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Essay Three 2019

Zac Cuttito

My name is Zac Cuttito and I’m a senior at Pope John XXIII High School in Northern New Jersey. I’m planning on attending Syracuse University in pursuit for a major in political science. I am also looking to attend law school after I obtain my bachelors and hopefully become a Supreme Court justice one day. Thank you for my consideration.

Concussions in sports have been the leading opposition to sports in the past decade. I feel that many regulations and innovations have been created to limit the amount of concussions. New innovations include, crunch or impact zones being created on football helmets to absorb the shock from the impact and redirect it to one part of the helmet. Helmet technology has been the main focus of sports scientists. Helmets are the only layer that protect your head, so they should be made with the best quality material possible, and use the best designs. Prior to the 21st century, helmets varied in material and design, from leather caps all the way to plastic encased with foam inserts as padding.

As helmets evolved, the general assumption was that concussions and other head related injuries would have decreased. This was false however and the concussions actually increased. Engineers turned their focus to another industry to find out how to make the safest and most efficient helmet. This industry was the auto industry. Now in 2019 engineers test helmet designs on cars to test for impact and collisions. Using slow motion recording devices as well as high resolution cameras, they are now able to recreate impact and collision scenes digitally. This allows for a full impact analysis to be collected. This digitalization technology has allowed for new helmet designs to come about that will look to solve the concussion dilemma.

Another stride sports scientists have taken to further prevent concussions has been in changing the rules of the games. In football, there is a relatively new rule. This rule is the headhunting rule and it penalizes a player for hitting another player leading with the crown of their head. The player will get a hefty fine as well as a possible suspension. Similarity, soccer has their own rules against potential concussion causing acts. No player may kick, trip, tackle, push or hold another player. If a player does violate this rule, that player will receive a yellow card as well as a fine. Both rules have seen a decrease in concussions since no player wants to pay money for committing the fouls.

Finally, coaches are now teaching different ways to play the game. In football, tackling has evolved and changed for the better. Tackling used to be uncoordinated and violent. There was barely any technique involved and led to an inefficient tackle rate. The tackling techniques also disregarded a players health. This however changed when the “Hawk Tackle” technique was developed. This new way of tackling requires the defender to take his or her head out of the tackle completely and wrap from the legs to then bring to the ground. This was revolutionary since players were taught to put their head across the person’s body that they were tackling. That always caused a risk of injuring one’s head since players were leading with it.

I think there is a lot of emphasis on concussions in sports. Millions of dollars are flowing into companies that look to make safer and more efficient helmets. Monitoring and analysis technology is also being developed and perfected to allow for better designing. Finally, coaches and players are working to reduce concussions by coming up with new tackling techniques. Similarly, sport officials and executives are creating new rules that dissuade and penalize people for causing concussions deliberately.

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