Are Football Players Doomed to Suffer from Neurological Disorders, with Ageing? | My Paper Hub
footballers are often exposed to the risk of developing various neurological
problems. In fact, those problems are likely to crop up at a very young age.
Many football clubs and associations are concerned about the same because they
management system may have to deal the consequences of the medical condition,
raise due to the neurological issues. The problems are also in reflected on the
footballers’ performance, as they mature. In fact, several talented and skilled
players are bound to opt for early retirement due to the same. Hence, it is a
major problem for the sport management, as well. The experts proclaim that the
traumatic brain injury is the number one cause of the neurological problems.
After all, they are explicitly prone to repetitive head trauma. On the other
hand, in comparison to the amateurs, the professional athletes are the top-most
victims of CTE, i.e., chronic traumatic encephalopathy from several brain
injuries and concussions. The record says that almost 3.8 million cases occur
in United States, each year. At times, these injuries become the cause of
early-retirement, for a large number of footballers. In this research paper, it
will be analyzed how the athletes become victims of various injuries during
their matches, especially in the football tournaments. The regular
professionals are prone to higher rate of nerve damage than others. On the
other hand, it is also the responsibility of the football clubs’ management to
look after wellness of theirs. It is due to the rate of decreasing talented
football players, for severe nerve damages.
Statement of the problem
issue is important because only a handful of young players are participating in
this genre. On the contrary, best of the professional players are also deciding
to take early retirements. Thus, the entire industry is under strict scrutiny,
due to the mentioned reasons. Alternatively, the early researches have made the
footballers as well as the managements aware about concussions. As a result,
further researches are required to find a missing link between the
early-retirement rates and neurological conditions of the football players. The
issue had already been studied by many scholars, previously. However, they have
been instrumental in highlight the fact, merely, in bits and pieces.
Resultantly, there is still a scope for researching on the topic. It will also
help the football associations to take adequate precautions while the players
are on the field, so as to avert the risk of getting major injuries in any part
of their bodies.
History of concussion
related to sports has surged in the past era. One of the biggest reasons for
discontinuing sports participation is neurological disorders. There are many
life-altering inferences because of it. The risk enhances when young athletes
get injured in the fields. On the contrary, the healing capacity and condition
determine the decision to retire. For instance, if the patients recover fast
then chances of getting selected for future tournaments boosts, while delayed
or complicated cases are deemed to ruin an athlete’s sport career. Fainaru and
Fainaru-Wada (2014) stated, sometimes, the management teams remain biased about
their favorite players and that is why, it is more complicated for the
neurologically injured ones to come back in the leagues. Hence, it is also
devastating for their careers. Conversely, the footballers oftentimes give head
blows. Right from the high school, college players to the National Football
League, it is quite evident. Thus, a link can be established between the brain
diseases, which are largely neurological in nature and the head blows. Even
similar symptoms can be seen for the boxers and soldiers. Many reports claim
that the NFL players such as Ralph Wenzel, Ken Stabler, Bubba Smith, and also
Dave Duerson encountered similar problems. Another player Frank Wainright also
died from bleeding in his brain, thereby leading to heart attack. Before his
death, for the last 8 years he undergone frightening symptoms of behavioral
changes, memory loss, and confusion. The time when Wainright played, league was
more lenient regarding the formulation of rules and regulations, in regards to
the concussions. In fact, many cases of concussions occurred during his time.
Not only the players have to go through the episodes of depressions but also
their families are drastically affected by it. The researchers of Brain bank
documented that the high school players aged within the 18 years often
displayed various symptoms of CTE or the medical condition itself. Other cases
of retirement can also be seen. For example, Chris Borland decided to leave
football, as his career to avoid the risk of acquiring nothing but a fatal
brain disease. At times, other severe neurological problems can also crop up
abruptly. Interestingly, he decided to leave the field after going through a
report on neurological diseases and their connections with the football career,
as discussed by AAOS (2018). For instance, he found that a causal link
definitely exists between the degenerative brain disease and the head injuries,
manifested from the football rounds. His decision was explicitly supported by
the teammates, concussion researchers, family and friends. In his interview
with the ESPN, he proclaimed that it is not worthy risking health for the sake
of his passion, football. Borland also announced that he would rather enjoy a
healthy life of higher tenure instead of dying young from any fatal
neurological disease, according to Rettner (2015). Arguably, it also portrays
that the management members of the leagues and football associations must
choose to give their players best of safety precautions to pursue career in the
same stream, without causing any major threat to their health. Growing
awareness amongst the players, researchers, and the family members of the
athletes may compel the sports managers to opt for better management systems,
in order to make the athletes secured in this field.
It can be seen from
the above-arguments that the football’s future is extremely uncertain. The
sports itself has become a subject of scrutiny, due to its disadvantageous
façade. A damaged brain can be price that a player pays for his or her passion
for football. Annual figure of sports-related concussions is somewhere in the
range of 1.7 to 3.9 million. Every season, the football players also suffer
from sub-concussive and small injuries. They are mild shocks which shake the
brains, to a smaller extent. However, those hits are not potent enough to rise
above the full-blown concussion levels. Some of the consequences that are
short-term include the fatigue, confusion, memory loss, and headache. In
majority of the cases, these problems resolve within a few days. The research
suggests otherwise, as stated by Tanner (2017). Even though the symptoms may
subside yet their residue lingers in the nerves of brain, for a long time. They
are extensively held responsible for the cause of psychiatric and neurological
problems, in the latter part of their lives.
lawmakers and New Hampshire’s school board members have gone to the extent of
announcing that it would be better to ban sports for both the teenagers and
children, for their detrimental effects on the brain and other neurological
problems. Alternatively, the doctors and scientists argue from both sides of
the fulcrum. According to them, there is no such solid evidence persistent for
the degeneration of the brain, due to football-related head hits.
