The Danger of Concussions in Football

November 12, 2013 in Features, Premier League by Daniel Lloyd

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Concussion: A complex pathophysiological process affecting the brain, induced by traumatic biomechanical forces.

Or, in layman’s terms, a mild head injury that includes trauma to the brain, causing possible temporary loss of consciousness. Concussions are a very dangerous thing if not treated properly, and for one reason or another, are becoming more prevalent in football today. Football is quite an odd sport to have an abundance of concussions though, due to most of the play being on the ground, but in the space of eleven games this season we have seen four players having to take time off due to a concussion; most notably Hugo Lloris who missed Tottenham’s game against Newcastle this weekend. Other players who have also had to take time off due to head injuries this season are Andros Townsend and Mathieu Flamini, as well as Nemanja Vidic, who had to be taken off in the match between Arsenal and Manchester United on Sunday.

Vidic Concussion

A lot of other sports do have many concussions occurring on a regular basis. Rugby, American Football and MMA in particular all see people walk away with concussions almost every week. But concussions need to be taken very seriously. If an athlete has a concussion, his brain needs time to heal. A repeat concussion that occurs before the brain recovers from the first—usually within a short time period—can slow recovery or increase the chances for long-term problems. In rare cases, repeat concussions can result in brain swelling or permanent brain damage. They can even be fatal.

So even though Andre Villas-Boas was visibly annoyed that he couldn’t field Hugo Lloris this weekend, it was a necessary loss to the team, even if they did end up suffering for it. The blow that Lloris received from Romelu Lukaku in the previous game was clearly a strong one - Lloris’ head went back like he had been in a car crash - and that was a trauma that definitely needed rest. When athletes try to tough it out, it can prove to hinder them. I know Lloris desperately wanted to play this weekend but if he had and then received another blow - which definitely wouldn’t have needed to have been as strong as the one Lukaku accidentally gave him - he could have been out for an extended period of time. The game Lloris plays is a very dangerous one. As a sweeper keeper he is constantly running out of goal, which is something Tottenham definitely need, as seen in Sunday’s game. But the problem with that is that there is obviously more opportunity for a strong collision.

Rest is very important after a concussion because it helps the brain to heal. After a concussion the torn or stretched brain cells need the body’s energy to heal. So the more energy an athlete uses doing activities, the less energy that goes to help the brain heal.

Now with games like American Football you can easily try to cut out concussions by increasing the padding or strength of helmet they wear. But with football that isn’t an option. The sport would look ridiculous with everybody running around with armour on.

Petr Cech Armour

Bottom line is there really is no way to cut out concussions in football, but managers and players themselves need to adhere to medical guidelines, no matter how frustrating they may be at the time.

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