Watching it on TV, it’s easy to forget that NFL football is an incredibly rough, high-contact sport. It is not uncommon for players to limp after plays or sustain injuries during games.

traumatic brain injury

The National Football League has recently received a lot of criticism for not warning its players about the long-term dangers associated with multiple head injuries, which can include headaches, depression, Alzheimer’s, and dementia. Awareness of the issue came to a head after several former players filed a lawsuit against the league. There has since been a string of high profile suicides related to these brain injuries.

The first occurred in February of 2011, when Dave Duerson shot himself in the chest, leaving a note instructing his family to donate his brain to the Boston University School of Medicine. In April, retired Atlanta Falcon Ray Easterling, one of the thousands of players involved in the litigation against the NFL, shot himself dead. Hall-of-Famer Junior Seau shot himself with a magnum this summer as well.

With this in mind, the cheers that erupted from the crowd during the last Kansas City Chiefs home game after quarterback Matt Cassel suffered a head injury that sidelined him for the rest of that game as well as this week’s game display that there is still a lack of awareness about the severity of football-related head injuries.

Before the game, an airplane with a banner asking Cassel be benched and the team’s general manager to be fired was seen flying around the stadium. After a particularly nasty hit from Haloti Ngata, a 330-pound defensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens, Cassel was removed from the game, prompting cheers from the some of the crowd and disgusting players from both teams.

Traumatic brain injuries are far from something to be applauded. These injuries can have devastating consequences on a person’s ability to function and carry on a normal, independent life.