Dr. Kevin Guskiewicz, founder of the Matthew Gfeller Sports Related Traumatic Brain Injury Center at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, has developed several statistics regarding cognitive challenges affecting retired football players — including a 37 percent higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease. I could continue to rattle off Guskiewicz’s studies and other statistics to support the correlation between powerful hits to the head and life-threatening ailments that may not surface until later on in life. However, given the abundance of supporting data, we can lean on common sense when discussing how these impactful hits prevent a long-term, sustainable a healthy lifestyle.
Head injuries continue to increase as a commonly discussed topic when we question safety in the NFL, the NCAA, or now even in the youngest level of play. Impacted players and their families continue to point fingers at the governing body of the players, team owners and associations. These players claim that they weren’t aware of the extensive risks of head injuries and that the coaches didn’t take time to make sure injured players were being treated properly or given the time they needed to heal.