Playing With Fire

We have discussed how playing with a brain injury can be dangerous; more immediately dangerous for the younger athlete.  However, continually disturbing the brain while it is recovering only prolongs the issue and is a detriment to long-term brain health.  This is the part of sports that gives credence to the awareness and education initiative.

Apparently the NFL, specifically the Pittsburgh Steelers, does not fully grasp everything involved with and around concussions.  I would think that of all the teams that should be well versed in the history of concussions and health risks it would be the former employer of Mike Webster.  Along with Webster, the Steelers have been on the cutting edge of research, perhaps not the team – rather those that are associated with them: Continue reading

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Sunday Recap

As Football Sunday played out yesterday there was more attention on the head injury issue; naturally because the NFL set in motion – if only through reinforcement – a system to get players off the field in cases of overt signs.  The concern for head injury actually began two plays in, in New Orleans.

Tracy Porter collided with receiver Mike Williams and was obviously stunned and unsteady.  Porter took a knee for a brief second before he crumpled to the ground where he was attended to; spine board and med evac later Porter was released from an area hospital (BTW they are listing this as a “neck” injury).

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Not long after that, Dustin Keller of the Jets jumped in the air and landed on his back/head.  The officials did a good job of summonsing the med staff to Keller.  Keller was subsequently removed evaluated on the sideline and locker room, where it was determined that he did not suffer a concussion.  In an extremely rare occurrence, the Jets medical staff answered questions Continue reading

NFL Kickoff Change

A lot has been made of this change in the kickoff rules, mainly by those that think the game will “inherently” change because of this.  I am not so sure we are looking at a doomsday scenario like that.  Rather, I do feel that limiting the full speed collisions over the season will in fact reduce the chances of concussions in that particular “subset” of the game.

I must admit that while tracking the concussions in the NFL last season specific plays and situations were not part of data collection.  However, it is empirically noted that the full speed nature over great distance have resulted in many concussions.  There have been a variety of stories about players getting drilled during special teams.  In fact, most of the “journeyman” that appear on the concussed list sustained those injuries during that phase of the game.  The specific nuances of the rule were described by Rich McKay in New Orleans;

Playing Rule Proposal No. 2 was the kickoff.  That rule passed and ended up in a form we called Playing Rule Proposal No. 2A.  2A ended up having the following elements: the kickoff will be from the 35-yard line; Continue reading

GQ Article

Michael Silver of GQ Magazine took on the concussion issue in a recent article, getting comments from six different players.  Because I do not want to rip off his great work, I will only be showing some of the highlight quotes. Silver did a great job of offering different points of view on this issue.  As we have stated here, it’s not the injury, especially with the professional players, that is a risk of their profession.  Rather it is how we are handling the management of the injury that needs to be nailed down, both short-term and long-term.

Everyone should read this quick and informational piece HERE and comment away on the blog.

Scott Fujita (recently very outspoken on this issue);

All of us inherently like contact. But when an episode of Real Sports shows one of our predecessors lying in bed, speaking to his incredible wife through his eyelids and a computer, it rips our hearts out.

Matt Birk;

When you’re 21 years old, single, and full of piss and vinegar, you think, “Nothing’s going to happen to me.” Back then I’d have cut off my arm just to play. My view at the time was, if playing for ten years in the league meant I had to walk around with a limp, that’d be a good tradeoff. Now I’m 34 and I have five kids, and my perspective’s changed. A limp is one thing, but if you’re talking about brain trauma, that’s a whole lot scarier.

Hines Ward (very outspoken); Continue reading