Some Food For Thought For Weekend


We have tried to bring you information that may not be easily found or looked for about concussions.  Sometimes this includes stories about the destruction of sports as we know it.  Let it be known that I do not believe that all sports, especially professional and high level-well monitored athletics need to be abolished.  As we have constantly stated on here there is a solution for some of the problems, athletic trainers.  Yes it costs money, but consider the day and age we are in, it will take new resources to keep everyone safe as we learn more about problems.

With that preface, here are some articles/snippets/quotes of some less traveled articles that have been forwarded to me.

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Hank Pellissier wrote an article called Brain Damage – 83 ways to stupefy intelligence;

Concussions – 300,000 concussions occur annually in the USA in teen football programs. Loss of IQ can occur after a single concussion.

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Drew Magary of Deadspin/Gawker and author of one of my favorite books, Postmortal, wrote in his weekly mail bag about concussions and football;

Kevin:

Are you going to let your son play organized football? We have a debate going on in our office since late fall about this topic. There are fathers of all ages with children ranging from kindergarten age to high schoolers. Most of the older kids play football and their fathers are adamant it was a “character building” experience that made them tougher and taught them teamwork. Most of the Dads with younger sons point to the recent medical reports that show small but constant blows to the head are as damaging as one big blow that results in a concussion. To them it doesn’t make sense to expose their boys to almost certain brain damage now that we have better medical data and understand the damage being done. Other sports also build character, instill toughness, etc. but don’t involve getting your brain turned to mush.

I would never encourage my kid to play football. That whole “character-building” angle is a huge load of shit. People who have played football aren’t suddenly imbued with more character that people who haven’t. Look at me. I was a football benchwarmer for 10 years. Do I look like a man of high moral standing to you? Any rational person knows that plenty of football players are DICKS, who think that playing football made them men of superior character, when in fact it has clearly distorted their egos and made them far worse. The whole notion of “character building” is a flimsy argument when thrown up against the piles and piles of medical data that suggest that football will murder your fucking head. Discarding all that evidence and being like, “Yes, but it’ll make him a MAN!” is idiotic. No sane American parent would encourage their child to play football.

They have a youth football league in the D.C. area and some of the kids that play start from ages as young as seven and eight, which blows my mind. There’s no point to tackle football at that age. No kid is better prepared to play ninth-grade football if they played in fifth grade. Everyone in ninth grade is still trying to figure out who the hell to block.

Even if you used every advanced piece of safety equipment and you taught your kids to never lead with their head, they’d still go out there and put their heads down. NFL players have a hard time helping themselves when it comes to putting themselves in harm’s way. And those are grown men. Kids, who are far stupider, are gonna happily discard those precautions for a chance to look all tough for daddy. And there’s no guarantee your kid’s pee-wee coach is gonna be a normal, logical person who wants the kids to be safe. Chances are, he’s gonna be a FUCKHEAD, some macho dipshit who makes first graders run the Oklahoma Drill because he couldn’t get a job coaching the d-line at the regional high school. Most youth coaches are morons at best and demented pederasts at worst. Kids that age should be playing flag football, and then moving onto tackle football in high school if they feel like it.

If my kid wanted to play football and was hellbent on playing and was old enough to make his own decisions, then maybe I’d be all right with him playing. You wanna go out there knowing all you know about this sport and what it does to people? Fine. Natural consequences, kid. But to actively want my kid to play football? No fucking way. It’s Competitive Ballooning for Drew Junior!

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And finally Dave Dyer of the Eagle-Tribune wrote about the rise of flag football;

“Our first motivation was that we wanted to establish some kind of feeder program for the (Georgetown) high school, because we didn’t have anything of our own, but it became a great program (independently),” said MacDonald. ” I think it’s a nice introduction to the game. It’s wonderful for little kids, and kids who haven’t grown yet, and you can really teach the fundamentals.

“It’s just a nice alternative to Pop Warner, or youth (tackle) football, especially as far as the time commitment. With Pop Warner, you’re usually practicing three or four days a week at least and then playing your game. We practice once a week and have a game under the lights, Friday or Saturday.”

 

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3 thoughts on “Some Food For Thought For Weekend

  1. Ally Bouvier February 25, 2012 / 15:09

    Hi there. My name is Allison and I am an athletic training student at Chapman University. For my english class, we have to start a blog and I naturally chose to write mine on athletic training topics. I am linking your blog on to my blog because I found it interesting and useful. Thanks for sharing!

