By Ken Reed

A new NFL Nation anonymous survey found that 85% of 320 NFL players polled would play in the Super Bowl knowing they had a concussion.

That is an extremely scary statistic given the risk of serious brain damage, and even death, from Second Impact Syndrome, a condition created by incurring a second concussion shortly after the first. Also, given what we know about the potential long-term consequences of concussions and repetitive brain trauma, including chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), it’s obvious that current efforts to increase awareness and understanding among active players regarding the dangers of concussions are failing.

The survey results lead one to believe that very few active players took the time to read — or follow — the former NFL players’ lawsuit against the NFL. If they did, the key messages about the dangers of concussions apparently didn’t resonate.

“We are competitors. We want to go out there and entertain. That’s all we are. We’re entertainers. Guys want to go out there,” said Bernad Pollard, a safety with the Tennessee Titans.

Now that’s a surreal response. A guy is more concerned with entertaining us than his short and long-term health? Wow.

This survey comes out shortly after the release of a long-term research study that revealed that survivors of traumatic brain injury are three times more likely to die prematurely than the general population, often by suicide. Concussion, a milder form of head injury, doubled the risk of premature death.

These two studies point to the urgent need for more brain injury education programs for football players in general but especially at the youth and high school levels where “play through any injury” ethos aren’t yet firmly established.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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