This post is a collection of John Gonoude’s thoughts on the Peyton Manning statement in an interview with ESPN’s Rick Reilly concerning concussion testing in the NFL, and how Manning purposely ‘cheated the system’ to ensure a higher probability of return when and if injured. These are just ‘ramblings,’ but underline some key points that Manning’s statement may lead the conversation toward.
The news of Peyton Manning purposely tanking his concussion testing set me back a bit at first, but did not necessarily come to surprise me. What are we to take from this? I know that Rick Reilly’s interview with the Manning family was in an easy-going environment of discussion, but the fact that this what Manning’s response to the question—“How do you feel about all the new research about concussions that’s coming out?”–only came to make me wonder, is football taking this tool seriously? Is football taking this issue of sport-related head trauma seriously? Is Manning’s confession of undermining concussion testing one worth praising or criticizing?
Let’s face it, the guy is the face of the National Football League, and with that he comes to be an involuntary representative of professional, collegiate, and youth football. He has opened up a clear avenue of discussion for those trying to combat this issue, but also one that has brought forth even further criticism of this problem. The most frustrating thing about the fight to take on the concussion crisis is that everyone is ‘right,’ and that for every point there will always be a counterpoint. For every argument there will always be a counter-argument—so what is there to do?
Persist. I cannot thank or knock down Peyton Manning for this. I know one thing for sure, however, and that is the fact that our youth football players, and even contact sport athletes at large, will take note of this predicament and use it as a way to even further their own chances of dismissing this tool as a blockade to their performance. What are parents going to say about this? What are the individuals, and to my knowledge, these are athletic trainers conducting this testing, going to do to prevent this tanking from happening? When I was playing high school football, I know that all of my teammates thought that this testing was a joke. They found it useless, and a waste of their time. Sure, many programs use this just as one of many instruments or operations contributing to the recovery of an athlete. Many programs may rely on this almost solely, specifically at those without a present certified athletic trainer on site. Many programs go on about their activities without concussion testing.