Head Injuries in Sports


Christoph Kramer (in white) plays in the 2014 World Cup game between Germany and Argentina on July 13.
Photo by Danilo Borges via Wikimedia Commons

Many professional athletes cause harm to their bodies by playing sports. One terrible injury is a concussion. Liz Waid and Bruce Gulland look at the issue of concussions in sports.

Transcript


Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I'm Liz Waid.

Voice 2 

And I'm Bruce Gulland. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1 

It is the final game of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Germany and Argentina are playing to become World Cup champions. Christoph Kramer is one of the most skilled players on Germany's football team. During the 17th minute of the game, Kramer runs towards the ball. An Argentine player runs next to him. As they reach the ball, the Argentine player's shoulder hits the side of Kramer's head. Kramer falls to the ground.

Voice 2 

After the accident, Christoph Kramer lays on the ground for a long time. He holds his head in his hands. A doctor comes to examine Kramer. He says that Kramer can continue to play.

Voice 1 

Kramer gets up and begins to play again. He plays in the World Cup game for 15 more minutes. During this time, he runs slower than usual. His eyes do not look normal. Many people watching the game think something is wrong.

Voice 2 

After Kramer leaves the game, doctors examine him more closely. They find that he has suffered a concussion. This kind of brain injury happens when a person's head hits something very hard.

Voice 1 

Many people who are serious about playing sports are at risk for concussions. Athletes who play sports like football, American football, rugby and basketball are even more at risk. For these professional athletes, concussions are a very big problem. They are a problem that most people do not treat seriously enough. Today's Spotlight is on the problem of concussions in professional sports.

Voice 2 

A concussion injury causes a person's brain to stop working normally for a short time. A concussion happens when a person’s brain hits his skull bone. This head bone normally protects the brain. But if a person hits his head too hard, the brain moves around inside the skull. This movement can damage the brain.

Voice 1 

After a concussion, a person will often feel terrible head pain. It can be difficult for him to walk. It can be difficult for him to see. A person who suffers from a concussion may become sick and vomit. Doctors consider a concussion to be a serious injury.

Voice 2 

However, professional sports teams do not always treat concussions as a serious injury. The team managers and coaches often ask the athlete to act as if the concussion did not happen. They want the athlete to return to the game quickly.

Voice 1 

Concussions are not easy to see. The injury may not appear to be serious. There is no blood. A person can still walk and run and kick and throw after suffering a concussion. People watching the game may think the injury is not real.

Voice 2 

For this reason, some athletes feel shame about concussions. An athlete may not ask for help. She may not let a doctor examine her head. She may continue to play the game.

Voice 1 

The National Collegiate Athletic Association, or NCAA, is an organization that makes rules for many college sports in the United States. In 2003, they performed a study about concussions. They found that most athletes take more than seven days to recover from a single concussion. But most sports teams give the athlete less than five days to recover.

Voice 2 

Some athletes suffer many concussions during their time playing professional sports. In fact, after one concussion, athletes are more likely to get more concussions. When this happens, the effects become much worse. Repeated concussion sufferers often experience memory loss. They cannot think as quickly or clearly. Some become very sad or angry. They need medicine to treat this depression. They may even try to hurt themselves or others.

Voice 1 

Dave Duerson was a former American football player. In 2011, he shot himself in the chest with a gun. He died. He left a note asking that doctors examine his brain. Duerson believed that he had a brain disease caused by concussions.

Voice 2 

Duerson believed he suffered from CTE. CTE causes a person's brain to permanently change. It can cause them to feel sadness or anger even when they do not want to. It can cause memory loss. It can make it difficult for a person to walk and speak normally. When doctors examined Dave Duerson's brain, they discovered that he did suffer from CTE.

Voice 1 

Scientists and doctors are just beginning to learn about CTE. But they already believe it is a very serious problem, especially for athletes. Since Duerson's death, doctors have examined the brains of many other former athletes who have died. Many of these athletes also suffered from CTE.

