NFL Settlement: How Will It Affect High School and College Ball?

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The National Football League announced last week a tentative multi-million dollar settlement with former players who suffered long-term medical problems from concussions.

Two Georgia schools, Berry College and Mercer University, are debuting new football programs this year. And Kennesaw State University hopes to field a team by 2015.

With growing medical evidence on the long-term effects of concussions, KSU’s Director of Sports Medicine, Mike Young, says it’s becoming a factor in player recruiting. “If we have somebody that lists on their medical history that they’ve had several concussions and have missed several games, that’s something we’re going to investigate very thoroughly,” said Young. “ I think that’s just due diligence from the medical staff of the university.”

New knowledge about concussions has already had an effect on high school football. A state law that took effect this year requires high school athletes suspected of sustaining concussions be pulled out of the game and medically examined.

But Ralph Swearngin, who heads the Georgia High School Association, says there’s only so much you can do, telling WABE, “The very best that we could hope for is that we take steps to minimize those risks.”  

So should we scrap the idea of football altogether?

“I think we always ought to look for better ways of doing things, but I’m not ready to give it up yet,” said Swearngin.

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