Football player's retirement underscores need for attitude adjustment

August 17, 2012

Topic: Injury prevention

Accidents are prone to occurring in the heat of the game, and when they are particularly bad, it can have long-lasting repercussions on a player's ability going forward.

Jimmy Gjere, former offensive lineman for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers, announced an early retirement from football due to concussive symptoms he sustained while playing his sport. According to analysts from Fox Sports, who reported the story, Gjere's unusual decision underscores the need for a change in the way that the rest of the sporting world addresses concussions and injury prevention.

In the past, the cumulative effects of repeated traumatic brain injuries in sports have been linked to neurocognitive problems and an increased risk of suicide. Today, most athletes and trainers receive extensive education about the dangers of concussions, and protocols in cases of a suspected injury.

However, despite this increase in knowledge, some players may still choose to hide their injuries and continue competing, putting them at further risk.

"Football's about toughness, and some of those kids there, they know if they have their opportunity that they're going to have to fight through those things," said Gophers offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover, quoted by the news source. "So you have to be diligent as a coach and talk to kids and make sure that you're not going to let something slip through because a kid's trying to be tough."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traumatic brain injuries make up nearly 10 percent of injuries in nine high school sports in the U.S.

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