ESPN OTL Takes on Cantu’s Stance

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 in 1990, and he does what he can to manage the pain. He can wake up with headaches that last all day and that leave him sensitive to noise and bright lights.

But Carson hasn’t had any hip or knee replacements. He works out regularly and holds functional conversations. In other words, Carson counts himself among the lucky ones.

As an advocate for retired players, Carson knows the horror stories of Mike Webster, John Mackey, Andre Waters, Dave Duerson and Terry Long. He finds it hard to watch the great Earl Campbell, now a broken man in a wheelchair. He is troubled by the tales of oft-concussed Jets receivers Wayne Chrebet and Al Toon, and by the daily agony that consumes another ex-Jet, Wesley Walker.

Some days Chrebet struggles to get out of bed or to find his way home in his car without a navigational system. A few years ago, Walker told me he often woke up in the middle of the night and prayed to God to make his searing pain go away. Years of pounding had left him a surgical mess: Walker had severe damage to his spine and 14 screws and a plate inserted in his neck.

“If I knew then what I know now,” he said, “I don’t think I would’ve even played football.”

He sent me a recent message saying he’s still fighting chronic pain and enduring sleepless nights, and none of this surprises Carson a bit.

“For the most part you’re playing Russian roulette when you play football,” he said, “and it just takes one play for your body to never be the same. Look at the kid from Buffalo, Kevin Everett, or the kid at Rutgers [Eric LeGrand].

OTL has previously ran stories about football in this one they take on the future of football;

4 thoughts on “ESPN OTL Takes on Cantu’s Stance

  1. Joe Bloggs September 17, 2011 / 13:43

    As this is a big business, things will change at a glacial pace. The data is very disturbing and only solidifiying the position that contact sports should be restricted until age 14. Given the lamentable sports culture, it would stand to reason the sports may need to banned until the age of majority so adults make the decision to risk their health. As far as parents who wish their chidlren to be put in harm’s way in the face of scientific evidence, one should take repsonsibility for their injuries as in youth it can lead to heavy special education costs and later in life all sorts of neurodegenerative disorders that cost a fortune to treat.

    Youth leagues through the NFL have scoialized these costs because there true magnitude and nature do not manifest themselves for decades. Anyone who played contact sports has seen seemingly normal youth teammates reduced to car wrecks in later life.

    If people wish to play, it is fine with me, but I don’t care to be saddled with the cost.

    • believe the hype January 9, 2012 / 23:30

      Dr, Cantu is treating my 17 year old with post concussion syndrome. he is 1 year and a half since initial two concussion and no longer can play contact sports. He is exhausted, spaces out, trouble concentrating. This is just some of his symptoms. To any parents who thinks it is a good idea to let a young child before the age of 14 play a contact sport, believe me if you saw what my son goes through everyday you would no longer take that stance. It is very scary to see your child suffering. Dr. Cantu knows what he is talking about.

    • Dustin Fink September 18, 2011 / 12:48

      He has since changed his stance on mouthguards and oral devices and concussions… That was 5 years ago… Thanks for the opportunity to highlight the false claims those that make mouth gear used to trumpet all the time…

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