I am a Colorado native and have grown up cheering hard for the Denver Broncos. The NFL season opener kicked off last Thursday night (9/8/16) with a rematch of last year’s Superbowl contenders; the world champion Denver Broncos vs. the Carolina Panthers! It was a great season opener as each team battled back and forth for the lead. Ultimately the Broncos prevailed to a 21-20 victory! Go team!
However the much anticipated win was soon flooded with controversy concerning the barbaric punishment Cam Newton (Carolina’s Quarterback) faced from Denver’s defense, and the lack of medical attention he received throughout the game concerning the head to head blows. Numerous questions were and still are being raised about not only Carolina’s medical staff but how the trained NFL spotter (whose only job is to watch for players who might have sustained a concussion) failed to act accordingly! Was the team’s potential victory worth more than the health and safety of one their athletes?
A concussion is considered to be a traumatic brain injury. It can greatly alter someone’s orientation and they do not have to lose consciousness in order for it to be diagnosed as a concussion. One of the main mechanisms of injury for a concussion includes a direct impact or blow to the head. Concussions have been an extremely hot topic over the past 15 years. The medical world has learned so much in regards to diagnosing, treating, and the lifelong impacts of multiple sustained concussions.
A study conducted by Kevin Guskiewicz who is renown concussion expert from the University of North Carolina looked at thousands of retired professional NFL players who sustained concussions during their career and their quality of life after retiring. Of the 2,000+ players he researched he concluded that 61% had sustained at least one concussion and 24% had sustained 3 or more concussions! He also noted that in the players who had 3 or more concussions they reported 5 times as higher as being diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment.They also had a 3 times higher incidence of self reported memory problems compared those players who did not sustain concussions. Guskiewicz concluded that an early on set of dementia symptoms might be initiated by repeated concussions sustained in the National Football League.
For more information here is a LINK to Guskiewicz’s article from Neurosurgery
Concussions are an extremely hot topic right now and I am glad the NFL is beginning to take steps to protect their players. However, I believe it is inexcusable to allow a players health to be compromised because of who they are or how close the game is when a victory is on the line. I am glad the NFL is taking action to review these hits and Go Broncos!
UPDATE: Since the conclusion of the game Thursday night numerous media outlets and articles have been composed calling out the lack of medical attention Cam Newton received in regards to all of the head hits he sustained. An article from The Denver Post states that “both the NFL and the NFL players association are going to investigate the implementation of the concussion protocol” (http://www.denverpost.com/2016/09/11/panthers-cam-newton-hits-broncos-investigate/). There were four hits that were aimed at Newton’s head, and only one hit was penalized. The NFL has since determined that two of those hits were bad enough to sustain fines. Brandon Marshall was fined $24,000 where as Darian Stewart received an $18,000 fine.