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January 12, 2016

College football player with concussion transfers to play on

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Essential question

How have medical discoveries about brain injuries affected the way people think about contact sports?


In both professional and college-level football, concern about concussions has led to increased scrutiny of the sport and how teams handle injuries.

At Syracuse University, the football team’s head doctor told sophomore quarterback A.J. Long he could no longer play at Syracuse after suffering his third concussion. But the lack of NCAA restrictions and regulation means other colleges can still recruit Long to play.

After talking to doctors and trainers for various college football teams, it became clear that no real standards exist dictating exactly when a player should be disqualified due to concussions, said reporter David Armstrong of STAT. Doctors use their own judgement when determining the severity of an injury and whether staying on the team could endanger a player’s health.

Part of the problem is the lack research into where exactly to draw the line with concussions, Armstrong said. Universities and professional teams usually avoid talking about the issue.

Even despite doctors’ orders, many players like Long continue to look for ways to play football in spite of the potential for serious long-term health effects.


 Key terms

concussion – an injury to the brain that is caused by something hitting the head very hard

NCAA – National Collegiate Athletic Association, regulates athletes and organizes the athletic programs at many colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada

Warm up questions (before watching the video)
  1. What are some of the risks of playing high contact sports?
  2. What is a concussion? What are the symptoms?
  3. What do you know about the long term effects of a person suffering multiple concussions?
  4. Why do you think you are hearing more news stories in recent years about concussions in sports?
Critical thinking questions (after watching the video)
  1. Do you think that the NCAA should be able to prevent a young player from playing at any college? Explain.
  2. Why does A.J. Long and his father want to transfer colleges?
  3. Knowing the risks involved, do you think A.J. Long should play football? Explain your answer. What would you do in his position?
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