Please Explain: Concussions and Sports

Friday, September 21, 2012

For this week’s Please Explain, director Steve James talks about his new film “Head Games,” a revealing documentary about the concussions in American sports, along with former Ivy League Football Player and WWE Wrestler Christopher Nowinski, author of the book Head Games. It covers eye-opening evidence and cutting-edge science on head trauma from the nation’s leading medical experts and gives first-hand accounts from the athletes, coaches, and parents.


Steve James and Christopher Nowinski

Comments [10]

Mary Brophy from Queens, N.Y.

Why not adopt the rules for Gaelic Hurling and Football and attack the ball not the man. These sports recently introduced helmets but the rules still hold and are strictly enforced. I played Camogie (hurling for women) in High School and then as a junior and the worst that happened me was a sprained hand. Going for someone's head is anything but sport and players on both teams let them know it in no uncertain terms. I still love to watch games...any kind...except ice hockey which is nothing but sanctioned brutality. Where is the skill in such thinking.

Sep. 21 2012 02:14 PM

Excellent point by last caller re: equipment change. There is a structurally higher incidence of concussions in American football than in rugby. I played rugby for a bit and didn't see in 3 years the head-as-weapon use as that would be foolish foolish foolish, though there were concussions usu via fall down or get knocked down on seat and back of head snaps to the ground.

Sep. 21 2012 02:01 PM

Remove the hard helmet. Go back to the old leather helmet, or no helmet at all, as in the many variations of rugby. As far as women is concerned watch out for the LFL. No need for a hard helmet, and yet they wear one...

Sep. 21 2012 01:52 PM
Debra Fox from Riverdale

When can we expect an effective treatment for Post-Concussion Syndrome?

Sep. 21 2012 01:50 PM
Amy from Manhattan

The Mayo Clinic's website has a good lay-level definition of "concussion": "a traumatic brain injury that alters the way your brain functions." More info that you don't need a medical education to understand is at

Sep. 21 2012 01:50 PM

You can't talk about this subject without giving credit to New York Times writer Alan Schwarz. His series of dozens of articles, starting with the ones about suicides of ex-players, opened up the subject. Before that there was silence.

Sep. 21 2012 01:49 PM
janet from LI

My husband suffered a concussion when he was 9 years old. He is now 52 and was recently diagnosed with TLE. Is this common?

Sep. 21 2012 01:46 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Do high divers, like the ones in Acapulco or competitive high divers suffer concussions?

Sep. 21 2012 01:43 PM
Dan from Midtown

The NFL just donated 30M to research neurological disorders stemming from head trauma. What are the long term neurological disorders that could be associated with concussions?

Sep. 21 2012 01:39 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Can people suffer an injury riding a rough roller coaster?

Sep. 21 2012 01:38 PM

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