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Jahvid Best—running back for the Detroit Lions.
Detroit Lions running back Jahvid Best's career is the story out of a nightmare.
Concussions have plagued Best's career, and his 2010 concussion as a member of the Cal Bears remains one of the scariest sights one can see on the football field. When his head hit the ground on the play in question, he lost consciousness and assumed the "fencing response"—a phenomenon of reflexive arm extension and flexion seen when a concussion affects the brain stem.
That marked only the beginning of his story.
Fast forward to 2013. An inability to recover from his most recent, fourth concussion—suffered all the way back in 2011—threatens Best's career. He cannot find a physician who will clear him to return to the field.
The hesitance to medically clear Best stems from the fact that repeat concussions can make future concussions more severe and also last longer. Additionally, each successive concussion may lower an athlete's "concussion threshold"—how easy it is for an individual player to suffer the brain injury.
In a way, Best epitomizes the seemingly still-present disconnect between players, their coaches and a team's medical staff with regards to concussions. His career seems to already have its days numbered, and no doctor wants to be the one responsible for what could happen to him if he returns to football.
Yet he still wants to play.
Can you blame him? Of course not. He is an athlete, and he defines himself by his sport. If he feels he can play, he will want to.
Unfortunately, the problem extends much deeper—far beyond will and determination. For now, it also lacks a solution.