The return of full-capacity crowds to NFL stadiums this year was treated as a celebration. After playing in mostly empty stadiums in 2020, the league treated this season as a major comeback story. With COVID-19 now ravaging several rosters across the league, many fans are questioning if the NFL can even finish the season. Aside from COVID, football comes with other obvious risks, as it is in inherently violent sport.

The league has been under fire for years for ignoring long-term damage caused by head injuries. Former NFL wide receiver Vincent Jackson was diagnosed with State 2 CTE after his death. Head trauma and its long-term effects have become a major problem for the National Football League. They possibility for a tragedy to occur on the field lingers in the back of the minds of fans, players, and coaches.

During the December 16th Thursday Night Football game between the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs, those terrible fears came true. Helpless teammates, opposing players, and fans looked on as Chargers WR Donald Parham was carted off the field. He was knocked out on a routine-looking play.

After being strapped to the gurney, Parham showed signs of “fencing.” This is a neurological response to a head injury where the player loses control of their arms. They wind up tensed up in an unnatural position. It was a terrifying moment for everyone watching. Later in the evening, the Chargers offered an update on Parham’s condition via Twitter.

“Injury Update: Tight End Donald Parham Jr. is currently undergoing tests, imaging and evaluation for a head injury at UCLA Harbor Medical Center and is in stable condition.”

Donald Parham has been a key contributor to the Chargers’ potent air attack. He had 20 receptions for 190 yards and 3 touchdowns going into the game. Now, his future in the league is questionable.

Football is a brutal game where players pay a huge physical toll for the privilege of participating at the highest level. Parham unfortunately fell victim to those risks. The entire Thirsty staff is sending our best wishes for a full and speedy recovery to Donald Parham.

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Michael Perry

Michael Perry is a news contributor for Ringside News and Thirsty for News. Michael has an M.A. in Communication Technology from Point Park University in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA.

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