Recently the National Football League celebrated their annual Pro Football Hall of Fame awards ceremony, but a dark cloud hung over the ceremony for many former players who must now face the reality that their futures may be impacted by brain injuries caused during their careers. For instance, Terrell Davis, former star running back for the Denver Broncos, spoke at length about his struggles both on the field and off the field following his retirement. He discussed his current memory loss and migraine headaches and the inability to even see while he was on the field, likely due to concussions. He went on to say that he is still scared and concerned about the long-term effects of the brain injuries he encountered during his days on the field.
A recent study revealed that among 111 former football players who had their brains studied following their death, 110 of them suffered from a form of degenerative brain disease called “chronic traumatic encephalopathy,” or CTE. This is caused from repeated blows to the head, not uncommon for football players and many other careers throughout the United States, including construction workers.
Despite efforts by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, including guidelines on workplace safety and precautionary measures such as hardhats for construction workers, injuries still occur on many worksites. And, as we have learned with the focus on football players, not all injuries reveal themselves at the time they occur.
Although there are fewer than 2,000 National Football League players out on the field in any given week, the popularity of the sport and the severity of brain injuries makes the topic important to recognize, learn and talk about workplace injuries for all workers throughout the United States.
Source: USA Today, “CTE fears reverberate for NFL legends at Pro Football Hall of Fame,” Jarrett Bell, Aug. 5, 2017