A similar occupational hazard experienced by U.S. service members is in stark contrast to the outpouring of concern around what is an occupational risk for NFL players.
In fact, the risks of brain injuries that service members encounter while going about their daily lives in combat or training are barely mentioned in public conversation.The NFL came under fire for its poor concussion policies after Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was permitted to play again after surviving a brutal tackle and displaying concussive symptoms on Sept. 25 against the Buffalo Bills. months later. Chris Nowinski, a neuroscientist and co-founder of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, described the consecutive injuries as “perhaps life-threatening brain damage.” Since then, the NFL has strengthened its concussion protocols to make it more difficult for players to return to play following a catastrophic head injury, which accumulating research indicates may have long-term physical or psychological repercussions. However, both men and women in uniform frequently suffer from brain injuries. Mild traumatic brain injuries, or mTBIs, can occur to service personnel in a variety of ways, including “athletics, leisure activities, physical training, falls, motor vehicle accidents, and exposure to explosive blasts,” according to research published in the Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.