When we think about concussions in football, we typically associate the injury with instances reported in youth or high school programs, relating to second-impact syndrome and the lingering effects post-concussion syndrome can hold upon a student athlete, or we consider the implications of the term ‘concussion’ as it relates to professional football—the leading candidate of media exposure with regards to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, lawsuits, and the root behind penalties and fines. These are hierarchical extremities of the American football family, where we are presented accounts of the effects of traumatic brain injury in our children, or in our idols. One question remains however, and it is one that has rarely been touched upon by the general sports coverage media—what about college football? Where does the issue stand in that level of play?
We have seen efforts from some college football programs in taking on the issue at hand, more specifically referencing the allegiance of the Ivy League, where in this past year they instituted a decrease in mandatory full-contact practices—an effort to limit player exposure to head trauma and the potential risks of repetitive head trauma, a decision that can link itself back to Chris Nowinski’s proposal of ‘hit counts.’ But we haven’t seen many efforts of collegiate teams to address this issue, though a handful of coaches have openly given positive feedback to the awareness that has been brought about lately. College football dominates our weekly routines browsing television, as hundreds of teams square up to compete on the national stage, and upon that stage, it is inevitable to understand that concussions are occurring—it is inevitable to understand that many concussions aren’t being reported, either, by the coaching staffs to the media, or by the players to the coaches.
There is no reason to make it seem that the NCAA is infected by coaches withholding “Mike Leach” complexes, but there is reason to believe that there is a need for issue exposure at this level of the game. Continue reading