Patrick Hruby and I discuss the recent article he wrote about making a decision about letting your children play youth tackle football. It was a great discussion and I hope people learned something along the way.
Side note: You will hear a dog barking, my kids, their TV show way too loud, and brutal wind howling through a non-secure window (it was Sunday during the brutal storms that spawned tornadoes – keep those effected by those storms in your thoughts)
OK, maybe not everyone but it has struck a chord with many people I know. Hruby writes a long form piece on making a choice about letting your son/daughter play tackle football at a young age. Sure he has been critical on football for a few years now, but this article is very informative and somewhat balanced on both sides.
I am writing this post not to steal his work, rather have it here for posterity sake and include one very interesting quote. This is what I believe to be the most applicable (for the audience) when it comes to concussion management and assessment (emphasis added by me);
“If I said that one in 10 middle schools has an athletic trainer, I’d probably be overestimating,” Guskiewicz says. “Having a trainer isn’t going to prevent every injury or solve every problem. But it’s important. Some people say this is extreme, but I think that at the high school level, if you can’t afford to hire a certified athletic trainer, then you shouldn’t field contact sports at your school.“
The root cause of concussions is not sports or football, it is simply life. They happen everywhere; from cabinet doors, to staircases, perhaps headboards, bicycles, trampolines, etc. To avoid inherent conflicts of interest there needs to be a sole person or persons that have it as their job to keep kids/athletes safe. We could always do what has been done before and rely upon the coach, but that seems to not be working out too well (conflict of interest). As a buddy of mine, dad once said; “if you always do what you always did, you will always be what you have always been.” There needs to be change. I cannot think of a better point that having athletic trainers to do the work they are educated and trained to do: keep athletes safe. Yes, there are way more good coaches than bad, but why not give the man/woman some help with medical advice and injury care? Don’t they have a job to do of coaching a team/individual?
With all the work that has been done up to this point with concussions I truly believe that we should have a better grasp on this injury. Recently, we have seen some very confusing information come forward, I feel the message has been mixed and may lead to further issues when handling concussions. Patrick Hruby, in his article on Sports on Earth, takes a very critical look at the Collins research as well as other studies that have pointed to the players being the problem in this concussion issue.
It is not the players fault, it’s not the referees fault, it’s not the coaches fault, it’s not the sports fault.
I do think that football and collision sports do require some sort of “full” practices in a controlled environment. Although the actual speed of a game is difficult to replicate in a practice, full-go is needed for players to understand the closing speeds, angles and decision-making of the sport. Without a full grasp on this the player may be at further risk for overall injury in sport. It would be insane to have a football, hockey Continue reading
Concussions have gained so much attention that the news is almost inundated with story-after-story of occurrences, recovery, litigation and people trying to mitigate the injury. There seems to be a shortage of press clipping and stories on how to handle this injury. More often I have witnessed stories downplaying the injury or the oft cited “Heads Up Football“.
The former, downplaying the injury itself, is not a good thing it is exactly what put us in the spot we are in now. Patrick Hruby also took note of this while reading an article from Andrew Wagaman in the Missourian;
Still, when it comes to the single most head-scratching public statement I’ve seen regarding brain trauma and football, University of Missouri neuropsychologist Thomas Martin takes the pole position. Hands-down. In a piece about youth football and cognitive risks published this week in the Columbia Missourian, Martin compares brain damage to … knee injuries[…]
This blew my mind. I had to read it twice. And then a half-dozen more times. It still blows my mind as I’m typing this. Here’s why people react differently to brain and knee injuries, and why football is in a world of potential trouble: because the potential harm resulting from a brain injury is nothing like that resulting from a knee injury.
If you read Hruby’s article you will see he makes a strong case for this analogy being utterly false; Continue reading
Being honest about who you are and what you care for is needed for us to succeed and move forward. As time passes we all morph and adjust to what is around us; including our likes, dislikes and passions. For some, changes can be very profound and upon reflection they can even be “out of body” compared to who you were previously.
Patrick Hruby, a wonderful writer for many outlets has had one of those moments when it comes to football, this is his words via Dave Pear’s Blog;
The hotel restaurant was closed. So we ate at the bar. It was early August, and I was in town visiting a former NFL lineman. Call him Max. It’s better not to use his real name.
During his time in football, Max was hit in the head. A lot. He since has endured nine brain surgeries. He has trouble remembering things. Serious trouble, like the main character in the movie “Memento.” Max and I were both carrying notepads, but for different reasons.
At the other end of the bar, two guys discussed mixed martial arts.
“I’ll tell you what — ever since MMA came around, I can’t watch boxing,” said one. “It’s too boring.”
There was a game on. Saints-Cardinals. The first contest of the NFL preseason. Max had his back to the television. Once upon a time, he was an avid hunter. He owned a successful business. Today, he’s unemployed. Pretty much broke. Lives in a trailer outside his brother’s house. He probably shouldn’t drive, probably shouldn’t own guns. He gets angry. Has a hard time sleeping. He misses his family. His estranged wife and children are afraid of him.
