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Concussions and Controversies: The NFL’s Health Debate

Concussions and Controversies: The NFL's Health Debate
Concussions and Controversies: The NFL’s Health Debate

Concussions have become one of the most controversial topics surrounding the NFL in recent years. A concussion is a traumatic brain injury caused by a blow to the head. They can cause headaches, dizziness, confusion, and memory loss. Repeated concussions are linked to long-term brain damage like chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Many former NFL players have been diagnosed with CTE after death. The brains of 99 percent of deceased NFL players who were donated to science in 2017 were found to have CTE. This has raised serious concerns about the long-term health consequences of head injuries in football.

The Frequency of Concussions in the NFL

Concussions occur frequently in the high-impact sport of professional football. During the 2022 NFL season, there were 149 diagnosed concussions, the most since at least 2015 and an 18% increase from 2021.

Some positions experience more concussions than others. Defensive backs had the most concussions in 2022 with 44 total, while linebackers and wide receivers were next with 26 each.

How the NFL Has Responded

In response to the concussion crisis, the NFL has implemented several policies around head injuries:

● Concussion protocol – Standardized steps for evaluating and treating concussions during games. Players with suspected concussions must be cleared by an independent neurologist before returning to play.

● Personal Foul Penalties – Rules now penalize dangerous helmet-to-helmet hits. The NFL has also taken steps to limit kickoff returns and reduce high-speed collisions.

● Improved helmets – The NFL tests and rates helmets on their ability to reduce impact forces. Players are encouraged to switch to better-performing helmets.

● Medical research – The NFL has pledged over $100 million for medical research on concussions and head trauma.

Lingering Controversies

Despite these measures, controversies remain around the NFL’s approach to player health:

● Some argue the league was slow to acknowledge the concussion crisis and initially downplayed the risks.

● Critics say the NFL’s concussion protocols aren’t stringent enough. There are still instances of players returning from concussions too soon.

● Former players have accused the league of covering up the long-term risks of head injuries. This has led to contentious lawsuits.

● The NFL has restricted access to certain medical researchers. This has raised questions about transparency.

The Road Ahead

While risks can never be fully eliminated from football, the league faces ongoing pressure to make the game safer. Expect concussions and player health to remain hot debate topics as the NFL’s popularity grows. If public perception around safety declines, it could even threaten the future of America’s most lucrative and popular sport.

The Bottom Line for the Denver Broncos Odds

The Broncos Super Bowl odds entering the 2023 season were around +7000 odds. One month into the year, they have ballooned to near +13000. 

The Broncos are off to a rough 1-3 start under new head coach Sean Payton. Many expected them to contend after acquiring quarterback Russell Wilson last season, but the offense has struggled to find consistency. The defense has also been a problem, as evidenced by giving up 70 points to the Miami Dolphins in Week 3.

Concussion concerns make betting futures more unpredictable. If Denver’s star like Russell Wilson sustains head injuries, it could significantly impact their season outlook and odds even more. Injuries are an unavoidable variable for all 32 NFL teams.


The NFL’s ongoing health debate, particularly around concussions, continues to be a significant concern for players, fans, and stakeholders alike. The league has made strides in addressing these issues, but controversies persist. As we look towards the future, it’s clear that player safety will remain at the forefront of discussions. 

For teams like the Denver Broncos, these health concerns not only impact the well-being of their players but also influence their odds in the competitive landscape of the NFL. As we continue to monitor the Denver Broncos odds for the upcoming season, it’s crucial to remember that behind every statistic and game strategy, there’s a human element – the health and safety of the players – that should never be sidelined.

Damond Talbot

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at

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