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Letter: Head Injuries in the NFL

To the Editor:

Reports of football injuries have been on the front pages of newspapers, especially after the publication of brain autopsy reports of deceased NFL players. The autopsies showed changes consistent with the diagnosis of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, most likely resulting from repeated trauma to the brain during games. The symptoms are similar to Alzheimer’s disease.

The NFL is facing a class action lawsuit by the past players and their families, alleging that the NFL deliberately ignored and actively concealed information about the concussions. The NFL is trying to get this suit tossed out of the court. As injuries continue to pile up, the NFL so far has not made any substantive changes in the rules of the game to protect the players from repeated injuries.

The Dec. 9 Sunday Valley News sports section reported injuries suffered by NFL players during the previous week’s games involving 30 teams. There were 325 reported injuries, including nine concussions. Even though many of those injuries were not serious and primarily involved joints and soft tissues, the total number of injuries was staggering, and that was for just one week.

The NFL has made some changes in the rules of the game, like not allowing the player back into the same game after the player has suffered a concussion. But the NFL sometimes violates its own rules. During one week in the season, three quarterbacks suffered concussion, including one having blurry vision. These players were taken out of the game, but were allowed to return after awhile. The next day, the commissioner of the NFL commented that the return of these players was correct.

It appears that the NFL is more interested in protecting its own financial well-being than the physical and mental well-being of players who fatten the pocketbooks of the league and its club owners.

Sikhar N. Banerjee

New London