Sports Research Paper on Concussions in Professional Sports

Concussions in Professional Sports

Literature Review

According to Bickerstaff (2010), there are numerous questions that people with little knowledge about concussions ask themselves regularly. Training coaches on how to manage concussions is essential in professional sports. Coaches go through training and certification programs, health, and safety on the issue of concussions. The training can include, watching videos, reading books and passing written as well as practical exams. Bickerstaff (2010) further examines medical personnel qualified to deal with concussion issues. He points out that there are no set rules and most clubs have trained medical staffs like nurses, doctors and paramedics who assist injured players. Moreover, contract drills are limited and proper tracking techniques are usually taught to protect players from possible concussions. When a concussion is suspected, players need to be evaluated and cleared by medical personnel before returning to the field (Bickerstaff, 2010). The question as to the period of time that a player should  take to recover from a concussion is addressed, and Bickerstaff (2010) points out that it can range from days to months depending on the severity of the injury and how quick the brain heals (Bickerstaff, 2010).

According to Slobounov (2008), concussions became a prominent health problem since the 21st century. Concussions related to professional sports highly contribute to epidemiological burden and aspires much on public awareness. Despite the fact that it is seen as a recent phenomenon, Slobounov (2008) points out that concussions began more than a century ago. They were first identified amongst players for over a century ago. This problem increased because work was done by individual supporters of sportsmen, rather than professionals in an effort to reshape the acceptance of the risk by the public. Therefore, they moved to change the views of American culture, which found violence acceptance. They then moved attention to reforms to address more injuries that are visible and legitimize sports in institutions that were regarded as morally upright. Change in demands on health profession make practitioners reluctant in the intriguing ultimate stance.

However, Roush (2012) argues that a concussion is an ordinary injury among professional sportsmen who participate in structured sports and frivolous activities. Any professional player who has a concussion needs to be exempted from the play right away and undergo medical assessment immediately. Substantial and cognitive rest is suggested to determine signs of concussion. In addition, cognitive rest needs provisional deficiency from play. Roush (2012) further asserts that after the symptoms resolve completely and full return to play is achieved, the patient should be medically supervised and undergo stepwise exertion protocol. Every person concerned about professional sports must be aware of signs and symptoms of concussions and make sure that a player alleged of sustaining concussions is appropriately watched and managed by competent healthcare personnel (Roush, 2012).

Nowinski and Ventura (2007) points out that in the previous decade, few matters concerning the connection between sports and medicine have created more public attention regarding concussions related to sports, particularly among professional sportsmen. Despite the rising responsiveness to concussions related to sports and education campaigns on the players, coaches, physicians and guardians of young players about recognition and management of concussions, perplexity and disagreement persist in many areas (Nowinski & Ventura, 2007). The National Research Council (NRC) as well as the Institute of Medicine (IOM) aided by a several government organizations and private collections has a specialized team to appraise the science of concussions related to sports among the professional sportsmen through young players, and in military staff and their dependents (Nowinski & Ventura, 2007). The board was asked to suggest measures that can be applied by a set of spectators, including agencies that fund researches, administrations, state and school controllers, sport directors, military groups, and equipment producers, and youth who take part in games to advance what is known regarding concussions and trim down their occurrence. Concussions related to sports in youth should be dealt with to improve the science and change the culture. Although some lessons give useful data, much is left strange about the degree of concussions in young professional players, how to make a diagnosis, manage, and avoid concussions and the short-term and long-term outcomes of concussions and the recurring effects that do not end up in concussion symptoms (Nowinski & Ventura, 2007).

Moreover, Cantu and Hyman (2012) points out that once a concussed sportsman has been removed from the game, the sports medicine physician is faced with the often challenging decision of when the player will be safe to return to play. Making return to play decisions, both on the field and during the post injury management (i.e days after injury) in professional sports can be among the multifaceted decisions that face the physicians of sports medicine and characterizes a vibrant practice that engrosses the assessment of factors like the strictness of the damage (as shown by period loss of perception, amnesia and mystification), the professional players reports signs (e.g. persistent headache, exhaustion, photosensitivity), recital on neuro-cognitive testing, and the sportsman’s prior concussion record. In the decision making process, many factors are considered that are related to clinical recovery, there are many other potential factors that may play a role in the decision-making process (Cantu & Hyman, 2012). Since the advent of neuro-cognitive testing and more personalized administration of injury, potential data emerge that shed light on characterized factors that may contribute in the prevalence, sternness, and duration of upturn in regard to concussion (Cantu & Hyman, 2012).


Concussions as a traumatic brain injury can have a serious harmful effect on the developing brain of a youth. As most professional players with concussions recuperate promptly and completely, some will have signs associated with the concussion that take some time. Failure to give the brain adequate time to cure after a concussion can be perilous. A replicate concussion that occurs before the healing of the brain from the beginning, typically within a short period of time (hours, days, weeks), can recover slowly or augment the likelihood for lengthy health harms. These may include alterations in how the player thinks feels, and acts, as well as their aptitude to gain knowledge and remember about some things. Although rare, repeat concussion can end up in swelling of brain or causing an enduring damage of brain.

