The NFL must change.
The recent concussion of Tua Tagovailoa proves it.
The concussion protocols are a joke.
Of course they are.
Why would we permit a player who had suffered a concussion to go back out after one to two weeks when we know that a player with a bad sprain or fracture requires four to eight weeks?
What’s going on with a concussion?
The brain is striking the inside of the skull.
Normally you have tissue that suspends the brain and prevents it from striking the skull during normal activity.
When the brain hits the skull the tissue is stretched and weakened. That is why when you suffer one concussion you are more likely to suffer another.
This tissue will repair but it may never repair to the effectiveness it had previously.
Thus there is the need for rest.
In my practice, ideally, I recommend a minimum of six weeks reprieve from sports.
My experience has taught me that the healthy human body repairs itself at a rate of 50% every two weeks. Thus at six weeks of rest the tissues generally achieve a repair effectiveness of 87.5%.
This isn’t perfect, but it’s better than the silly concussion protocol that now exists.
Of course a patients memory and cognition should be tested but only within the context of six weeks rest.
Naturally the NFL doesn’t want that.
It wants its stars to keep playing.
If the stars don’t play, the fans will walk away.
What the NFL needs to do is change its way of play.
Tackling must be banned.
The game must transform itself into some hybrid between soccer, rugby and Irish football.
Concussions must be minimized.
Here’s the thing. It’s not just traumatic encephalopathy that must be prevented but other trauma related injuries as well.
What the NFL is not looking at are the number of dissecting aortic aneurysms that NFL players may be suffering.
You see, the human body is not made for football. It’s not made for two men running into each other at 15 miles per hour.
The additive force of 15 miles per hour is equal to 30 miles per hour on a direct hit.
Yes, the pads cushion some of that blow, but repetitive stress at a combined cushioned force of 15 miles per hour can do a lot of damage over time.
Let’s look at what happens when you fall off a building keeping in mind that each foot of drop equals 1 MPH.
If each story equals 10 feet, then a one story drop yields 10 MPH, two story 20 MPH, and three story 30 MPH.
What happens if you fall one story. Assuming you don’t hit your head, you’ll probably get a bad sprain. You may break a bone.
How about two stories? You’ll break a bone.
How about three stories? You’ll not only break a bone there’s a good chance you’ll die.
How about four stories? I’m sorry, but you are going to die.
Why do we die?
What’s the reason? What’s going on?
We die because the connective tissues that maintain the integrity of our blood vessels fracture.
We don’t die of broken bones. We die because blood vessels rupture. When the blood vessels rupture, we can’t get blood to the vital organs. The blood pools in areas it’s not supposed to pool. Blood pressure drops. Consciousness is lost to the brain. The body dies.
I am arguing that the repetitive trauma that football players suffer is doing damage to the aorta and other vital blood vessels in the body.
Football players are dying early not just because of traumatic brain encephalopathy.
They are dying early for other reasons as well.
The human body is not made for football.
It’s one thing for eight year old boys to run at each other. They can’t run very fast, and they don’t weigh a lot.
It’s a different ballgame with adults. 250 to 300 pound football players do weigh a lot, and they can run fast.
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