The National Football League (NFL) not only influences its internal employees and players. The NFL also influences fans of all ages and other football organizations throughout America. As a result, the nation looked to the NFL when it became increasingly apparent that repeated trauma in football tends to lead to long-term consequences of brain injury in professionals, amateurs and children alike.
Approximately four million kids and teens play football in America annually. A significant percentage of these youngsters sustain concussions and other brain trauma while playing their sport. Unfortunately, the problem seems to be getting worse rather than better. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American kids have experienced a 60 percent increase in requiring treatment for head trauma over the last decade.
In an effort to help combat the issue of head trauma among young players, the NFL and its development partner USA Football have created a program aimed at teaching high school players proper, safe tackling technique. However, this effort will not likely solve the issue of brain trauma among young and experienced players. After all, NFL players are taught proper tackling technique and more than 265 pro players suffered concussions in 2011 alone.
Due to this disconnect, many are questioning whether the NFL is taking its place as a national role model seriously. Though the league has made efforts to increase awareness about brain trauma and injury prevention, these efforts have been relatively limited. Parents and coaches beware, serious preventative measures need to be taken in order to protect young athletes from head trauma. Please be more conscientious in your own efforts than the NFL has so-far.
Source: Pacific Standard, "The public relations of brain injury," Joseph Lapin, Dec. 14, 2012