The players behind one of America's biggest pastimes will take center stage Tuesday in a Philadelphia federal court.
More than 4,000 former NFL players are trying to sue the league, claiming the NFL "deliberately ignored and concealed the risks" of repetitive brain injuries and their long-term effects, according to USA TODAY Sports.
Research shows at least 300,000 athletes suffer concussions each year. Those playing contact sports are much more likely to suffer from concussions than those in non-contact sports.
Doctors say there's no such thing as a "minor concussion," although some are less serious than others. Concussions can affect memory, judgment, speech and muscle coordination.
But in the NFL, players are more likely to suffer from multiple concussions. Suffering from more than one can lead to long term cognitive problems, like depression and even death.
"I think the reality is that if you look at the injury that we’re dealing with, the concussion, it’s repetitive concussions that we think are the problem and because of that the rules on how and when people should go back into the sport or whether they should terminate the sport has become a real question," said Dr. Lloyd Zucker, Chief of Neurosurgery at Delray Medical Center.
He says another problem facing NFL players is that those who suffer from concussions may be sent back into the game sooner than they should.
"You would need to be symptom free. No headaches, no visual complaints, nothing. I would start you off with exercise before I send you back to the field," Dr. Zucker said. "If exercising recreates the symptoms you’d be back at rest. So there’s no ‘you can train in the weight room but not on the field.’ You rest the brain."
Other symptoms include persistent headaches and vision problems. If you endured a concussion, you should get checked out by a doctor.
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