Concussions should not be taken lightly

Concussions+should+not+be+taken+lightly

Pure silence is eerie at any sporting event, particularly at a football game. On Sep. 29, Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa lay motionless on the field after taking a big hit. It is believed that the week prior, Tagovailoa suffered a concussion—a brain injury caused by a hit to the head—and shouldn’t have been playing in the game. During a game from the week before, Tagovailoa took another big blow but got up quickly. After he was back on his feet, Tagovailoa wobbled and nearly fell again, prompting the Dolphins’ coaching staff to get his head looked at.

After halftime, Tagovailoa went back into the game and did nothing out of the ordinary and Miami won. It was debated all week whether the Dolphins’ quarterback should’ve played after halftime. The reasoning to keep him out of the next game had even more merit due to the fact that Miami’s next game was on Thursday—earlier than the usual Sunday—making it a short week for the players. As shown that day, it was clear that the move to start him was the wrong one. 

Many doctors would describe a concussion as a “mild” brain injury, but even so, it’s not to be taken lightly. While the short-term effects aren’t too serious, it is still an injury to the brain. According to the CDC, the long-term effects of a concussion include many cognitive issues, such as memory loss and coordination issues. Obviously, this is not something anyone would want to have happen to them and it’s sad to see how often an injury like this occurs in the NFL. Throughout the past seven years, NFL players have averaged around 228 concussions per year.

Seeing what happened at the Dolphins’ game, my perspective changed. Concussions can be dangerous injuries, especially considering that they affect the brain. It’s scary for me to think about the possible consequences of a head injury.”

The normal concussion protocol in the NFL is for the player to leave the game and then not play the following week. This usually means Sunday to Sunday. Tagovailoa was hurt on Sunday and played the following Thursday, which is not the way it should go. I had never felt strongly about concussions; all I thought was, “Good move to sideline them for a week. Keep them safe.” Seeing what happened at the Dolphins’ game, my perspective changed. Concussions can be dangerous injuries, especially considering that they affect the brain. It’s scary for me to think about the possible consequences of a head injury.

I found another example of football players getting concussions in the simplest way possible: At an FHC football game. In the regional final against East Lansing, the Trojans had a player named Dorian Jackson, who slammed his head on the turf following a dropped pass. It seemed as though he was temporarily unconscious. I assumed his game was over, but after halftime, Jackson was back in the game. This shocked me. Even though this was an elimination game, it was stunning to see a player rushed back into the game as he was. Jackson caught a pass right after halftime and got up shakily, wobbling as he stood up. As my dad and I left the game, we decided that the worst that could’ve happened to Jackson was far worse than losing the game.

Head injuries are serious. That much is clear. The side effects are frightening and serious, and never something that should be just given a once-over by a doctor. Brain injuries are more than physical ailments, they’re life-altering.