More and more every league year, we hear more and more about concussions. We see sites that leave us as fans, the owners, and the players themselves speechless. There are two hits from last season that are clear as day in my mind from last season. The Philadelphia Eagles played the Atlanta Falcons and on what looked like a short little dump pass to DeSean Jackson turned out to be a severely violent and dangerous hit. Jackson missed two games and a bye week. What he misses in games isn't important but what is important is the after effects of what people will in the future.
A recent study from the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL has revealed some interesting information.
Take the hop to learn.
As I was saying, a recent research project of the Stampeders of the CFL interests me. Now get your jokes out of the way about the CFL and your "eh" comments because it is irrelevant eh?
I work at a radio station and produce a sports talk show, and a discussion during the show is what inspired me to write this. Former Calgary Stampeder, Greg Peterson, was in studio speaking about his brother Brent Peterson who is a former NHL player for the Nashville Predators. Peterson said that his brother through his eleven year career suffered through what he guessed was nine or ten concussions without sitting out of games. Today Brent Peterson has Parkinson's disease. Brent will not admit it but Greg says he knows that the reason for having the disease is from playing through the concussions. Brent Peterson played pro hockey from 1979-1989 so of course the medical knowledge was not as advanced as it is today.
In Greg Peterson's CFL career, he admitted to have a few concussions of his own. The coaches would tell Greg after he had thrown up "here just take a couple aspirin. Throwing up is normal after concussion, you will be fine."
Anywho, on to the research project by the Stampeders. A new crown that goes around the inside of the helmet measures the amount of times that player takes to the head during the game. After the game, what the Stampeders can do is plug the helmet into a computer and measure the amount of his, the speed and how much force was applied.
Stampeders medical director Pat Clayton says "The number of hits these guys take in any game is very high. Offensive lineman average out between 86 and 92. That's a lot of hits to the head."
Of course not all the hits are of the concussion type but it is still a lot of hits to the head that are dangerous and with the data they can figure out how many hits are being taken and at what speed.
These helmets cost around $1000 compared to the $300 for a regular helmet. Most of the eight CFL teams are using the helmets now . The team is now having running back John Cornish wear the special helmet for the rest of his career because he has had concussions previously and they want to see the effects since the possibilities of him having another are high.
The helmet information has been useful already. Former star quarterback Dave Dickenson in the league had to retire earlier than he wished because of several concussions. After several concussions and one light knee to the head that delivered the final blow he had no choice but to call it quits.
Leigh Steinberg is a concussion expert. He has held concussion summits to raise awareness of the problems. Steinberg recalled a conversation he had with Troy Aikmen after the 1994 NFC Championship.
Aikman: "Did we play a football game today?’’
Aikman: "How did we do?’’
Steinberg: "You did well.’’
Aikman: "What does that mean?’’
Steinberg: "You’re going to the Super Bowl.’’
Five minutes later, Aikman had a few more questions.
"Did we play a football game today?’’
"How did we do?’’
"What does that mean?’
And Five minutes later, the same thing. Clearly, Aikmen's mild concussion had memory loss. Aikmen had to retire due to concussion problems. There are endless examples. Andre Waters, a former NFL defensive back committed suicide. Months later doctors discover the suicidal behaviour was partly due to brain damage on the football field. Another example from this past year. Dave Duerson, a former bear player this past year commit suicide and again, months later was discovered he had brain trouble. Yet, the NFL wants an 18 game schedule!?
Steinberg thinks the NFL needs to do the following:
- Require teams to test the neurocognitive state of each player, which would allow physicians to see how levels changed after head-related injuries.
- Leave medical experts in charge of determining whether players should return to the field rather than allowing players who feel obligated to play through the pain to return.
- Require neurological experts to be on the field to evaluate players after head-related injuries.
- Educate players and other officials on the dangers of concussions, thereby forcing all stakeholders to take the issue more seriously.
- Memory loss
- Blurred vision