The long term effects of multiple concussions in NFL football players has been increasingly reported by the media, especially after a $765 million settlement between the NFL and its former players this summer. But concussions have serious risks at all level of play.
Coaches in Illinois are required by state law to remove from a game or practice any athlete suspected of suffering a concussion. But responding quickly after a hard hit isn't enough for a former football player from the Chicago area who now advocates nationwide to prevent injury to still-developing brains.
The NFL and more than 4,500 retired players have reached an agreement calling for the league to contribute $765 million to a fund that will pay "medical and other benefits, as well as compensation" to those who suffered concussions and related injuries during their careers.
Concussions experts are working to raise awareness about brain injury symptoms ahead of new Illinois legislation aimed at preventing affected student athletes from resuming play too soon.
About 100 coaches, trainers and athletic directors from around Illinois gathered at an awareness-raising symposium Wednesday at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Doctors there urged them to spread the word about concussion symptoms to parents and players involved in contact sports.
Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign legislation Thursday requiring student athletes with concussions to get medical approval before resuming play.
Hall of Famer Dan Hampton told the forum that times have changed from his football days, when in his words, "the more barbaric it was, the better.'' He says he embraces the law, and that young athletes should, too.