Concussions

It’s part of the game...Until it’s you - Mario Manningham

Concussions

image by: Michelle M. Dickson
     

Whether you are a professional athlete, weekend warrior, or something in between - a sports injury is likely to occur sometime in your lifetime. But without a doubt the biggest controversy in sport injuries, besides sudden death, drugs and spinal injuries is concussions. Just ask any parent with kids in contact sports. Then again, there's the NFL...

"Aren't we all sick of every sportswriter claiming that concussions and their effects mark an existential crisis for the NFL? Ennui is an existential crisis; grown men opting to play a game despite a risk to their health is existence. It's why we have ski slopes, sky-diving, bungee jumping, adult softball leagues, amusement parks, scuba diving, running tracks. All activities have an inherent risk; football's may just be the most obvious. (Except possibly for the "sport" of race-car driving in which actual death isn't just a risk, it's a draw) Yes, if you play football you are taking a chance that you will wreck your brain. Now do you have 53 players? Do you have 53 players? OK, let's kick this sucker off.

I'm so tired of this self-righteous, but what about the players? Who will think of the players? Won't somebody please think about the players? The players don't give a damn. That's why they play. If they did, they wouldn't. You can talk socio-economics to me until you're liberal in the face, it really is as simple as that. The players, more than anyone, know what they're getting into, and they choose to play anyway. So who am I, or you, or the New York Times to get in their way. I mean, I wouldn't suggest dating them after they retire, but that doesn't mean I won't root for them when they're on my team.

The idea that we're all shocked by this outpouring of information that football isn't awesome for your head is laughable. It's like when we were all floored by the realization that baseball players who doubled their size in the offseason were cheating. Or that a cyclist who competed and won in a completely compromised sport, was actually dirty himself. Could the league have been a little more forthcoming about the effects of head trauma? Sure. Could any player have truly thought playing football was a real mind-expander? Doubtful. There's a reason football players get called meatheads. And I'm sick of having to pretend to feel bad about them taking a pounding.

Now obviously, it doesn't take an autopsy to realize there can be some common sense regulation. 1) If you play one play in the NFL, you have health care for life. Simple as that. Suck it up billionaires. 2) Get rid of cheap shots to the head. Yes, they're awesome, but they've got to draw a fine, like the league is doing. 3) Try to improve equipment. If we can make vests bullet proof, and bullets vest-proof, let's get to work on some more modern helmets. 4) Don't let kids play tackle football until they're 15. This just seems like the right thing to do. 5) Mandatory mental health check-ups for the first five-years after a career comes to an end. Make it a part of the football culture. 6) Shut up and get out of my way, I can't see the game with you standing there whining...'

Source: Gavin Schulman, Excerpt from Can We Stop Caring About Concussions Yet? Huff Post, March 18, 2013.

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Last Updated : Monday, January 4, 2016