On the surface, the NFL and the NFL Players Association have revealed that Dolphins and league employees were responsible for discovering possible concussions and ordering concussion evaluations.
At a deeper level, the decision that all was well handled reveals the true flaw in the whole process. Because (1) there is no denying that Tua Tagovailoa had a concussion. (2) He continued to play after suffering a concussion.
These two factors set the stage for potentially serious health consequences. In high school, it happens several times a year. Second impact syndrome. His second brain injury occurring shortly after the first. Swelling in the brain that can get out of control and be fatal.
If the system created by the league and the unions to detect potential concussions worked fine last Sunday, then the system created by the leagues and the unions to detect potential concussions worked properly. This is because athletes who had one concussion were continuously exposed to a second concussion.
The biggest downside, as a source with knowledge of the whole process explained Saturday, is that many players are reluctant to self-report potential concussions. happens in
First, the player’s brain can be compromised. He may not even be aware that he has symptoms.
Second, few players are happy with the idea of voluntarily tapping out. Remember when Ben Roethlisberger did it, everyone said, “The culture has changed!” it’s not. Some players have the leeway to raise their hand and say, “Maybe we should finish the game.” Most players worry that they are Wally Pipping.
Tua is already pretty close to the head injury he wanted to be, but it’s even less likely that he’ll voluntarily add another coat to his scarlet letter on his helmet.
So, apart from training more aggressively and encouraging players to speak up when they think they may have had a concussion, what can be done? Another standard should probably apply as to when a concussion assessment is made, as it relates to a player who has suffered a concussion.
Current protocol mandates evaluation if a player hits the head, and there is an associated injury behavior. A player like Tua has had at least one, possibly two, concussions this year when his head hit the turf. .
And perhaps a broader approach should be for players to have individualized protocols based on their own particular history. monitor. For others like Tua, a forced blow to the head is at least enough for a quick check.
Is that too much of a burden for the pros overseeing the game? If so, get more. Three if two is not enough. 4 if not enough. and so on.
If NFL players are to be treated like patients, leagues and unions must have the capacity to ensure that all players and patients receive the care and attention they deserve. Players have a duty to help themselves, but leagues and associations need to recognize that many do not, and additional measures are in place to protect players from the potential onset of Second Impact Syndrome. Is required.