Chiefs and military discuss head injuries - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Chiefs and military discuss head injuries


The threat of concussions has become a big scare for football players and their families, but it is not just athletes at risk for injury.

Concussions have been a hot-button issue for years in the NFL, and now in the military. More servicemen and women are being subjected to concussions because of blasts and explosions.

On the surface, it is an unusual partnership, but beyond the physicality of their chosen professions, NFL players and military service members share a common bond - concussions.

"I think awareness and the opportunities that avail themselves with the Chiefs organization with the military to plot an issue that is prevalent," said Danan Hughes, former Chiefs wide receiver.

Hughes suffered concussions during his college and professional career. He was on a panel discussion Wednesday afternoon at Fort Leavenworth called "Culture Change Forum," exploring ideas on how to do exactly that in the NFL and the military. The goal is to reduce head injuries.

"A lot of guys won't pull themselves out of a fight. Leadership needs to tap them on the shoulder and say 'You're coming out whether you want to or not,'" Army psychologist Dr. Patrick Jehle said.

That is where changing the culture comes in. Commanders no longer want troops to suffer in silence.

"I would encourage our servicemen and women as they get out to identify these particular problems to say 'I was exposed to a concussive event,'" Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Greca said.

These groups are hoping those potential changes could lead to a shift in policy across the athletic and military fields.

"I want safety for my kids, and to know there's a mechanism being put in place for that safety is awesome," Hughes said.

Hughes' son is also in the military and will likely be deployed soon, which is why he is invested in this beyond athletics.

As for the culture of football, team owners are having discussions with their medical staff, and millions of dollars is being allocated to study concussions and improve overall safety of the game.

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