Voice 2 

In 2014, doctors discovered that former American football player Leonard Marshall suffers from CTE. He is one of the first living people to be tested for the disease. Marshall knew something was wrong with his brain. However, he did not know the cause. He said,

Voice 3 

"I knew there was something happening. I have had memory loss. I have behaved in strange ways. I have felt anger for no reason. There are times when I cannot think normally."

Voice 1 

All athletes try to stay safe from injuries. They train their bodies. They wear special equipment. They work with specially trained doctors. And when they do suffer from an injury like a broken bone, they are usually able to recover completely.

Voice 2 

However, concussions are different. Athletes cannot train their brains to keep them safe. Some athletes wear helmets to protect their heads. But it is often not enough to prevent concussions. And when athletes do suffer from a concussion, they never completely recover. The effects are permanent.

Voice 1 

For this reason, concussions are not only a serious problem for athletes. They are also a serious problem for anyone who enjoys sports. Millions of people spend time and money watching professional athletes play sports.  They cheer when their team wins, and feel sad when their team loses. They expect these athletes to perform well. It is easy to forget that professional athletes are real people.

Voice 2 

In 2014, Steve Almond wrote about concussions for the Boston Globe newspaper. Because of concussions, he has stopped watching American football. He wrote,

Voice 4 

"Watching a game that causes humans to suffer brain damage is wrong. It is easy to ignore this fact. But doing so is not moral."

Voice 1 

Do you agree or disagree? Does knowing about the effects of concussions change your interest in sports? Or are concussions just a risk that athletes take? Tell us what you think. You can email us at radio at radio@radioenglish.net

Voice 2 

The writer of this program was Ryan Geertsma. The producer was Bruce Gulland. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can hear this program again, and read it, on the Internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, "Head Injuries In Sports."

Voice 1 

You can also find us on Facebook. Just search for Spotlight Radio. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye

Question:

Can people enjoy a sport when they know that the sport may damage a player's body? Would this knowledge make you watch fewer sports? Or are injuries just a risk a player takes when he or she plays a sport?

Comments


Learning Everything's avatar
Learning Everything
said on March 24, 2015

Everyone like to play sport, a lot of sports that can help a people is stronger than, richer than and concussions while they played such as football, America football, baseball… They play in their team and against another team for winning a prize in a game.

However beside that, some of sports they can play alone or couple people such as golf, tennis, table tennis, badminton… So it is not happen concussions too much.

All of athletes are awayls try to protect their body closely, they don’t want any damage or injuries to them or their friend, but sometimes that still happen by a contact between them.

Thanks Spotlightradio.net. GOD bless everyone.

Avatar Spotlight
Giant
said on March 24, 2016

Of course I’ll watch fewer sports,after I lean about concussion.
        Thank you!

Severino Ramos da Silva's avatar
Severino Ramos da Silva
said on March 25, 2016

From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Severino Ramos)
To: spotlight
Subject: answer to the question above
Date: Friday 25, March 2016
Brazil

Dear Liz Waid, Bruce Gulland, and Ryan Geertsma:

First, I want to thank you by more one excellent matter that you have produced for us. Yes, they can. Because people when are watching a type of sport in front of television or in the stadium they want to see emotion during the game independent which happens accidents or not. No, I would not. But, to tell you the truth I rarelly watch game because I do not have time. I work every day at the hospital. Yes, injuries are just a risk to the players when they are playing but other people can injury without play sport. For example: at home, at work, and etc.

Your regards,
Severino Ramos

Kaleb Kolaibi's avatar
Kaleb Kolaibi
said on October 31, 2017

Yes, they can.
I think that the most of sports were nice for people eccept the violent sports (for example; boxing, wrestling, etc.)
which must be canceled and becomes illegal. Let’s we remmember of Mohammed Ali Clay!!!!
For me, I like the Tennes of land and Gulf.
GOD bless you