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NFL Violence: What Should be Done?

On October 17, a wave of concussions rocked the NFL. Among the victims was DeSean Jackson, wide receiver of the Philadelphia Eagles. Dunta Robinson, cornerback of the Atlanta Falcons, planted an illegal helmet-to-helmet hit on him. Jackson suffered a serious concussion while Robinson was also hurt during the collision. They both laid on the ground for minutes.

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Also suffering a concussion was Joshua Cribbs of the Cleveland Browns, who was leveled by Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison. Then there was Mohamed Massaquoi of the Browns, who was also hit hard by Harrison, suffering a concussion. “The events of Sunday were certainly disturbing to all of us,” said Ray Anderson, the NFL's executive vice president of football operations.

So what does this sudden rash of injuries mean? It begins to lead others (or at least me) to look inside the sport. Is football a violent sport? Yes. Are players going to get hurt? Yes. Are the physical effects of this game worth the TV viewers? It depends. That is just how the game of American football was crafted. Unless the entire game is changed completely, concussions and other injuries will always occur.

When you hear the word concussion, you probably think of a mild head injury. And you’re right… in some aspects. The medical definition of a concussion is a traumatic head injury that can occur from both mild and severe blows to the head. Well, when you’re playing football, blows to the head are something that happen frequently. Concussions usually aren’t fatal (notice that I said usually), but they can have effects such as confusion and slurred speech. For instance, if you have had multiple concussions, you can have symptoms such as sleep problems, mental disorders, and even depression. These symptoms can have a lasting effect on you the rest of your life.

While you may not be able to completely change the game, the NFL is trying to limit these injuries by fining or suspending players who deliver illegal blows. Harrison was fined $75,000 for two illegal hits. Robinson was charged $50,000.

In my opinion, the NFL should have taken more safety precautions years ago. No one can argue that football isn’t a physical sport, but when concussions are a regular routine, steps need to be taken to reduce the likelihood of these injuries. On the other hand, these illegal hits are sometimes inevitable.

“When you're playing football and you're going to deliver a hit, it's not like you really try to hit somebody in the head," said Washington Redskins fullback Mike Sellers. "It's just you're trying to deliver a blow, and sometimes it just ends up like that.”

In my opinion, Sellers is correct. These hits are almost accidental. When you try and deliver a hit, you just send it with full force, and sometimes it lands in the wrong places. Even in recreational football, or something as simple as a backyard game, injuries can occur.

So what will be the verdict of this tense subject? Only time will tell.