A study also argues
that neurological problems may not be merely linked with football or other
similar sports, rather it can have vivid link with the genetics as well. The
repeated trauma is often due to hereditary diseases instead of other things.
However, the contradictory study shows that the respondents who were healthy
and refrained from playing football in any time of their lives did not have any
abnormal brain activity unlike their counterparts, as proclaimed by Fuller,
Junge and Dvorak (2012). In a similar manner, occurrence of Lou Gehrig’s
disease and Alzheimer was at least 4 more times high in the players of NFL when
compared to the general populations. Victoroff (2013) expounded, it cannot be
denied that the chances of depression and other psychological issues are large
amongst the people suffering from neurological problems, even the one caused
due to sports. In other research, it was discovered that the white matter of
the brain could get easily damaged by the concussions. They are the tissues
which help in forming the insidious cables in the human brains, thereby
allowing various regions of it to interact with one another. Psychologists
found during their researchers that the brain’s white matters are intricately
linked with depression. The head hits cause the blood brain barrier to open
widely, which allows S100B, a brain protein to rush into the blood stream.
Later, this protein is assumed to be antibody for the body. Thus, if the same
thing ultimately travels back to the brain, it causes attack. The link has also
been built between the memory decline, dementia, and other diseases with
neurological damage in the brain, as the authors of ESPN (2017) mentioned.
Therefore, the high school athletes who play must refrain from the same. It can
also impact their studies, as well. Being students, they can actually lose
their interest in studies because of degrading memory power.
Broglio et al. (2014) mentioned that on the contrary, football is also a
high-contact sport, which immense strength is needed from all parts of the
body, including the head and others, where the neurological connections can be
quite strong and dense. As a result, it may ultimately lead to chronic and
irreversible damages. It also shows that the decisions of many players to leave
their career are not completely unjustified.
The discussions in the
literature review section show a major concern of head injury can plague the
minds of several players and their dear ones. Slowly and steadily, the sports
managers are facing a challenge to retain the players, whether they are
professional or amateur athletes. Moreover, football is one of those sports
which earn a high amount of revenue from the audience and the sports-lovers.
Even giant corporates such as Nike and Adidas also tie-up with the football
leagues to enhance their revenue and enhance their chances of visibility
amongst the public. For instance, the renowned players have their own fan base
(Abbas et al., 2015). On the contrary, the international tournaments such as
FIFA World Cup and Euro Cup earn a hefty amount from the global viewership. In
such a scenario, if the best of personalities in the football world leave this
field due to the threat of injury then chances of landing-up in a deep soup can
increase, mostly for the sports management teams of the famous leagues. Hence,
instead of shying away from accepting the fact of neural degeneration, caused
due to the football, it is better to increase the awareness amongst all the
stakeholders and take precautionary measures. For example, the management must
address concussions by rolling out passive injury prevention tactics (Sundman,
Doraiswamy and Morey, 2015). In fact, head safety measures may also work out
fine. There is hardly any practice of wearing helmets during the tournaments,
for the football athletes. As a result, bring out such norm can retain a large
number of players. On the other hand, the awareness amongst various football
sportsman can actually assist them become cautious regarding their health. At times,
the players may refrain from wearing the helmets due to their self-conscious
image of heroism in front of the audiences. Therefore, the safety measure has
to be introduced as a rule, for playing in the leagues. It will compel the
players to address their health, before anything else. Secondly, the family
members of the sportsmen will also feel encouraged to support the players. It
may therefore, the strategy may decipher a double-beneficial regime. Preserving
the interests of the football players in this sport is mostly the in the hands
of sports managers and other football associations than anyone else.
Alternatively, it cannot be said that every stakeholder has to be extremely
caution regarding the efforts he or she makes. Lastly, more scientific evidence
can play a major role in the creation of awareness amongst one and all.
It can be inferred
from the above-discussion that sports management is extremely tricky. After
all, there is a responsibility to balance both the retention of the players and
their safety, at the same time. The study all depicts how several scholarly
articles have come up with the evidences of link between the head shots in
football and the neurological damages. These hurts can be sometimes, innate and
deeply-rooted in brains. Thus, they manifest in older ages, more often. The
younger athletes are at higher risk of losing their memory or delve into
depressive state, if they get severely hurt. On the other hand, conditions such
as dementia and many more degenerative diseases can flare up. Hence, more
protective methods have to be familiarized in the genre of sports, who are
arranging the same. In order to do so, the management of sports academies,
associations, and different clubs have to take this in their own hands. For
example, they can definitely provide the players head gears to protect the
softer part of their brains. Additionally, their spinal cords must also be
thoroughly checked to detect any severe injury. As a result, the fitness test
should include a broad range of medical examination, right from their ability
to remember to the normal activity pertaining to the brain.
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