Congress continues to focus attention on the high incidence of traumatic brain injuries and subsequent brain dysfunction in current and former NFL players.
Representative John Conyers, D-Michigan, recently declared that, ‘We need an expeditious and independent review of all the data,’ an Associated Press article reported. Conyers said, ‘I say this not simply because of the impact of these injuries on the 2,000 current players and more than 10,000 retirees associated with the NFL and their families,’ ‘¦ ‘I say it because of the effect on the millions of players at the college, high school and youth levels,’ he added.
While some members of congress, including Representative Lamar Smith from Texas, feel that football is an issue best left alone by the government, Conyers believes it is the government’s duty to scrutinize the potential dangers of football and make it safer for American citizens.
The NFL has take action in relation to the heightened government attention and subsequent public awareness of brain injuries incurred in football. The NFL promised to provide free medical care to 56 former players who suffer from various brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and memory related problems. The NFL also provides the 88 Plan, which gives up to $88,000 per year for medical care for players who suffer from brain-related disorders.
NFL scientists recently conducted a study at the University of Michigan that found a potentially higher than normal rate of Alzheimer’s disease and memory related disorders in retired football players. The author of the study noted that further research would be necessary before declaring a conclusive link between football and brain dysfunction.
The NFL has established a hotline for players who feel they’re being pressured into playing before they have fully recovered from brain injuries. A doctor’s OK is required before any NFL player is allowed to play after a concussion.
Much further research and attention will be dedicated to the study of traumatic brain injury and brain related disorders in retired football players as the sport matures and more accurate data is gathered and analyzed. American culture may be forced to reconsider the costs involved in many of its favorite pastimes, from war to football, to keep healthy the brains of its citizenry.
Associated Press. (October 28, 2009). ‘Conyers wants review of football head injury data.’ Retrieved December 15, 2009 from the Long Island Press website:http://www.longislandpress.com/2009/10/28/conyers-wants-review-of-footba…