guidelines for concussed athletes, done everything they can to shift responsibility for initiating protocol guidelines, and allowed players to put themselves in positions of huge danger over and over again.