NFL reaches concussion settlement



New York Giants’ Odell Beckham hits Carolina Panthers’ Josh Norman after teammate Shane Vereen is tackled by Kurt Coleman and Roman Harper during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015, in East Rutherford, N.J.

Gracie Thies, News Editor

    Concussions have become a growing problem in the sports industry in the past few years. Leagues have taken it upon themselves to change the policy and protocol for athletes that happen to experience the unfortunate brain injury.

     A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head. It can be caused by the violent movement of the head or neck. The symptoms are not extreme but it can result in future psychological problems. Some symptoms include headaches, blackout, fatigue, poor balance, amnesia, disorientation, confusion, nausea, and vomiting. Many doctors will recommend that the patient stay away from bright light and loud noises.

     Athletes have been greatly affected by this injury and it has changed the way that sports games are played. Audiences no longer see the aggressive play that they once watched. Penalties are now enforced on a specific team or player that exhibits extreme force or aggression on any player more than often.

     The penalty results in a fine and possible disqualification for the remainder of the game. It has taken a few years for sports such as football to realize the unstable mental state that a concussion can put an athlete in. There have been players that have died quite possibly of a cause related to a concussion they had when playing football.

     Retirees have tried suing the NFL for the brain injuries they’ve had during and after playing in the NFL. Not all have succeeded, but there is hope now that there is a new settlement. A federal appeals court upheld a $1 billion plan to settle the thousands of concussion lawsuits of former players.

     The settlement will cover over 20,000 retirees for the next 65 years and solve many of the problems that the NFL has set aside. The league estimates that 6,000 players could develop alzheimer’s disease or some form of dementia.

     “Well, I think we’ve seen great leadership from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL executive Jeff Pash on this issue,” said New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. “This is something that concerns all of us. I think the fact that before the season started they were able to get it settled and done. And that’s something that happened in the past — I know how much we’re doing to focus on safety and health issues for all of football.”

     It is unknown if the settlement will fix all the problems that the league is facing with concussions, but it can only improve the state of the retirees that have a mental illness and cannot work.

     At least 25% of concussions fail to get assessed by medical personnel. That is one issue that sports have been trying to fix to avoid more injuries. During a football game, trained medical staff are standing by in the booth to search for any players that might need medical attention, but aren’t making their way off the field.

     It’s hard to be certain if the standards for concussions will improve in the future or if the game will be played any differently than it is now. The future is uncertain for the world of sports and its injuries.

     Now that everyone is aware of the reports of concussions, it’s quite possible that more will be done to ensure the safety of all players.