Concussions are no light topic. Having suffered more than one myself, I can honestly say that they can be scary, especially when memory is involved. It has been long known that contact sports can cause serious head injuries. In fact, the American public has been aware of this fact since the late 19th century, as in, the 1800’s. Yet despite this awareness the so-called “concussion crisis” is not as big of an issue as it should be. In the week before the Super Bowl, Emily Harrison recently wrote an article in light of the publicity around the incident of ball-deflating where she states that while the news was blowing up over whether or not one competing team purposely deflated balls, there was an even bigger issue that was going virtually unnoticed. People who were appalled at the frenzy of attention to so trivial a matter advocated that the big hullabaloo was in all actuality a means of distracting from the major issues involving the NFL; namely, concussions and law suits regarding head injuries.
The crisis of concussions and the effects of such injuries has been pushed under the rug repeatedly over the years by the politicking of the NFL. In fact, this has been a recurring problem over the last hundred or so years because of the covering up by football’s supporters. There are current studies of head injuries in football, but similar studies were going on during the Progressive Era when football boomed as a sport. In the process of trying to legitimize football as an American sport, the problem of injuries has been forgotten over and over again.
Nowadays there are advocacy groups that are striving to prioritize public awareness and make it an issue rather than a hushed-up topic. This form of organization did not exist in the past. Thankfully as a result, the issue of concussions is no longer just a concern for collegiate-level sports; it is now a “public health problem whose impact has spread across the population and raised particular alarm for its effects on children.” These advocacy groups and everyday citizens are working hard to keep clear eyes on the honest goal of risk reduction. Many people who look past the sport itself, the industry, and its popularity will continue to advocate for safety instead of submitting to the media stream that keeps the sport alive.