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NFL Players Who Suffered a Concussion

NFL Players Who Suffered a Concussion

NFL Players Who Suffered a Concussion

Football, and the NFL in particular, is one of the most combative and dangerous sports in the world. With players regularly tackling, hitting, and slamming their opponents to the ground, the sport can cause a wide-range of injuries.

However, and perhaps most infamously, the sport is known for its injuries to a players brain and head. These repeated hits can often lead to lifelong disabilities and paralyzations. In addition, and through recent research, these repeated blows can cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE.

CTE is most commonly associated and seen in contact sports such as boxing and football and the symptoms can include short-term memory loss, changes in mood, increased confusion and disorientation, and difficulty thinking.

As such, the NFL has recently introduced new concussion protocols to better help its players avoid long-term trauma and damage from repeated hits, blows, and concussions. However, there have been a number of particularly bad concussions suffered by NFL players in recent years.

Below, we are going to look at just a few NFL players who suffered a concussion while on the gridiron. But, be forewarned, these concussions can be a bit graphic, so viewer discretion is advised.

NFL Players Who Suffered a Concussion

What Is A Concussion?

A concussion, while common, is a serious brain injury. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury which is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth.

This blow or hit to the brain can cause it to bounce or twist around within the skull, creating a chemical change in the brain and this can sometimes cause stretching and damage to the brain cells.

Similarly, per Mayo Clinic, a concussion is a traumatic injury that can affect brain function. And while effects are usually temporary, and can include headaches and problems with concentration, memory, balance, and coordination, repeated and multiple concussions can lead to lifelong problems and impacts to brain function.

What Is Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)?

Again, utilizing Mayo Clinic as our source, chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE is the term used to describe brain degeneration likely caused by repeated head traumas. CTE is a diagnosis made only at autopsy by studying sections of the brain.

And while CTE has been more commonly addressed and diagnosed, it remains a rare disorder that is not fully understood. However, CTE does have a relationship with head traumas such as persistent post-concussive symptoms and second impact syndromes, many of which typically occur in early life.

However, experts are still trying to understand how repeated head traumas — including how many head injuries and the severity of those injuries — and other factors might contribute to the changes in the brain that result in CTE.

CTE has been found in the brains of people who played football and other contact sports, including boxing. Some signs and symptoms of CTE are thought to include difficulties with thinking (cognition) and emotions, physical problems and other behaviors. It’s thought that these develop years to decades after head trauma occurs.

NFL Players Who Suffered Concussions

While the list of NFL players who have suffered a concussion is large, due to the nature of the sport, we are going to review some of the worst concussions seen on the field. However, please note, that this is for educational purposes and is being written in an effort to further educate both parents and players on the risk of the game. While football remains one of the most popular sports in the United States, it does not come without some risks.

Tua Tagovailoa

Tua Tagovailoa, the former University of Alabama quarterback and current quarterback for the Miami Dolphins has seen his share of concussions. In college, Tua suffered a concussion against Mississippi State after a sack caused his knee to drive into the ground, causing his hip to dislocate and fracturing his posterior wall. He would be carted off the field and flow to a Birmingham hospital before undergoing surgery in Houston.

More recently, in the 2022 NFL season, Tua playing with the Dolphins against the Buffalo Bills, would leave the game with a head injury. Although claimed by team doctors to not be a concussion, later reports would indicate that untrue.

A mere four days later, playing against the Cincinnati Bengals, Tua would be sacked during the second quarter and would hit the ground with his left elbow, back and back of his helmet. Tagovailoa demonstrated a fencing response, and was stretchered off the field and transported to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center with head and neck injuries.

Tom Brady

Although Brady has never been officially diagnosed with a concussion while playing in the NFL, in a CBS interview on May 17, Charlie Rose asked Brady’s wife, Gisele Bündchen, if she wanted Brady to retire, despite the fact that he was playing at a high level.

Bündchen mentioned that Brady suffered from a concussion in 2016, saying, “I mean he has concussions pretty much every—I mean we don’t talk about—but he does have concussions. I don’t really think it’s a healthy thing for anybody to go through.”

Jerry Rice

The famed NFL wide receiver who played in the league for 20 seasons and won three Super Bowl championships with the San Francisco 49ers wasn’t immune from the effects of repeated hits and blows. Nicknamed “World” for his superb catching abilities, Rice would suffer a concussion in the 1992 season against the Buffalo Bills, forcing him to be taken out of the game.

Steve Young

The famed NFL quarterback who played in the league for 15 years, primarily with the San Francisco 49ers, being named the NFL Most Valuable Player in both 1992 and 1994 and the MVP of the Super Bowl XXIX.

However, unbeknownst to many, Steve Young suffered many concussions throughout his playing career. With the 1999 season being his final one, he would be violently sacked in the third week on a Monday Night Football game, leading to a concussion. The concussion he suffered was reportedly his second in a season that was only three weeks old, and the seventh of his career.

This concussion would force Young to miss the remainder of the season, with the 49ers indicating to Young that he would be released if he did not retire.

Although Young was offered a job as the starting quarterback of the Denver Broncos, he retired because of his repeated concussions. In a 2013 Frontline interview, Young said that, partially based upon their own experiences, he and many retired players are increasingly concerned about repeated concussions and sub-concussive hits. He is particularly concerned about certain positions that take frequent hits, such as running backs and linemen.