When asked in a recent interview about his stance on the increasing rate of concussions in football, President Barrack Obama made the comment that he would have to seriously consider allowing his son (if he had a son) to play football at any non-professional level due to the fact that concussions do not seem to be taken nearly as serious as they are at the NFL level (Anderson, 2012).
The NFL has enforced their penalties on professional athletes that give a hard hit to the head of another athlete. The NFL has also implemented safety policies that are for the athletes’ receiving the hard hits to the head. Fines have been established to severely penalize those who violate the “helmet-to-helmet” policies and athletes who are injured or receive a hard hit to the head are removed immediately from the game and are evaluated on the sideline for any concussion-like symptoms. NFL players who display symptoms of a concussion are held out for the remainder of the game and the following week’s game as well.
I understand President Obama’s stance on concussions; the negative side effects of athletes receiving repeated blows to the head are indisputable. On the other hand, NFL players are greatly compensated for their performance and know very well the risk they are putting themselves in when they step out on the field. Every football player signs the “dotted line” that states they understand the risks they are taking when they play the sport.
Football is a collision sport; Injuries have always been a part of football and will continue to be. But will the awareness of concussions change the way the game of football is played in the future as it relates to education or rule implementation/enforcement? Will the serious attitudes toward concussions in the NFL filter down to the collegiate level? Will the NCAA mandate any of the policies currently enforced by the NFL? The health and welfare of football players must be of utmost concern if the sport is to lower the rates of concussions.