A blunt force trauma to the head that results in a brain injury can end up impacting a person for the rest of their life. Not only can a person end up suffering from short-term and long-term memory loss, but language issues and emotional changes can also arise.
To try and reduce the number of brain injuries in football, the NCAA has issued yet another rule change. However, some are wondering if the level of NCAA oversight of these rules is even enough.
With this most recent rule, if a defenseless player is targeted by an opposing player, who then takes the player out above the shoulders, the opposing player is removed from the game. The idea is this will put a stop to intentional above-the-shoulder hits.
This is also just the most recent rule change in a string of rule changes all geared toward player safety and reducing brain injuries. Other changes include that a player must sit out if their helmet comes off and that the kickoff was moved five yards closer and the touchbacks were moved five yards closer in the other direction.
The NCAA also has concussion management guidelines and its member institutions are expected to have their own guidelines in place. However, since the NCAA has historically left the enforcement of these rules up to the respective universities, one has to wonder just how much these rule changes really matter.
Either way though, the fact that there have been changes made and that the NCAA hired its first ever chief medical officer in January, it does go to show that more attention is being given to concussions and the life-altering effects of brain injuries.
Source: utsandiego.com, “NCAA works to prevent brain injuries,” Stefanie Loh, April 28, 2013