Are Jahvid Best concussions uncommon or an epidemic?
The NFL has brought to focus one of the most important and dangerous issues to player safety over the last couple years in concussions, but Detroit Lions Jahvid Best’s concussions are not the norm. There is becoming a difference between concussions every player usually develops once in their lifetime and Jahvid Best concussions that are very uncommon. When a player suffers from a concussion, they usually recover in at least a 1-3 weeks. That is why whenever you hear about a quarterback or a running back get a concussion, you rarely panic, but there are two conditions from concussions that are not readily spoken of. The first is known as cumulative concussions.
These are simply the effects of having multiple concussions on a person’s brain. Each time someone gets a concussion, you have a certain amount of brain damage as a result and the more concussions you have, the more damage accumulates. Think of it like a wound that keeps getting cut and even though it heals, the act of cutting it again makes the wound larger than the previous one. Over time that kind of damage can lead to devastating brain damage and Jahvid Best in particular has had evidence of cumulative concussions. Best has had 3 confirmed concussions going all the way back to when Best was in college.
While 3 concussions may not seem like that many, but the reality is for a player as young as Best, to have 3 concussions in a short period of time is scary for his long-term mental health if he continued playing without getting a grip on the larger issues. Best already has proof of cumulative concussions, but there is a growing trend in diagnosing certain players with another concussion illness known as post-concussion syndrome. Post-concussion syndrome is the ailment that led to San Francisco quarterback Steve Young’s retirement and it is an affliction where you suffer concussion like symptoms for more than 3 months after an incident. That may very well be what Best is suffering from known and what kept him from playing in the 2012 season. If that is the case, then Best suffered from a concussion so bad or the cumulative concussions together have given him an ailment that could mean the end of his career, because of how badly his brain has already been damaged.
What is scarier than that for Best’s future is the future of other NFL players. Even after the awareness of concussions, we still don’t understand all the results and it’s still a mystery to the medical community. It could just be bad luck for a player to develop post-concussion symptoms and most players never develop it. Concussions are now known only as an act of nature. We know the damage that it can cause, but we don’t entirely understand how to predict which people to watch out for or which people need special treatment. The already mounting incidents of player suicides, cognitive issues and mental illnesses that are occurring in current and past players are showing how helpless the NFL is to understand and prevent such tragedies in the future. The only hope we have is that Jahvid Best at least is being given the time and treatment to determine what he wants his future to be, because a lot of NFL players might be playing the game this Sunday, not even knowing that their future, might be on the line, on the very next play.