Saturday, February 2, 2013

President Obama Tackles Concussion Issue

When asked in a recent interview about his stance on the increasing rate of concussions in football, President Barrack Obama made the comment that he would have to seriously consider allowing his son (if he had a son) to play football at any non-professional level due to the fact that concussions do not seem to be taken nearly as serious as they are at the NFL level (Anderson, 2012). 

The NFL has enforced their penalties on professional athletes that give a hard hit to the head of another athlete. The NFL has also implemented safety policies that are for the athletes’ receiving the hard hits to the head. Fines have been established to severely penalize those who violate the “helmet-to-helmet” policies and athletes who are injured or receive a hard hit to the head are removed immediately from the game and are evaluated on the sideline for any concussion-like symptoms. NFL players who display symptoms of a concussion are held out for the remainder of the game and the following week’s game as well. 

I understand President Obama’s stance on concussions; the negative side effects of athletes receiving repeated blows to the head are indisputable. On the other hand, NFL players are greatly compensated for their performance and know very well the risk they are putting themselves in when they step out on the field. Every football player signs the “dotted line” that states they understand the risks they are taking when they play the sport. 

Football is a collision sport; Injuries have always been a part of football and will continue to be. But will the awareness of concussions change the way the game of football is played in the future as it relates to education or rule implementation/enforcement? Will the serious attitudes toward concussions in the NFL filter down to the collegiate level?  Will the NCAA mandate any of the policies currently enforced by the NFL? The health and welfare of football players must be of utmost concern if the sport is to lower the rates of concussions.


  1. While I can appreciate President Obama’s opinion on the concussion problems in football, I believe that there are more important issues in the United States for him to focus on. I personally feel that I would let my son play football when he reaches junior high. I am not a big fan of kids playing pop warner tackle football. If kids want to play football at this age, they should play flag football. While safety is a major factor in this, I also look at it from a coach’s view. Junior high coaches have to spend enough time teaching the fundamentals of the sport without having to break bad habits formed in pop warner because the “coach” did not know how to teach proper techniques. I also think kids will get burned out on the game by playing that early.

  2. The NCAA has implemented many of the safety rules that the NFL has. Defensive players can no longer launch their body at an opposing player and QB’s can no longer be hit in the helmet. The NCAA has followed some of the rule changes that the NFL has made. The game of football is becoming very soft and when people like President Obama make commits about something they have no clue about it should not be given any attention. Football is violent!

  3. Concussions are a serious topic in sports and should be taken seriously to ensure the health of American athletes. I believe the awareness of concussions in college sports are already taking place, and that trainers and coaches are more cautious of putting athletes back in the game after showing symptoms of a concussion. I’ve played sports my whole life and remember seeing some of my teammates suffer from concussions. One of my teammates, about two years ago, suffered a concussion and had tests done on her just about every day to see if things were getting worse. If my memory serves me right, she missed about two games and a week and a half of practice. With that being said, I believe the severity of concussions has already begun to take place in college sports.

  4. Concussion awareness has exceedingly gone up in the past few years; athletes push their bodies above and beyond the average person. There will always be a brute physicality to the sport of football; president Obama does have a great point that it is not only professional athletes that accumulate concussions over their careers. What is being done for college athletes that are not getting paid to play? This is why all levels of sports should make better strides in teaching the fundamentals of the game. I saw a report recently of a helmet that monitors the velocity of head impacts for that athlete; I believe it is the future in monitoring blows to the head. Once that athlete has had numerous impacts at or above a certain level they are monitored closely by a staff before they are cleared to play, this is good because it not always that one big hit that generates a concussion