Dr. Sanjay Gupta Addresses The Dangers of Playing Contact Football [AUDIO]

January 26, 2012 9:17 am

CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta called in to “On Air with Ryan Seacrest” to discuss his upcoming special Big Hits, Broken Dreams, which focuses on the long term impact that playing contact football can have on the body.

The Super Bowl is less than two weeks away and a lot of people are talking about football, but in his upcoming special Dr. Gupta won’t be talking about the Patriots or the Giants. He has done a study on the sport of contact football and has found some shocking and startling information on the lasting effects of the sport.

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For his study Dr. Gupta looked at the whole history of football, “We know more about this than we ever have before in terms of what the impact of all those hits are on the brain, both in the short term and the long term. There are simple things that can be done to better preserve the game and the people who play the game and that’s what I really wanted to focus on here,” he says.

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He continues, “It’s the young kids, they’re smaller obviously, they have this big helmet on, it’s the most protected part of their body. So, they start to lead with their head, they start to use that helmet as a ramming device and unfortunately it is a bad habit that sticks with them for their whole career.”

“Many of the devastating hits that these young players take, they take during practice and not during the games. It’s because it’s drill after drill after drill during practice where they are just hitting their head over and over again,” he says and reports that the average player takes 650 of these hits a season.

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Dr. Gupta says that helmets and gear can help, but they don’t solve the concussion problem. He describes what happens when a player runs down the field and suddenly stops. “The brain is like an egg yolk inside an egg, it’s moving back and forth inside that skull. No matter how well the skull is protected, it may not get a fracture, the egg shell may not crack, but that yolk is still moving,” he explains.

Dr. Gupta admits that he does love football, but he feels there are ways of playing the game more safely and he will cover this in Big Hits, Broken Dreams when it airs on Sunday night at 8pm on CNN and you can check out a preview below: