Football ranks the highest as the sport with the most Concussions. A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury because of a blow to the head. Most retired players who have suffered concussions are reported to have developed cognitive and memory issues. Cases of depression, dementia, Alzheimer’s, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) are common.

The sport is a full-contact game and some common injuries include dislocations, fractures, sprains, and concussions. A focus on player safety has enabled the NFL to take measures such as abolishing large wedge formations, protection from head injuries and rule changes to blocking and tackling.

In comparison to other sports, NFL players have a much shorter lifespan. This is mostly due to the number of injuries suffered in the playing career. A report in 1994 stated that the average lifespan of an NFL player was 55 years.

Concussions still a major occurrence

In 2010, the NFL issued a memo to its 32 teams warning that they would suspend offenders who violated playing rules that put the safety of another player in jeopardy. According to NPR, the spit test helps to reveal the severity of a concussion. This year in July, a study published in the medical journal JAMA revealed that CTE was found in 110 out of the 111 deceased NFL players’ brains donated to scientific research.

Even though the NFL has improved its ways of handling concussions, its concussion protocol has come under scrutiny this week.

Its diagnosis process has been criticized. The Concussion Legacy Foundations says that passing a sideline concussion test does not clear a player and that concussion symptoms can fail to manifest immediately. According to My AJC, Falcon's running back Devonta Freeman is still in the NFL's concussion protocol.

NFL denied link with brain injuries

For many years, the NFL publicly denied the link between the game and degenerative brain injuries such as CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy). A former team doctor for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dr. Julian Bailes, said that they always knew players could have concussions.

After so much pressure and evidence pointing to the fact that brain injury was more prevalent among NFL players, they agreed.

The league even went ahead to say that they had new rules in place to combat long-term injury. A federal judge approved a class action lawsuit brought by several former players against the league. The players claimed that the NFL knew all about the dangers but decided to hide the truth from the public and its players. The league went to great lengths to dispute this link. The NFL may claim to be on top of the situation but there were 228 cases of players sustaining concussions in the 2013 season alone.