NFL Injuries Raise Questions of Player Safety


Photo courtesy of the Baltimore Beatdown

The Ravens have suffered considerable injuries this season.

As the spotlight shines on Damar Hamlin’s recent injury and critical condition, the plethora of nearly fatal injuries for the 2022 National Football League (NFL) season are piling up and should certainly be noted. While muscle tears and knee blowouts have always been issues when playing football, more serious and possibly deadly afflictions have arisen amongst the star athletes in the NFL.
Cardiac arrest is nothing to take lightly and frequently leads to death. The heart is a vital organ, and when this part of the body suddenly stops beating, the consequences can be deadly. According to the Johns Hopkins Medical Center, “The lack of blood flow to the brain and other organs can cause a person to lose consciousness, become disabled or die if not treated immediately.” While cardiac arrest may sometimes be detectable due to symptoms such as chest pain, dizziness, or fatigue, cardiac arrest often comes suddenly and without warning, making the need for medical protocol in the NFL that much more necessary.
According to CBS News, having experienced cardiac arrest, “after a tackle in Monday night’s game against the Bengals,” Hamlin came face to face with death. His latest injury had catapulted him into critical condition, and he was rushed to the University of Cincinnati medical center (UCMC), where his life and career hung in the balance.
Life saving CPR was immediately performed on Hamlin, and he was resuscitated in order to be transported to UCMC. A statement by the Buffalo Bills was released claiming he was, “still critically ill, [but] he has demonstrated that he appears to be neurologically intact.”
Hamlin is fortunate to have had such knowledgeable medical personnel, which prevented him from sustaining major neurological damage. Earlier in this year’s season, another staggeringly dangerous injury occurred to Dolphins’ player, Tua Tagovailoa. In this incident, Tagovailoa suffered a number of blows to the head. Despite losing balance and the ability to merely stand to walk off the field, he played on.
After an unthorough medical evaluation, Tua was allowed to play in another game against the Bengals just a few days later. What was diagnosed as a back injury, later turned out to be a concussion and subsequent seizure following further tackles in the Bengals game.
After Tagovailoa was rushed to the hospital, investigation against the Dolphins medical and coaching staff ensued. Although Dolphins staff remained firm in their assessment that Tagovailoa did not suffer a concussion initially, it was clear he was not alright.
In a half-hearted attempt at rectifying the situation, the NFL has resolved to add new concussion protocol stating that, “ataxia has been added to the mandatory no-go symptoms [list],” which is defined as, “abnormality of balance/stability, motor coordination or dysfunctional speech.”
While these disastrous accidents now have solutions and preventative measures attached, it’s important to remain vigilant in establishing protocols and preventative measures before calamities like these happen again.