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February 1, 2021

Who Will Protect the Brains of College Football Players?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Concussion Legacy Foundation, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Department of Neurosurgery, Emerson Hospital, Concord, Massachusetts
JAMA Neurol. 2021;78(3):273-274. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2020.4740

As recognition of the neurological consequences of concussions and head impact exposure (HIE) has grown, most sport governing bodies have begun implementing reforms to prevent concussions and reduce exposure to head impacts. While many sports have focused on rules, penalties, and equipment, football has seen the greatest gains not by changing how the game is played, but how it is practiced. Therefore, there are significant policy implications of the study by McCrea et al1 into where college football players experience concussions and HIEs.

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    3 Comments for this article
    Glorified Gladiators
    Paul Nelson, MS, MD | Family Health Care, P.C.-Retired
    So, the televised scene of a quarter-final, professional football game reveals the following sequence of events: the quarterback runs with the ball and is tackled from which upon standing he is noticeably unstable and does not play the rest of the game. One week later, he plays in the semi-final game. Now, two weeks later, he will soon be playing the finals game. There is next to nothing on TV or in the newspapers about this sequence of events. Shame on us all!
    Football Concussions
    Charles Brill, MD | Thomas Jefferson University
    Football is inherently unsafe for the brain. When head motion stops suddenly, the brain continues to move inside the skull (CSF gives some cushion) ultimately colliding with bone. The only way to prevent this is for parents not to consent for their children playing. 
    Football concussions
    Charles Brill, MD | Thomas Jefferson University
    The way to prevent brain injuries in football players is for their parents not to allow them to play at a high school level or even earlier.