“Like there haven’t been concussions in the last 100 years of sports. Toughen up. Quit looking for an excuse to sit on the sidelines.” [Comment on USA Today’s “Concussions now a hot issue as leagues toughen policies”]
In football, “pain” is considered “weakness leaving the body.” It is a sensation that comes with pride and is the noted product of an individual own sacrifice of self to perform for the well being of the team he plays for. The game itself revolves around the violence that defines football—a collection of organized aggression that is considered to be only accepting of the hard-nosed play of men. If you can’t take a hit, then you might as well get off the field. With violence comes expendability, where both characteristics of football blend to give it its beautiful but unforgiving persona.
So tell me what pain is. Across the country, football players throughout all levels of play are taught the clear difference between being hurt and injured. The aches, bruises, and cuts; this is when you’re hurt. You can play through them, and one way or another, you or your coach will make damn sure that you play through them. The muscle tears and broken bones, however, are clear to be defined as injuries, where slings, crutches, and casts are provided in relations of series of x-ray scans that prove that something is wrong with your body. Here you are forgiven. We’ll see you in a few weeks when you’re ready to go. And as long as you stay true to your promise that you have dedicated yourself to this football program, then you will have your position on the depth chart back when you’ve shown the medical professionals that your body is in sufficient condition to play.
Now the real question is, what is a headache? Sure, we’ve all played through headaches at one point or another throughout the course of our football careers, but did we ever stop to think about what it may be, or take the time to give ourselves a self-evaluation of our ability to continue playing at an efficient level? Did we maybe forget being the huddle immediately as we placed our fingers on the line of scrimmage before the play began? Did we fumble our words when calling an offensive or defensive play because we simply did not consolidate the routine signals or calls that our coaches have engrained in our minds since day one? Did we ever come to forget the score of the game, or wonder how or why you were in on a certain play but not have the ability to recall making the tackle? Continue reading