Use Your Head and Get Out of the Game

nfl-use your head and get out of the game

The dangers of playing football, at any level, have been well documented. Though the sport has made modest attempts at protecting its players in recent years, such safeguards simply aren’t enough. The devastated lives of many former NFL players give testimony to this fact.

Eye-opening reports in the media and films like Concussion have served as a wake-up call to many who are now taking steps to protect their future. A recent trend in the NFL has seen several high-profile players retiring early over health concerns. Also raising eyebrows in the football community is the recent resignation of a prominent analyst who could no longer, in good conscience, support a sport that celebrates vicious hits that aren’t safe for the brain. However, these cases represent the faintest glimmer of reform in a sport that leaves its players with cognitive and memory issues so severe that it may become exceedingly difficult for many of them to navigate the challenges of life down the road.

And while the news headlines have focused primarily on professional athletes and veterans, concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are occurring every day among the general population. Falls, sport-related injuries, assaults, and accidents lead to nearly 2 million ER visits every year, on top of the hundreds of thousands of head traumas that are never reported, and therefore, never diagnosed.

Undiagnosed Concussions are a Serious Problem

Even mild TBI’s can have far-reaching health consequences. Head injuries are a major cause of psychiatric disorders including anxiety, depression, substance abuse and even memory issues and Alzheimer’s disease.

If you or someone you know has suffered a concussion or TBI, don’t delay in implementing these five brain healthy strategies:

Know the Symptoms

While some people display warning signs immediately following a TBI, others don’t develop symptoms until weeks or even months later. The result of this delay is that the underlying cause of the symptoms is often forgotten. Here are some of the most common symptoms of mild to moderate TBI and concussions:

  • Confusion
  • Difficulty with concentration and paying attention
  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty with word finding
  • Mental and/or physical fatigue
  • Sleep problems
  • Sensitivity to noise and/or light
  • Moodiness
  • Anger outbursts
  • Increased anxiety
  • Social isolation
  • Vision problems
  • Balance problems
  • Nausea

Ask the Right Questions

All too often concussions are not taken seriously unless a person has noticeable symptoms right after the head injury occurs. Many times, clinicians don’t know how to ask their patients about previous head injuries. However, it’s vitally important to ask patients multiple times and in multiple ways, because they often forget or dismiss such incidents as inconsequential. But every brain injury matters—even sub-concussive events. If you don’t already have a set of questions for assessing a head injury, consider using this list.

Seek Recovery

If you’ve had a concussion or TBI, the good news is that it is possible to rehabilitate your brain! You truly are not stuck with the brain you have—even if you’ve been bad to it. Here are some brain healthy ways to recover what you’ve lost.

Practice Brain Safety

Even though protecting your head should be a no-brainer, it’s useful to remind you of some practical brain safety tips that can reduce your risk for TBI and concussion:

  • Don’t do “headers” in soccer
  • Avoid high-risk sports and activities where you can hit your head
  • Always wear your seatbelt when in a vehicle
  • Always wear a helmet when on a motorcycle, bicycle, skateboard, snowboard, skis, or rollerblades.

Take a Look

How can you really know if you have a head injury unless you get an image of your brain? Brain SPECT imaging is the best tool for determining if your brain has suffered functional damage from a concussion or TBI—CT and MRI studies aren’t sensitive enough to do this.

Concussion_21 yr old From Football

Concussion SPECT scan from a 21-year-old football player.

Our Full Evaluation includes two SPECT images (concentrating and resting states), a detailed clinical history, neuropsychological testing and comprehensive evaluation with one of our doctors to target treatment specifically to your brain, using the least toxic, most effective means.

If you’ve had a concussion or TBI and are experiencing anxiety, depression, aggressive behaviors, or memory loss, call us today at 888-288-9834 or visit us online to schedule a visit


  1. Let’s start a petition to educate harm to the brain via football

    Comment by Janet Kay — October 6, 2017 @ 7:35 AM

  2. We have to stop being equivocal, kids playing football is child endangerment.

    Comment by John Mekrut — October 6, 2017 @ 10:50 AM

  3. Sadly, the players that are coming forward now are just the tip of the iceberg. It’s not going to be just NFL players either. They’ve found CTE in high school football players as young as 17 years old.
    This year has been a whirlwind for myself. I’ve been going through some things that I can’t put a finger on. This coming Wednesday I’m going to get cognitive testing for traumatic brain injury. There was no protocol for concussions when I played. I can remember numerous times not knowing where the hell I was after collisions on the field, countless times I’ve seen “the flash” fading away into twinkling stars & the brutal post-game headaches lasting the entire weekend. I only came out of 1 game in my career due to my brain getting shook. I got “stuck on stupid” between the huddle and the sideline during a college game at Slippery Rock. Our trainer had to run out on the field and escort me to the sideline. I sat out a few plays and I was right back in.
    The shit is real and people need to set their pride aside and see it for what it is. If you’ve played this game and are suffering neurological issues, don’t be afraid to seek help.

    I have a 7 year old son who WILL NOT play the game.

    Comment by Jonathan Murphy — October 8, 2017 @ 9:28 AM

  4. What kind of symptoms are you having if i may ask? My son is a senior in high school and played since 2nd grade. I am almost certain he has CTE but we will never know until he passes unfortunately. What testing do they do for a tbi?

    Comment by Carmen Kirkpatrick — October 9, 2017 @ 5:37 PM

  5. Hi Carmen. I very sorry to hear that about you son. As of right now, posthumous examination of the brain is the only way to be certain, but that may not be the case very soon. There are tests being developed right now that will make it possible to identify CTE in the living. There are also SPECT scans that are used at the Amen Clinic ( I’m looking into this now. Before that, I am going through cognitive testing 1-on-1 with a psychologist.

    Symptom-wise, over this year starting in February, I’ve developed depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts (which scare the hell out of me adding to anxiety), obsessive thinking (which I’ve had in the past but was well under control and didn’t bother me), lack of joy in things (life and things I like to do lack color & excitement).

    I’ve struggled with substance abuse. I’ve been clean & sober for over 5 years. I am an optimistic, life-loving & happy person. That has not been the case since the start of this year. I hope I find answers soon.

    Comment by Jonathan Murphy — October 9, 2017 @ 6:16 PM

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