  2. brokenbrilliant February 26, 2012 / 10:06

    Wow, that is food for thought. The thing is, though, that while tackle football can involve a lot of hits to the head, so can lots of activities. Pretty much whenever you’re running around in a group of people, you can collide with them, objects on the field of play, trees, buildings, cars – whatever. I think of how it was growing up when I was young — now, granted, my concussion-related difficulties later in life were NOT helped by multiple concussions when I was a kid — and I can remember a ton of different scenarios where I got hit on the head and had a disruption of consciousness, and I wasn’t playing organized sports at the time. We were just rowdy, and hits to the head came with the day-to-day.

    On the other hand, putting kids on a football field and intentionally inducing low-level head trauma on a regular basis… how can that be good? The scenario it sets up is one of diminished risk assessment, foggy thinking, and poor ability to manage anger (among other things) which can lead to yet more head trauma off the field.

    Of course there’s always flag football or other sports — but you’ll still run the risk of running into someone, falling, or otherwise experiencing a concussion. Just about all sports run the risk of concussion, really, so I agree with your approach, Dustin, of managing the injuries after the fact.

    Beyond all this, I’m a firm believer in the necessity for developing long-term responses to concussion-related issues, ’cause LOTS of people have them, whether from sports, car accidents, falls, assaults, etc. And we’ve had them since the beginning of time. I think a lot about George Carlin and how he talked about his childhood growing up — from what I could tell, he had a pretty “eventful” childhood when they just ran around and were kids.

    I worry a little bit that kids won’t just be allowed to be kids… and that all the concern for their safety is going to essentially weaken them by restricting their range of motion. I’m NOT saying that I think repetitive head trauma is a necessary component to building character, but I do think that kids need to be allowed to just be kids, and that can involve a lot of injuries, falls, and learning how to pick yourself up after a fall.

    Perhaps the big issue is that we are training little kids like grown-up men — getting them on the field dressed in armor and trying to get them to act like men in the NFL. Perhaps the big issue is all the pressure we put on youth sports, “professionalizing” it and using sports as a possible stepping-stone to a college scholarship or whatnot.

    I’ve got nieces and nephews who have been pressured since they were young to participate in sports, so they could get athletic scholarships that would spare their parents the need to re-mortgage their house.

    Nobody ever suggested that maybe the kids could work and help pay for their education, like I did. So, they ended up paying in other ways — with their bodies, and possibly their minds, what with all the football and soccer and intense competition.

    It’s a complex issue, of course. And I worry that people are going to cut to the chase and say, “All head impacts may be disastrous” and so kill off the freedom of kids to just be kids. While alarm can be helpful for raising consciousness and getting people to take head trauma seriously, it can also cloud judgment and end up skewing the conversations.

    I guess we’re all just finding out as we go…

  3. A quote from the above food for thought snippets follows…

    “Are you going to let your son play organized football?”

    ‘Fractured’ or not so ‘fractured thoughts’ follows:

    Perhaps part of the issue lies in “playing organized sport” ?

    Perhaps “playing sport” is both oxymoronic or moronic?

    Perhaps “play’ should more precisely be called participation…?

    Play involves a realm of freedom…and is spontaneous…

    Sport participation is regulated and rule bound…

    Play needs no audience or fans…

    “Sport Play” requires an audience to “Display” skills to others…and fosters commercialization and the growth of big bu$ine$$… at the expense of the disposable gladiators

    “Sport is the capitalistically distorted form of play” (p.69)

    “Sport represses…play emancipates” (p. 69)

    thus play or structured play cannot be obtained within sports…

    Then there exits the concept of “Play hurt”…

    Encourage “Play hurt” to earn that badge of (pseudo) courage

    mmm…are we adults / parents encouraging our own or other’s sons “to go outside and play hurt” rather than to solely “go outside and play…and have blissful fun… ?”

    Proponents and opponents of football typically will agree that football is a violent sport

    Perhaps football mirrors our culture more than we realize…?

    [ Some ideas expressed above emerged directly from graduate courses in the Sociology of Sport and Allen Guttmann’s text entitled: From Ritual to Record: The Nature of Modern Sports, 1978 ]

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