This month, the Carolina Panthers’ Luke Kuechly joined a growing list of football players forced into early retirement due to injuries after suffering several concussions over the past few years. He is far from the only one. Five months before, the New England Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski retired from the game due to complications from repetitive head trauma. And still more players are becoming aware of one of the greatest dangers of football – an elevated risk of a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
For years, football has enjoyed a lofty status as one of America’s great pastimes. The Super Bowl is just around the corner, and millions of people are looking forward to watching the game this Sunday. But despite football’s continued popularity, growing knowledge about the risk and consequences of traumatic brain injuries has cast a dark shadow over the future of the sport. TBIs have had a long-term impact on multiple football players, and they’re something everyone should take seriously.
The risk of traumatic brain injuries in football players is a significant issue, one the NFL has been accused of not taking seriously. There have been steps to reduce the incidence of TBIs in football players in recent years, including shock-absorbing helmets and increased penalty for helmet to helmet hits. That doesn’t change the fact that football is, at its heart, a game of massive bodies colliding into each other, which creates plenty of opportunities for players to suffer head trauma.