A day after the NFL was sued by 75 former players who claim the league concealed information about the danger of concussions for decades, the Ivy League took strong steps to reduce the number of concussions and subconcussive hits in football.

The NFL players’ negligence, fraud and liability suit was filed on July 19 in Los Angeles Superior Court. Some players’ wives are also part of the suit. The players claim the NFL knew as early as the 1920’s of the harmful effects of concussions but concealed them from coaches, trainers, players and the public until June 2010. The players contend their NFL-based injuries left them with a variety of head trauma-based problems, including dementia (Hall-of-Famer John Mackey suffered from dementia for a decade before his recent death), headaches, memory loss, blurred vision, sleeplessness, depression, anxiety, and wild mood swings.

Meanwhile, the Ivy League has examined the research on concussions and repetitive subconcussive hits and taken steps to prevent head trauma. The Ivy League will now allow only two full-contact practices a week, three fewer than NCAA rules allow. They will also only allow one contact session during preseason two-a-day workouts. Moreover, the Ivies will put additional emphasis on teaching players proper tackling technique, the signs and symptoms of concussion, and the potential short-and-long-term ramifications of repetitive brain trauma.

A recent study that looked at nearly 2000 cases listed in the National Registry of Sudden Death in Young Athletes said the cases highlighted the importance of better equipment, better protocols for when injured athletes should return to action, and possible changes in blocking and tackling rules.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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