Head Injuries in the NFL: a First-Hand Account

In the article “What It’s Like When an NFL Linebacker Nearly Knocks Your Head Off”, former Denver Broncos tight end Nate Jackson recalls—in alarming detail—his experience of being concussed and knocked unconscious during a game in the National Football League. Even after being diagnosed with a concussion, Jackson was only listed as doubtful (meaning he could have returned to the game) and later given just a Vicodin and a muscle relaxer to deal with the symptoms.

Jackson recalls being hit and experiencing what he describes as a “system reboot” to the brain. “Being knocked out in a football game is not a painful event at impact. It is a dimensional vacuum through an extremely narrow wormhole. It is a piano falling on your head in the middle of your recital…” Jackson writes. The hit took Jackson down a week-long spiral of immobility and street drugs before he was able to even put clothes on to report to practice.

Three years after sustaining the hit (and one year after the NFL amended its concussion policies), Jackson claims he still has neck and head pains. Take a look at the video (included on the page) and you’ll see why this “big time hit” can be so dangerous!

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