August 17, 2018 10:41:17 AM
STARKVILLE -- The wave of activism for safer football was inspired by tragedy.
Research in the last 20-30 years has tied concussions, a traumatic brain injury -- or TBI -- caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth, to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease that causes memory loss, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and other symptoms, according to concussionfoundation.org.
Former football players Junior Seau, Kosta Karageorge, and Tyler Hilinski are among the notable athletes who have taken their lives in recent years. After their deaths, they were diagnosed with CTE. Research tying the concussions players sustained while playing football continues, but action already has been taken.
The targeting rule in college football, for instance, was created to discourage helmet-to-helmet contact, or blows that can lead to concussions. NFL players in recent years have spoken out about the league's concussion practices before it installed an official protocol in 2009, which has been tweaked since then.
As research discovers more information on concussions, CTE, links between the two, and the impact of CTE, there has been increased activism in football. Some of it has resulted in legal action, such as the NCAA Student-Athlete Concussion Injury Litigation, a class action lawsuit that includes former Mississippi State defensive back Henry Davison. The lawsuit argues for more help for those who claim football left them with the symptoms that occur after suffering concussions.
Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett Hudson on Twitter @Brett_Hudson
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