As we get ready for another weekend of football, we should be aware that football players sustain head blows equivalent to a severe car crash in every game. They get an average of 50 head blows per game, each one equal to a boxer’s punch. Researcher Stefan Duma says players “have headaches after every game.”
Shaoni Bhattacharya writes in New Scientist that the average force of a blow to the head during a game is 40G, which is 40 times the force of gravity. Duma says, “That’s loosely analogous to a boxer punching another boxer with a gloved hand.” The most severe blows, at 120G, are “more analogous to a severe car crash.” He doesn’t know how players endure blows like this week after week, but he does know they can be left “dazed and confused.”
Sports scientist Frederick Mueller says, “Every year we have six or eight players die from head injuries. We also have a large number who have permanent brain damage or permanent paralysis.” Boxers like Muhammed Ali, who have sustained many head blows, sometimes get Parkinson’s Disease, and some studies link concussion with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Even young players complain about memory problems.
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