12/23/15 by Rennie Detore
The NFL and concussions have been a hot topic for quite some time, especially in recent years as the effects of players and years of taking brutal hits for their trade, has finally started to get noticed.
But the spotlight for concussions has finally reached its full effect with the release of the movie of the same name: "Concussion," which stars Will Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu. The synopsis of the movie has Smith's character discovering what has come to be known as CTE, chronic traumatic encephalopathy and how one man tried to raise awareness of it as a crusader against the multi billion dollar machine that is the NFL.
The film has been lauded and praised both for Smith and his acting chops and how spot on the film is as it relates to a number of issues, mainly how the NFL initially wasn't all that interested in concussions years ago, but now is trying to play the role of pioneer.
Kudos to the NFL for welcoming the criticism that is largely warranted for mainstream media fans who are watching "Concussion" and wondering how the NFL is going to handle this negative publicity.
The NFL released its typically public relations fare by saying how much it pays attention to player safety and concussions specifically. The CTE discussion isn't going anywhere, however, any time soon.
Nearly 90% of players as part of a research endeavor at Boston University tested positive for CTE. The reality of the situation is that CTE and being an NFL superstar go hand in hand. The worst part for the NFL is that the much publicized suicide of Junior Seau, the standout linebacker for the San Diego Chargers, who died from a self inflicted gunshot wound in 2012 and also suffered from CTE.
To the NFL's credit, they've really enforced concussion protocol and have a strict policy on a player being cleared to return to the game or the following week.
But despite the NFL and it trying to do what is right, they have every right to worry about CTE and the findings that continue to pour out. The movie "Concussion" certainly isn't going to help, either. Every time a player ends up with a concussion and in the rare instances when that person stays in or goes back in a game, you are going to hear that the NFL is out of control and that they don't care or aren't strict enough.
No matter how many times they move kickoffs back, eliminate returns with crash and burn style plays or add thickness to the helmet, the NFL is in a no win situation.
As much as the NFL has its crosses to bear, you have to be realistic about the game at hand. It's a violent game and one that comes with its pluses and minuses for those who decide to make it their profession. Players get paid well, and they know the repercussions of what they're doing.
The NFL has to continue, however, to help players who didn't have the concussion rules and regulations when they played and also beef up what its doing in 2015 and beyond. The movies and negative press will come, but the NFL has to act as though they're right on board with all that is said or seen about concussions.
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