Tuesday, March 15th will go down as a historic day in the effort to combat the scourge of sports related concussions. That tectonic cracking noise you hear is the wall of NFL denial finally coming down. NFL Vice President for Health and Safety Jeff Miller finally admitted before a House Subcommittee under oath that the League recognized a link between concussion and the cognitive traumatic encephalopathy. This admission will ripple in countless ways. The reason that the NFL is so critical to the solution of the problem is not that the majority of concussions in sports occur in the NFL. They occur at different levels of football and in hockey, field hockey, and soccer. The NFL dominates American culture and entertainment today and what happens at that level has a symbolic importance in shaping the way that the society looks at the connection between collision sports and brain injury.
Those of us who think football teaches great life values and help builds character need to move quickly to make the game safer. Consider a minimum age before playing tackle football. Think about adopting the no contact in preseason or practice rules that the Ivy League is experimenting with. Promote helmets which redirect the incoming energy force and do more than prevent skull fracture. Look at nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals that can heal the brain.
The wall of denial about the effects of concussion in collision sports is coming down. Tuesday becomes the start of a new era with decisive action to diminish the threat of concussion related brain damage.