November 19, 2018

By MARISSA CUDDY

Concussions have been affecting athletes for years, but football leagues continue to deny that there is a problem.

On March 14 a lawsuit by a former Canadian Football League (CFL) player, who is alleging that players haven’t been protected from concussions, was thrown out of the British Columbia Supreme Court.

Arland Bruce played for 14 years in the CFL on five different CFL teams.

The lawsuit claimed that Bruce suffered a concussion and lost consciousness during a game in September 2012 playing for the B.C. Lions. In November he returned to play, even though he was still suffering from the effects of the concussion.

The CFL should have ensured Bruce did not play again until he was symptom free. The former player still suffers from concussions, more than three years later.

This case could have been worse for the CFL if Bruce had gotten hit again, as he could have gotten worse symptoms or even died. Not only have his symptoms stopped him from playing football, but they have also affected his enjoyment of life with changes in his personality, headaches, memory loss and confusion.

The B.C. court isn’t taking this situation seriously, but this isn’t the first time a lawsuit like this was thrown out of a court and won’t be the last. However, in 2014, there were 4,000 players who successfully sued the NFL.

Situations like these show that the organizations should be paying more attention to athletes’ injuries. Concussions have been a problem for years but are often ignored because they are an invisible injury. Coaches and trainers need to make sure their players are fully healed before returning to play.

No player should be let onto a field if they are still suffering symptoms of a concussion because it puts the player at greater risk. Athletes have died because of a second impact to the head, including high school rugby player, Rowan Stringer.

Concussions need to be taken more seriously. By throwing out a lawsuit and saying it isn’t an issue that should be resolved by the court but must be resolved through the grievance and arbitration process is ridiculous. The CFL should have intervened earlier and the lawsuit shouldn’t have been tossed out because the league put Bruce at risk and may have made his symptoms worse by letting him play. All leagues need to stop denying that concussions aren’t a life-changing injury or a problem in the sport.

Bruce is right, athletes aren’t being protected from concussions as much as they should be. Coaches shouldn’t make athletes feel like they have to play hurt just because it may be an important game. I think more strict rules need to be put in place and enforced for athletes returning to play after a concussion. Also, lawsuits shouldn’t be thrown out because these athletes are suffering and need to know the issue is not being ignored.

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