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The issues regarding traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are sensitive especially among sportsmen. This form of injuries is also referred to as intracranial injuries, which occur when the brain receives damages resulting from an external force in a traumatic manner. The researchers categorize TBIs based on the levels, mechanisms (penetrating or closed scapular injuries), severities, and other features including its occurrence either in a particular or a widespread area. Due to these kinds, some journalists have been substantially interested in the research on the recent cases of TBIs of American players, notably a recent one concerning the National Football League (NFL). Their research goes further to analyze the resultant harm caused by TBIs to these players, the roles of the physicians in treating and administering advice as well as the actions taken by the league officials to counter the injuries. TBI in the sporting area is a menace as it may result in missing games, early retirement or worse, death. Thus, this paper aims at summarizing and discussing the article “40% of Former NFL Players Had Brain Injuries”. Moreover, the relation between the article and the Part 4 of the Applied Final Project as well as different types of information learned from these sources will be explained.
Alice Park from the Time in her article “40% of Former NFL Players Had Brain Injuries”, seeks to define the connection NFL players have with traumatic brain injuries. Her analysis further concerns the players’ attitude to playing the game and consequent chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which is a chronic brain disorder. Park suggests that earlier research was inadequate to provide connections between the two since most cases of TBI and CTE were diagnosed among deceased players. Nonetheless, due to the improved research and technology, the scientists such as Dr. Frank Conidi conclude that approximately 40% of the game’s former players showed the signs of irregular brain activity. Consequently, these findings were covered in a journal presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s yearly meeting. Further cognitive tests on these former players revealed that nearly half of them had severe difficulties with executive functions including solving tasks, reasoning, planning, and attention while the others had problems with memory and grasping new ideas.
Conidi’s research analyzed 40 former football players who had a career of seven years on average and had quit playing before the fifth year. Brain images taken using sophisticated MRI scan showed that 43% had damage to the brain's white matter (this section is responsible for nerve cells connections among various regions). However, the extent of the damage was dismissible and could not be regarded as a TBI. 30% of the former players had long arms disruptions “neurons use to communicate with each other” – such compromised neuron connections resulted in brain disorders and poor brain health (Park, 2016). Furthermore, the article suggests that the longer players stayed in the league playing, the more susceptible they were to show signs of TBI. Noteworthy, a player’s number of concussions was not linked directly to the severity of the TBI under the MRI scans. These findings, according to Conidi, presume that the strong hits on the player were not causing the brain damage, but because of the repetitive and cumulative banging that resulted in the severity of the injury.
Notably, Conidi’s research re-establishes that football was not the reason of brain injury but rather was a part of a bigger puzzle still being solved and, therefore, it should not be blamed. Furthermore, the findings suggest that not all individuals with the signs of brain injury ultimately developed severe disorders including dementia, discrepancies cerebral functions, and headaches. His research offers recommendations to the players, parents, and coaches on implementation the ways of reducing the traumas either by limiting contact during the play or by eliminating it. Moreover, the article advocates for additional future research on the consequences of contact sports on brain injuries. To fight the TBI menace entirely, Conidi admits that various pieces of the puzzle require solving to tackle the problem as a whole.
Notably, the Part 4 of the Applied Final Project is closely related to the pop article discussed. The research evaluates a current aspect of health care basing its focus primarily on sports individuals. According to Frontline, a sports website that specializes in NFL-related topics, “87 outof 91 former NFL players have tested positive for the brain disease.” Undoubtedly, there is an urgent need for society to understand certain health issues that affect populations, thereby, analyzing and solving these problems plays a crucial role in technological and medical advancements (Breslow, 2016).In the past, there have been cases of former players, especially those from the NFL, complaining about head injuries and disorders including TBI and CTE. Many of the concerned parties involving the former players themselves, coaches, and relatives have on numerous occasions sought for answers and compensation to cater for the medical bills. In addition, the league itself has attempted to find the ways to counter the menace of these disorders but could not do so due to limited researches and the technological advancements of that time. Noteworthy, this article has assisted in answering some of the questions including the relationship between contact sports and brain injuries.
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However, Park’s article fails to analyze the effects of TBIs particularly on contact sports that do not involve much head banging such as rugby and soccer. Since rugby and soccer do not require as much head contact as American football, the need to understand whether a relationship exists between these sports and brain injuries is still essential. Notably, both rugby and soccer do have instances of head concussions when players collide with each other. Moreover, during soccer there is the continuous hitting of the ball using one’s head, referred to as ‘header’, whereas in rugby players touch each other’s head during a scrum. The data collected by Conidi and his team fails to consider such aspects noting that the research targets sports individuals. Perhaps, Conidi should have added a section of comparative analysis for the three most common contact sports, then, with the help of the findings he could realize if any trends existed depending on the game.
Evidently, Park’s article is an essential resource as it analyzes both qualitative and quantitative information regarding the relationship between American football as a sport and traumatic brain injuries. Quantitatively, the report provides figures that offer a scope of the issue. Noting the certain percentages, for example, 43% of the respondents had damage to the brain’s white matter and 30% of them had long arm disruptions “neurons use to communicate with each other,” proves how grim the situation is. Moreover, the article utilities qualitative data and information including the facts showing the underlying causes of TBI and CTE. Concidi notes that among NFL players, the big concussions are not a necessary result of the brain disorders but they rather occur from cumulative and repetitive hits to the head. In addition, Concidi states that not all the individuals who played the contact sport and had brain injuries ultimately developed serious disorders including dementia, discrepancies cerebral functions, and headaches. Finally, both the pop article and the empirical news story serve positive purposes to this research and can be utilized to develop the future theses.
In conclusion, current and former players, health practitioners, coaches, and parents are facing the predicament of dealing with traumatic brain injuries. The need to resolve these issues is an adamant one requiring combined efforts of the involved parties. These injuries are a menace to sport as they lead to players’ missing the matches, early retirements, and death. In addition, the research concludes that the involved parties ought to discuss the efficient measures that could assist in evading or eliminating such injuries and consequent disorders. Nonetheless, as studies on traumatic brain injuries have not fully explored their root causes, the future research is vital to connect the rest of the puzzle and provide the full-proof results.