What responsibility does the NFL have to its players to minimize the long-term effects of head injuries?



There’s growing concern about adolescent athletes who face repeated concussions playing their sports—most notably, football.  Watch the PBS NOVA report Brain Trauma (Links to an external site.).

At first, attention was directed at professional football players. The New York Times reports on a study that shows that NFL players are more likely than the general public to show dementia. “Dementia Risk Seen in Players in NFL Study (Links to an external site.)” (NY Times, 9/29/2009). More recently, the popular press has raised concerns about concussions suffered by youth athletes. Science Daily reports "Without adult intervention in concussion management, youth sports can become demolition derby (Links to an external site.)." 

What responsibility does the NFL have to its players to minimize the long-term effects of head injuries?  As for children, should football be eliminated as a school-sponsored sport?  Should restrictions be placed on how the game is played to reduce the risk of head trauma?  Should these restrictions also apply to college students, who are legally able to make their own decisions? 

Of equally grave concern is the damage done to U.S. soldiers who served in Iraq who have been hurt by roadside bombs.  The result, in some cases, is traumatic brain injury.  This problem is reported in ProPublica in the report "Aftershock: The Blast That Shook Psycho Platoon (Links to an external site.)" written in conjunction with NPR.

What is the state of the knowledge of this concussion problem?  What has the VA done to assist these soldiers when they return from deployment?  Has the VA put enough effort in helping these injured vets?

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