In America, football is a game that brings people together. In the National Football League, 32 teams come out to play every Sunday, Monday, and Thursday to bring cheer to homes, stadiums and as a country. The love of football is in the hearts of boys and adult men that hope to one day be part of the NFL and play professionally. Football is not only a sport but it is also a career that many kids grow up to pursue. Football is part of many athletes department for elementary, middle and high schools; even in the majority of college/universities football is huge in the sports department. Football is a sport that always brings positivity to every person that experience playing on the field to those that watch and supports it. However, many people that see players get hit they have the thought of players being strong headed and built to go through those hits, but, never do they think very deeply on how these hits can affect a players head. These physical injuries can impact a player’s mentality, emotions, and physical abilities that with the skull and brain become damage they will recover but never be that same person.
There is a widespread debate on whether football should be played since it brings physical injuries, the major one as concussions to players that become long-term effects it has on a player’s life. There is also, a large number of studies that have been done to prove that the long-term effects that hit in football can do to players when they age and how their whole body start to malfunction and downgrade so quickly that it causes many to fall into depression and suicidal. There is even a documentary of the controversy that has dealt with football being a dangerous sport to play, however, many of those researchers dealing with banning football end up on the losing side because their research verifies a few football players going through effects and not the large proportion of football players going through those certain effects.
Having an interest in football and how my family history has dealt with football players I decided to go into the research mind of how a concussion can affect a football player with the large number of hits to the head and the impact it has on the brain and the physical ability as a player and as a normal human being. During my research, I found two articles that describe the study and experiments that researchers designed in order to find more information on how a collision in football can cause a concussion and head injuries to the skull and brain. As researching and witnessing the different experiments that dealt with a concussion I have noticed some flaw evidence with these experiments and how the results may or may not have impacted those flaw evidence to releasing a new result and conclusion dealing with concussions on football players.
In the first article that I found during my search for the different experiences of the impact, concussions have on a player. It is called, “Sub-Concussive Hit Characteristics Predict Deviant Brain Metabolism in Football Athletes” this article deals with the test of the metabolism of the brain. They test it on 25 high school football athletes and determine through the full force pressure with helmet to helmet contact can cause concussion and malfunction the way the brain operates in the body. Their hypothesis or theory when trying this experiment out is how much damage does collisions do to the brain and the effects of the number of blows to the head to be certain that a player has been impacted by a concussion. The purpose of the experiment “seeks to determine whether head collision histories can serve as meaningful predictors of sub-concussive changes in brain metabolism for athletes in play and whether the accumulation of these hits can lead to moving chronic injuries” (pg. 13). They use 25 students from each of the two high schools; the study was a two-year process in finding out whether concussions at a young age can be impacted by the sub-concussive blows to the head.
During the two year process, they monitor in two different ways in order to gain result from these football players. The first monitoring is towards the players, they go through one assessment session during the Pre-Season and regular season. This process was done in 4 four to six weeks. The flaw during this monitoring process is that the 25 players that were tested, they volunteered. They could be healthy and have no problem compared to other football players that may have a different result if they have health problems. Also, in football, there are many different positions and some players go through the different amount of hits compared to others. In the article, it doesn’t specify these athletes’ positions and the number of blows they have to the head compared to others that are doing the test and others on the team.
In the article as quoted, “HITS telemetry data identify relationships to deviations from baseline in MRS-measured metabolic concentrations (calculated as In-season – Preseason). Significant predictors for each model were forwarded to a mixed model, adjusted for team and year of data collection, with subject treated as a repeated variable with compound symmetric variance” (pg. 14). The “HIT” is Head Impact Telemetry System that the number of nerves being injured in the player’s brain and the number of blows that happened on the field. The Telemetry calculates the time and location when the blow hit the body and the level of the hit. In this monitoring, the study was flawed in a way because the machine cannot tell whether it’s to the brain or somewhere else. It just calculates the blow hit to the structure of the body. This could be false information when dealing with blows to the body. When getting tackled in football it’s towards the body and sometimes the head. However, the scan in the machine doesn’t tell whether it’s the body and the head because in the results it does not identify that the machine can tell whether it’s a hit to the head and be a cause to a concussion, when it could be to the body and causing other injuries to the body as well.
In the next article that I found during my research is, “An Analogue Study of the Psychological and Psychosocial Processes Associated with Post-concussion Symptoms” in the article it goes into details on Self-report questionnaires assessing Post-Concussion Symptoms (PCSx) and variables that were associated within the questionnaire to determine the psychosocial behavior of an individual. The hypothesis that was established in this experiment was if the PCSx was not mentioned in the questions that the control variable in the experiment would be less contradicting to the independent variable. All participants that were part of the experiment all had some type of dysfunction dealing with the brain, and the expectation and clinical groups underestimated past PCSx. The purpose of the study is, “The study examined the role of expectation in reporting of PCSx, the nature of associated psychological and psychosocial difficulties, and the “good-old-days” phenomenon. Forty-five healthy participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups: (1) a control group or (2) an expectation group who were asked to perform as if they had experienced a mild traumatic brain injury. Fourteen psychiatric patients comprised the clinical group” (pg. 210). During these experiments, they use the material to design this experiment that players that had been or gone through depression or anxiety they were more likely to be chosen in participating in the experiment. This is flawed because it takes away from the concussion symptoms of how the blow to the head and mentality of the person causes them to go into depression and anxiety. Choosing those that have been depressed and anxiety over something other than football and the number of blows and cause the results dealing with concussions false.
During the method stage of the experiments, as stated, “Forty-five healthy volunteers, who had never suffered from a psychiatric, neurological, or serious health condition, were randomly assigned to one of two groups, the normal control group or the expectation group. The normal control group comprised of 21 participants (9 males, 12 females), and the expectation group was made up of 24 participants (2 males, 22 females)” (pg. 11). With the amount of participates during this process allowed the proportion of those that were going through problems and had a concussion with playing football valid.
One of the flawed information that occurred during this test and it may have impacted the result and outcome of things. During this process and in the article it explains the history of the participant and their experiments. As quoted, “The Attribution Style Questionnaire measures explanatory attribution across three dimensions: internal versus external, stable versus unstable, and global versus specific. The ASQ is comprised of 12 hypothetical events: half good and half bad, and the participants are asked to imagine that they are in the situation described. For each event, they are required to nominate the major cause of the event across the three dimensions.” (pg. 211) this causes information about concussion and the effects false. Because the history of a person depends on the history of how long they have played football. When going into the past of an individual can cause false information and feedback because all these problems that caused them to be affected in some way could be some other health problem and difficulty compared to the effect football collision can have on that person.
In conclusion, when doing these experiments dealing with football players and the long-term effects it has when being diagnosed with a concussion. There are small details that can be changed in the experiment that change the result as a whole. Concussions happen in football that can affect the brain of a player in a way that researchers have proven when designing experiments and proving the affects it has on the body and the mind. Football will always be a widespread debate dealing with concussions and if the sport should be banned because of the dangerous effects it has on a player during their career and the long-term effects that can cause them to be depressed and be suicidal.