American football is more than just a sport to sports enthusiasts in the United States and beyond. For many lovers of the game, football is a tradition. The prevalent love and popularity of the sport have enabled the industry to grow into a multi-million dollar business. What’s more, it has created plenty of jobs and allowed many people to generate income from activities related to the sport. One such beneficiary is the betting industry. Elite punters pay top dollar for nfl odds and, depending on their luck, stand a chance to reap bountifully. Check sportsbookreview.com to know more.
Players are arguably the biggest beneficiaries of the football business. First-class NFL players are accustomed to living luxurious lives full of affluence and prosperity. However, these same players can also end up being the biggest losers of the sport. Given the physical brutality of the sport, playing football for an extended period can lead to horrible long-term injuries. Plenty of studies have found there are high rates of concussions and brain injuries among former football players. Moreover, given that some players are introduced to the sport from an early age, these consequences can be very detrimental. This article highlights some of the common life-long reverberations of playing football and ways of evading them.
Table of Contents
1. Severe Head Injuries
Physical collisions between players are part and parcel of football. Throughout players’ careers, they get involved in innumerable collisions that affect the head. Consequently, these heavy impacts lead to concussions, which occur when the brain hits the inside of the skull. When this happens, a player’s brain cells are damaged in ways detrimental to their physical and mental well-being. Some of its side effects include loss of consciousness, headaches, memory problems, and disorientation. Multiple concussions can lead to aggression, depression, personality changes, and an increase in the risk of getting Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is yet another wonted brain disorder that’s common among former football players. CTE is a result of increased head injuries and causes memory loss, aggression, and impaired judgment. Worse yet, many of the former football players who were diagnosed with this disorder have committed murder or suicide. An example of such a case is that of ci-devant NFL phenomenon Aaron Hernandez. The former football star committed suicide in a state prison, where he was serving time for murder. Former athletes from other sports involving heavy head impacts like boxing and ice hockey have also been victims of CTE.
2. Physical Abrasion
Similar to professional athletes from other high-impact sports, football players experience plenty of physical injuries during and after their careers. Although many football players and coaches live by a code of toughness, there’s no denying that their bodies wear out over time. When these athletes strain their bodies over a long period, the consequences of their toil continue to worsen. The heavy physical contact experienced in football takes a toll on players’ joints, ligaments, and muscles, which increases the risk of serious complications later on.
In 2018, the NFL introduced new rules that were supposed to make football safer. Even so, these regulations can only go so far when ensuring optimum safety for players. Some physicians argue that the physical damage to the rest of the body is more significant than concussions. Since many players have learned to play through the pain, minute musculoskeletal injuries can become severe complications with gruesome consequences. Furthermore, some of these injuries can go undetected or misdiagnosed, which leads to further damage. Playing football increases the body’s rate of wear and tear, putting players at the risk of experiencing hip injuries, labrum tears, and ligament damages.
3. Psychological Complications
NFL players experience tons of head collisions over time, which often affects their mental disposition. Due to the imminent head injuries caused by countless brutal collisions, many football players fall into depression and other psychological issues. In many cases, these psychological complications can cause former players to bring physical harm to themselves and others. Although this may be more dramatic in the NFL, football players from lower levels such as college and high school may also face a similar fate.
4. Obesity and Sleep Apnea
While it may seem absurd for retired NFL players to suffer from obesity, it’s a common condition that many former athletes battle. Given that most players weigh at least 130 kilograms, they usually have to deal with the side effects of their weight long after they retire. If players fail to maintain proper fitness, they risk adding weight and becoming obese. Consequently, being overweight can lead to diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Furthermore, other problems like cardiovascular complications and high cholesterol are also imminent.
Excessive weight can also result in sleep apnea, a potentially serious sleeping disorder in which breathing is interrupted during sleep. It is a common disorder among active and retired football players that leaves victims fatigued even after a night of sleep. A study by the New England Journal of Medicine found that close to 15 percent of all active NFL players have sleep apnea. Former athletes who are unable to lose weight are at a higher risk of getting this disorder.
Best Preventive Measures
Although physical brutality isn’t likely to be scraped off from the world of football, there are plenty of ways to prevent their severe lifelong consequences.
Swift Diagnosis and Treatment
Football players should be subjected to rapid screening to ensure early diagnosis of any severe complications such as concussions. Athletes must be keenly observed from the sidelines for any symptoms to prevent any grim injuries.
Players diagnosed with severe complications such as concussions should take ample time to recover from their injuries to prevent further damage.
Both physical and mental health is paramount to ensure athletes remain in top form. Moreover, rest decreases brain activity, allowing it to heal after an injury.
The Bottom Line
On average, more than one-third of a football player’s body remains permanently impaired after they retire. Owing to this, these athletes may require multiple surgeries to fix the damages they sustained during their careers. To prevent a life full of pain, players must take precautions and seek treatment as soon as possible.