Editorial: Concussion problem only growing for NFL, NCAA

Sep. 05, 2013 @ 11:53 PM

Just days after the NFL and former NFL players tentatively agreed to settle a lawsuit over concussions for a staggering $765 million —which some argued still wasn’t enough for ailing former gridiron stars — another suit popped up in New Orleans Tuesday.

Then, on Wednesday, three former college football players — including two former Vols — filed a federal class-action lawsuit in Chattanooga against the NCAA, saying it failed to educate them about the risks of concussions. It also claims the governing body didn’t do enough to prevent, diagnose and treat brain injuries.

It’s painfully obvious that in years past, too many coaches and officials were cavalier with the health of young athletes, using phrases like “walk it off” or “suck it up” when a player simply had his “bell rung.”

In most cases those coaches, and the players themselves, were unaware of the possible damage they were inflicting with those instructions.

The rub, however, is whether or not the institutions governing football — both college and professional — knew of the problems and risks associated with the game and didn’t share that information with the players, who were growing the sport to it’s current reigning spot atop American athletics.

Some argue that any grown man should know running into another grown man at full speed would result in injuries, and they’d be right, to a point.

But hardly anyone suspected the rampant long-term mental and physical toll football would take on its former players even 15-20 years ago.

Hard decisions will have to be made, both in courts of law and in living rooms, over the next decade on the future of football.

America’s game is currently at it’s height of popularity, but, with other problems such as HGH, steroids, the scandals of recruiting and the fall of amateurism at the college level, there are pitfalls around every corner.

In the end, concussions and brain injuries may be the canyon too wide for even the country’s most popular sport to overcome.