Traumatic Brain Injury and the NFL: A Study of the Confluence of Medicine, Ethics, and Social Mores in Professional Football
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The future of American football and the National Football League (NFL) is currently uncertain. Although football is America’s most popular sport and the NFL has reached unprecedented levels of financial success, this popularity has declined in recent years. Medical research concerning traumatic brain injury in football players has changed the landscape of the sport, and the NFL has been very resistant to acknowledging these recent medical discoveries. This paper explores the history of professional football and the NFL’s rise to power, as well as the debate over concussions that has occurred between the NFL and independent researchers over the last fifteen years. This paper also includes a discussion about the ethics of football, for players and fans, in light of the newly discovered dangers of playing the sport. The paper concludes with an examination of the current state of football and the NFL and what the future may hold for both.