Keeler Article


A very poignant and descriptive article about concussions in the NCAA.  Sean Keeler of Fox Sports penned this article with the perspective of a collegiate athlete and how the machismo of those that play and support cause the biggest issue;

Lazetich is 34 now. An old 34. He suffered seven concussions playing football in his teens and 20s, including five — by his count — during a two-year stretch at Manhattan. The doozy, he says, came against Temple in the 1999 season opener.

“My first memory of the day was coach Snyder coming to see me in intensive care,” Johnno recalls. “I don’t remember tying my tie. I don’t remember the game at all. And then (three) weeks later, I’m back starting again — it’s a (nationally televised) game with Brent Musburger announcing at Texas Stadium, just because I passed the concussion test at the time.

“We do a lot of stupid things. Looking back on it, it probably wasn’t the smartest thing I did.”

More than a decade later, the scars throb — and linger. Lazetich suffers lapses in concentration. The short-term memory comes and goes. The headaches are killer, although they pop up a lot less frequently than they did five years ago.

“Still, if you ask me to close my eyes and shake my head back and forth as hard as I can, I’d tell you to go (expletive) yourself,” says the native of Reno, Nev., who played at Oregon State before joining the Wildcats. “There are certain things that I’m really cautious (about). I definitely can’t afford any more concussions. I wear a helmet constantly. So I’ve lucked out as far as the fact that I don’t have as severe of (symptoms) of (post-concussion syndrome).”

If Lazetich’s case does not make you wonder about those playing sports that are younger than him then you have not been paying attention.  Lazetich had the care and observation of trained medical staff including a group of MD’s who had access to all the information.  It would imperative to note that this did take place in 1999, prior to the current knowledge; it does however, highlight where the roots of machismo are laid;

With the non-believers, Grelinger likes to use this example: If you were playing volleyball in the backyard or on the beach, would you use your laptop or tablet to strike the thing? So why do you think it’s OK to use your head?

When it comes to reforming the Macho Culture, Grelinger says parents, not coaches or administrators, are our biggest obstacle.

“Everybody wants their boys to play. ‘He’s tough as nails, he’ll shake it off.’ That stuff doesn’t fly. You can’t think of your kids as gladiators.”

It is tough to make people understand when the effects of an injury are not only invisible to everyone else, but the full effects of the injury may not become entirely clear until later in life.  Awareness and education is the key, along with reducing exposure over a lifetime.

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