All eyes on Gronk; Is this his final game?

What a lifetime of playing football can do to the human brain

The NFL has assigned four doctors to watch New England Patriots pass receiver Rob Gronkowski today. One more hit could mean the end of the road for Tom Brady’s favorite receiver.

(Brian Resnick, Vox) There’s no question that the legacy — and threat — of brain injuries will haunt this today’s Super Bowl match between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Patriots’ star tight end, Rob Gronkowski, was only cleared two days ago for play after sustaining a concussion in the NFL Conference Championships win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on January 21.

League assigns four concussion specialists 

The NFL will have in place four concussion specialists around the field today to ensure player safety.

Even halftime performer Justin Timberlake told reporters his 3-year-old son will never play football, though it wasn’t entirely clear if he was joking.

Doctors have learned a tremendous amount about concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a degenerative brain condition believed to be caused by repeated hits to the head, since the first former NFL player was diagnosed with CTE in the early 2000s.

Concern around the issue has only grown now that more than 100 former NFL players have received a postmortem diagnosis of CTE.

All the evidence we now have about the very serious risk of brain injuries in football casts a dim light on the future of the sport. Here’s what you need to know.

Concussions are incredibly commonplace in professional football.

The human brain — the most complicated and powerful organ on planet Earth — is squishy.

And when a person hits their head hard, the brain can bounce around and twist in the skull. It’s this rapid motion of the brain inside the skull that creates the traumatic brain injury known as a concussion.

During impact, individual neurons can be stretched and damaged. Brain chemistry gets out of whack.

Concussions make people “see stars,” become disoriented, lose consciousness, become sensitive to light and sound, get headaches, and have sluggish or confused thoughts for weeks and even months. Read the full story at Vox. Featured image: Jack Newton, CC BY-SA 2.0