Concussion

Jack Rodolico for NHPR

 

A leading University of New Hampshire researcher on the role of protective equipment in athletes has been recognized by a national association.

Erik Swartz researches the role of equipment such as helmets on preventing cervical spine and head injuries, particularly football players. He serves on the NFL's Head, Neck and Spine committee.

Jack Rodolico

On the field, the UNH Wildcats had a nearly perfect season, advancing into the playoffs as the top ranked team in their division. But off the field, a study using this team is trying to figure out how to reduce concussions. The big idea is to protect player’s heads by having them practice - without a helmet.

It’s no big secret that football, from the NFL down to Pee-Wee leagues, has a concussion problem. And there are lots of efforts out there to fix it: new helmets, softer turf, gentler tackling rules, even diagnostics on the field to identify concussions right after a hit.

Lambeau Field / Flickr/CC

With several players charged with domestic violence, including a shocking video showing the abuse, many are questioning the league’s culture and policies. We’re looking into how widespread the problem is and what it might take to address what some are calling a systemic issue.

GUESTS:

via Bill & Vicki T. - flickr Creative Commons

During the Depression, the face of hunger was easy to spot: gaunt, worn, and hollow-eyed. Today’s malnourished are tougher to spot. We’ll get a close up of the new face of American hunger. Plus, over 46 million Americans are on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. The average daily benefit per person per day is four dollars. We’ll find out what living on a SNAP budget really looks like. And, how is America’s sweet tooth may be rooted in Prohibition?

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Despite lockouts, replacement referees, and a lawsuit to settle brain trauma-related lawsuits, America's passion for football remains in play. We continues our series Rethink 2014 with America's beloved pastime, football. We begin at the college level, where many professional football careers begin. Critics charge that  that the danger and violence inherent to the game have no place in academic institutions. NPR's program Intelligence Squared U.S.