Concussions are a big topic in sports these days. This year, the NFL has new rules that will let medical staff stop the game if they think they see a head injury. Now, the National Football League has given $2.5 million so the University of Washington can start up a new institute to study concussions.
Zackery Lystedt had a concussion while playing football at age 13, almost 10 years ago. He ignored the injury and kept playing. That left him with a permanent brain injury.
Today, he advises young athletes not to make that same mistake.
Lystedt: “If they don’t take the time to heal the concussion something very catastrophic could happen.”
But Lystedt still loves football.
NFL official Jeff Miller says to not let concussions scare us away from football.
Miller: “Well, there’s risk in everything. Football’s a contact sport; many sports are. And players are going to get injured from time to time. The real question is what is the value of participation in that sport verses the risks associated with it?”
The institute is partly about studying concussions, but it’s also about advocacy. And figuring out how to get teams to play sports more safely.
Richard Ellenbogen will help lead the institute. He says his job is not to promote football.
Ellenbogen: “If this were just about football, I wouldn’t do it. It’s got to be about soccer and rugby and equestrian.”
... And just falling down and hitting your head. As for the $2.5 million from the NFL, Ellenbogen says that’s just seed money. He wants to raise about $10 million more from private donations.
Correction, 9:30 a.m., 8/14/2015: In previous versions of this story, an incorrect name was given for NFL official Jeff Miller.