According to Meehan and Micheli (2011), professional sportsmen who have had a concussion, at any particular point in their professional career, have a higher likelihood of receiving further concussion. Additionally, young professional players have a high likelihood of getting a concussion and can take a longer period to recuperate than the experienced players. Recognition and apposite reply to concussions as they first happen can give aid in prevention of extra harm or even loss of life. However, a concussion can occur at home, learning institutions, or play. So everyone from the guardian and coaches, to officials of sports leagues and school administration can play a key role in learning how to spot a concussion, and understand what to do if they think a professional player, child or teen has a concussion (Meehan & Micheli, 2011).



Policy Efforts

Lately, many countries, learning institutions, sports leagues and firms have come up with policies on concussion in young people and professional sportsmen. Although these strategic efforts depict some positive outcomes, more research is required to learn if the policies can help make coaches and parents aware about the issue and assist in saving children, teens and professional players from concussion and other severe brain injuries. However, as from 2009, the Washington State passed the first concussion laws regarding to sports, called the Zackery Lystedt Law (Primeau & Goulet, 2012). A month afterward, Max’s law was initiated in Oregon. Between the year 2009 and 2012, 43 states and the Columbia district passed concussion laws in sports for professional players, often referred to as “Return to Play Laws” (Primeau & Goulet, 2012). In 2013, additional four states also came up with “Return to Play Laws”. Some associations like the National Conference of State Legislatures came up with maps over the Internet to track and control concussion in laws governing sports by the state (Primeau & Goulet, 2012).

Most of the sports laws regarding concussions emphasize on taking the following steps:

  • Training coaches, guardians, and professional players

It is important to enlighten and train coaches, professional players, and guardians about concussion by empowering them to use a concussion directive sheet.

  • Removing a player from the play

A player believed to have concussions is to be uninvolved in play right away.

  • Authorizing a player to get back to play

A professional sportsman can only be back to practice not less than 24 hours and with the consent of a healthcare expert. These action plans are linked to suggestions provided in the International Concussion Consensus Statement (ICCS). First shaped in 2002 and lately restructured in 2008, the Statement of concussions was designed by specialists in the sports field and includes the newest science accessible on sports concussions (Primeau & Goulet, 2012).

Local Plans and Action Strategies:

Besides the three action strategies listed above, some concussions policies in learning institutions and league include extra approaches in their implementation (Meehan & Micheli, 2011). Further studies are needed to understand whether including the extra strategies can assist in protecting professional sportsmen from concussion and prevention of additional severe injuries to the brain. Based on interviews by CDC with approximately nine states, the list below has some examples local procedures and action strategies (Meehan & Micheli, 2011). Professional sportsmen should be prepared for tragedies by:

  • Creation of a concussion crisis medical action policy:

These policies often include contact information for confined disaster medical response and the position of shock centers, if obtainable.

  • Recognizing suitable healthcare experts for games and sports to give aid to the assessment of concussion amongst their players.
  • Ensuring that they come up with a safer play:

This is achievable by restricting contact in the event of sports practices (when suitable for the sport). In addition, it can be achievable by coming up with rule variations and/or excluding or restricting the usage of definite drills or systems to support in reducing the possibilities of injury (Meehan & Micheli, 2011).

  • Examination of sports equipment regularly:

This involve ensuring that the equipments fits the professional sportsmen well, are in proper condition, stored appropriately, and are restored and reinstated on the basis of instructions from the companies providing them (Meehan & Micheli, 2011).


This study has discussed the new developments in the administration of concussions related to sports. Specifically, the study has emphasized on the management of concussion that is rapidly growing and there is still more to study regarding both the short- and the long-term effects of harm. More research studies are constantly being carried out to investigate areas of concussions that are caused by sports related activities. Some of these areas include the biomechanics, patho-physiology and clinical course. The studies will result in different and more efficient ways to manage these kinds of injuries. Even though the future of the management of concussions remains rather undecided, some movements have been particularly clear over the previous years. The administration of concussion is becoming more and more personalized. This tendency has the probability of continuing. Both 1980s and 1990s have the characteristics of the publication of numerous concussion strategies that made precise return to play suggestions based on the duration of concussion like loss of awareness, amnesia, and many more. However, there has been recent acknowledgment by leaders in the field that guidelines may have limited value, and the focus has shifted to a more individualized approach based on the establishment of an absence of any clinical symptomatology and establishment of normal brain function before a return to play. Therefore, the analytical techniques summarized in this study will probably play a significant task in the scientific administration of concussion.




Bickerstaff, L. (2010). Frequently asked questions about concussions. New York: Rosen Pub.

Cantu, R. C., & Hyman, M. (2012). Concussions and our kids: America’s leading expert on how   to protect young athletes and keep sports safe. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Meehan, W. P., & Micheli, L. J. (2011). Concussion in sports. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders

Nowinski, C., & Ventura, J. (2007). Head games: Football’s concussion crisis from the NFL to     youth leagues. East Bridgewater, MA: Drummond Pub. Group.

Primeau, K., & Goulet, K. (2012). Concussed!: Sports-related head injuries : prevention, coping   and real stories. Vernon, B.C.: OverTime Books.

Roush, K. J. (2012). Sports concussion and neck trauma: Preventing injury for future                     generations. Bloomington, IN: Author House.

Slobounov, S. (2008). Injuries in athletics: Causes and consequences. New York: Springer.