Tag Archives: Harry Carson

“League of Denial” (Part 2)

8 Oct

Coming to a bookstore and TV near you today is “League of Denial” a book and documentary about one of the dirty little secrets the NFL has been avoiding for some time.  Fortunately, I have been provided with advance copies of both; the Frontline film was easy to digest, as for reading a book, well we can just say I am trying to read as fast as possible.

I was reminded quickly, yesterday via Twitter, that I may lack valuable perspective when it comes to concussion information (and that I am not normal – this is not breaking news).  Will Carroll of Bleacher Report let me know that this information will be new to a lot of people out there.  He is exactly right, not only that, this documentary will be easily digestible for the fan of football.  For any person just wading into this, when you tune into PBS tonight to view “League of Denial” you will be absolutely hooked from the start.

The sounds of the crowd, visuals of big hits grab your football part of the brain IMMEDIATELY, over those sounds you will quickly discover the problem NFL players have faced with brain injuries playing their sport.  Harry Carson saying “and then they are gone” when talking about former players.  A bold statement that the level of denial was “just profound.”  An NFL lawyer saying “we strongly deny those allegations that we withheld information or misled the players.”  And more video and sound of punishing hits that used to fill the highlight reel bring the opening curtain of this very important documentary.

This problem is real – it’s not just real for the professionals – and from the get go Frontline makes you understand, vividly and personally, why this is.  After listening to old radio calls of the Steel Curtain it all begins with the story of Mike Webster and the forensic pathologist who studied his brain, Bennet Omalu.

The discovery of a possible reason one of the most respected and lauded players in Pittsburgh sports pantheon fell from grace and eventually found and early demise.  If the football portion of your brain does not connect to what is being presented then I would haphazardly guess that you are not ingrained within the fabric of football.

As Harry Carson explains how the game was played and to some extent how it’s still played you can begin to understand the issue at hand.  This is hammered home when Robert Stern, PhD tells the audience blows to the brain are at forces 20 times greater than the force of gravity (20 G’s); or as he so eloquently put it “driving into a brick wall at 35mph”, 1,000 times or more in a season.

In the first 11 minutes of this 2 hour presentation you are at full attention and want to understand the “whats”, “whys” and “whos”.  If you are not engaged and ready for further explanation I can only say that you don’t care or want to bury your head in the sand.

Contributions in the film include Continue reading

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Former Players Reaction to Seau

3 May

With all the illogical conclusions that are happening in the press there are some small positives already.  The biggest of which, less than 24 hours after the untimely death of a great individual is the former players speaking out about depression and post-career condition.  No longer has it become taboo to talk of depression.

Now players need to take stock of their physical and mental health, some players are such as Emmitt Smith;

“Depression & suicide are serious matters and we as current and former NFL players should demand better treatment. Lack of info … no more!!!,” former Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith said on his Twitter account.

“And for you current players who think this issue doesn’t effect u. Get your head out of your but. Where u r 2day was his (Seau’s) yesterday.”

In the same article James Johnston Jr., had this comment on former NFL’ers; Continue reading

ESPN OTL Takes on Cantu’s Stance

17 Sep

Outside the Lines on ESPN interviewed Dr. Robert Cantu after he made public his stance on the issue of youth sports.  I have embedded the video from ESPN via YouTube.

I would like to highlight not only Dr. Cantu’s take but also a VERY GOOD journalist that has covered concussions, Peter Keeting at the back end of the video.

In the accompanying story by Ian O’Connor of ESPNNewYork, Harry Carson believes that the state of football and its aftermath may be similar to playing Russian Roulette;

Carson played through all of his undiagnosed concussions, if only because that’s what NFL players did in the ’80s. He knew something was wrong when he struggled with his vocabulary during interviews, a problem that inspired him to secretly listen to language tapes on his drives home from practice in the hope, he said, “of retraining my brain.”

Carson was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome Continue reading

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