Are concussions acceptable in sports

Wednesday night, Dartmouth-Hitchcock sponsored a panel discussion at SNHU on concussions. I thought the medical profession is finally taking the lead in exposing the dangers of concussions, particularly in football.

I was sadly mistaken. Each of the panel members seemed to be saying that concussions are a given; we as professionals have to learn how to recognize and treat them better.

Some of the comments were along the lines of “we don’t have enough information” even though 110 of 111 brains of professional football players showed evidence of brain damage (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), 90 percent of college players and 21 percent of high school players; “we don’t understand enough about CTE.”

The doctor on the panel said concussions occur in every sport. Of course, but that is not the issue. As the requisite ex-NFL football player on the panel said, helmet to helmet hits happen on every play. Football is the only sport where the use of your head against your opponent is integral to the game. But yet we encourage kids to start playing at an early age – during crucial stages of brain development.

Two weeks ago, former NFL center Ed Cunningham resigned from his role as an ESPN college football analyst due to his concern regarding head injuries. He said, “…but the real crux of this is that I just don’t think the game is safe for the brain.”

After reading the full article on Mr. Cunningham, I can’t imagine any mother letting her kid play the sport.