In football, there is always a risk for injury, the major one that has loomed over the game of football in recent years: concussions.
On Friday, January 29th, the NFL reported that the concussion rate in the regular season rose 58%, which is the highest in the past four season. It only takes 60 G’s of force to deliver a concussion and multiple hits with this amount of force can cause a lifetime of damage. These concussions because multiple life problems such as memory loss, anger issues, and voices in a person’s head in turn the person will turn to drugs, self-harm, or suicide. Reports show that 28% of all professional football players will suffer from cognitive impairment (CTE). In 2011, over 5000 NFL players sued the league for hiding the dangers of the concussion issues.
One Mountaineer has dealt with these issues, Darryl Talley. Talley played with the Mountaineers from 1979-1982. While at WVU, Talley appeared in multiple bowl games including the Peach Bowl, and the Gator Bowl. His career stats at WVU are extraordinary, finishing off his career off with 484 total tackles and 19 sacks. Talley gained multiple recognitions with All-American status, getting elected to the WVU Hall of Fame, and the College football Hall of Fame. Talley was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the 1983 NFL draft in the second round.
In 2014 it was reported that Talley has brain damage and was battling severe depression and has contemplated suicide because from concussions. In a private interview with Talley, he spoke on the current concussion issue in the sport.
“Them [the NFL] just now noticing it, I don’t buy into it, I believe they have known about it longer,” says Talley. “How long did they know?”
The movie “Concussion” with lead actor Will Smith, brought awareness to the concussions in the NFL to fans and non fans alike. It highlights the issues players ran into which was found by Dr. Bennet Omalu. Talley watched the movie with great interest.
“It’s pretty much on point,” he said. “The scary part is if a player starts spinning out of control, they attribute it to CTE.
“The movie is scary, scary as hell.”
The current concussion issue stretches across many sports across all age levels.
“You look at soccer, you look at hockey, they probably all got more concussions than we do, but because football is a bigger sport, everyone knows about it,” says Talley. “I had a daughter who was disqualified in volleyball because she ran into her own teammate. In hockey they hit the floor that does the same thing, you think it feels good when a puck hits them upside the head?”
Precautions have been made in recent years to help reduce impact on head collisions in sports, but in a high impact sport like football it is going to be difficult to find the perfect way to protect all the players. In all levels of any sport trainers have been taught to spot a concussion and now proper precautions are taken to ensure a player with a concussion is not sent back onto the field.
For now the concussion issue still looms over any sport, but hopefully in the near future they can find something to help all of players be safe while playing the game they love.