There's not much doubt that repeat concussions have serious long term consequences. The science and medicine studying the long term effects of concussions, especially in pro football players, seems to be uncovering stronger links every day.
It's been several years since pathologists discovered evidence of brain damage linked to trauma in the brains of deceased former football players. There has been a PBS documentary on the evidence and the NFL's long term denial, a recent settlement between the NFL and former pro football players, and several books have come out lately as well.
The NHL is now facing a lawsuit filed by two former players alleging the league did not do enough to protect players from head injuries.
Besides the well warranted publicity that concussions are now getting - effecting everything from the evaluation, treatment and management of head injuries caused by car accidents and work injuries to youth sports - this lawsuit and debate about the safety of pro sports highlights a couple of things:
- pro athletes have short careers
- many athletes have serious injuries or career ending injuries
- many pro athletes need medical treatment for their injuries long after their playing career is over
And here's a bit of a surprise - many (really most) pro athletes don't make that much money - for every multi-million dollar superstar there are many more players who play for minimum contracts, are in and out of the "big leagues" and can't play because of injuries.
Hopefully this lawsuit will lead to more information on head injuries and concussions that the players, teams, trainers and doctors of today and tomorrow can use to reduce the risk of head injuries.