On the television behind the bar, a Cardinals receiver caught a pass. A Saints defender dutifully drilled him, slamming the receiver’s helmet into the turf. I wanted to look away. The guys at the bar cheered. I was drawn to the replay, slow-motion and high-definition, the whiplash bounce of the receiver’s skull. I wondered how much of the play he would even remember.
Max turned his head. He had an appointment scheduled for the next morning at a nearby brain clinic. The doctors know him by name.
“Look at that hit,” he said. “In the old days, I would have gone, ‘Oh, man, great hit.’ Now, I see it differently. I can’t watch this s—.”
Neither can I.
I, like Hruby have had those moments, sometimes at my job watching a high school aged kid get the snot-bubbles knocked out of him. I cannot fault him on his inner struggle, nor can I even dream that he is wrong for thinking it. Perhaps I have become too good at Continue reading
As the blog began in 2010 there were many things I hoped to accomplish by doing this project; I never dreamed this place would help springboard a family to recovery after the most horrible day of their lives. However, looking back I am glad the blog was here for them and will remain here, for them and anyone else who need answers.
I am speaking of the Trenum family, specifically the tragic death of their son Austin, and how they chose to cope and “push on” after that dark day in September 2010. In one of the most powerful pieces I have read, Patrick Hruby worked with Michelle and Gil to recount the last few days of Austins life; as well as what has happened since. Due to my intimate history and wonderful bond with the Trenum’s I felt speechless after reading Hruby’s work in the Washingtonian;
It was Sunday, September 26, 2010. Michelle Trenum woke up around 8 am. Gil was out of town, returning that afternoon from a weekend drill with his Navy Reserve unit in New Jersey. Walker, ten, their youngest, was on the living-room couch, hiding under a blanket. He jumped up when Michelle walked in. Boo!
“Austin’s awake,” Walker said. “He’s in the basement playing a video game.”
That’s odd, Michelle thought. Austin never got up early on Sundays. Not voluntarily.
Not only will you be able to feel for the Trenum’s you Continue reading
Interviewer: Is there any evidence, as far as you’re concerned, that links multiple head injuries among pro football players with depression?
Interviewer: With dementia?
Interviewer: With early onset of Alzheimer’s?
Interviewer: Is there any evidence as of today that links multiple head injuries with any long-term problem like that?
Casson: In NFL players?
The above is not a made up story, in fact it is on video for everyone to see and make their own judgements. Patrick Hruby of Yahoo! Sports and “The Post Game.” has written yet ANOTHER very good article about concussions. This one delves into the hot water the NFL is finding itself in; if not in court then in public opinion – if anyone cares to look at the information. Continue reading
Patrick Hruby is not new to this blog, as he was highlighted with his commentary on brain trauma and football back in 2010. His newest article has been out about 24 hours and it has provoked quite the response from many different locations, mostly silence. There are articles that come out that see like a lightning rod for comments, “End Game: Brain Trauma and the Future of Youth Football in America” has provided the opposite: silence.
It could be that the article appearing on Yahoo! Sports blog The Post Game has not been viewed enough to get a response; very unlikely as it was trumpeted around the Twitterverse by many people. Rather, I believe, it may have caused many people to sit back and think. Hruby looked at what Drew Rickerson and his mother Jean (founder/developer of sportsconcussions.org) went through in 2008;
No one had a clue. Not his coaches. Not his teammates. Not even his mother, looking on from her usual spot in the grandstand. On a foggy November night four years ago, Drew Rickerson found himself wandering around the sidelines of a football field in Sequim, Wash., a city of 6,600 on the state’s Olympic peninsula. He was 15 years old, playing quarterback for the Sequim High varsity football team in the final game of the regular season, a week away from the state playoffs. He also was struggling to speak, dazed and disoriented, hardly able to drink water.
Hruby traces the issue from the beginning of the injury to the trials and tribulation of the family eventually to what has been found since that time about the brain injury of concussion.
It is a very well written piece that shows the obvious dilemma that we currently face with youth football, yet we are very unprepared to talk about or even address; Continue reading
Patrick Hruby wrote a thought-provoking article for ESPN.com. In it he related the game of football with smoking and tobacco use.
Once upon a time in America, smoking was commonplace. Glamorous, even… lighting up sure as heck felt good, and that painful lesion in the back of your throat was nothing a spiffier, more sophisticated filter couldn’t fix.In short, smoking was a lot like football.
It has become evident that there will be a fine balance between the glorious destruction we as fans enjoy and the safety of the players, not only for the short-term, but long-term.
Football is brutal. It exacts a terrible physical toll, savaging current and former players alike, from Philadelphia ‘s DeSean Jackson to Hall of Famer John Mackey, a runaway fire truck of a tight end who now suffers from dementia and resides in an assisted-living facility. And fans know this. Players, too. Both groups have made their peace with the mayhem; for many, the mayhem is the draw.
Give yourself a few minutes and take a look at this article.