The National Football League is nine days away from the kickoff of its regular season. If social media, fantasy sports, and hype are any indication 2014 is set up to one of the most watched seasons in history. There are plenty of story lines abound: from each division, to playing time of newly drafted players, to veterans returning from injury, and of course concussions.
The league is doing its best to keep concussions from overriding the game itself, as they should be. Concussion is but just one of a myriad of injuries sustained in the sport; plus it is not unique to just American Football. However this issue continues to gain/keep traction because of the relatively late and “slow-footed” response to this topic. Even though the settlement with the players has been all but signed-sealed-delivered (there are some interesting issues posed by Patrick Hruby that are worth noting), the youth arm of the league is promoting and teaching a “safer” way of tackling, and the talking points about this injury are becoming more evident from players and the league; there still is a shroud of secrecy. In all the hand-wringing and court battles and public relations scuffles the leader of this glorious sport has yet to “rip the band-aid off” and assess the situation.
How can you assess the situation? I think it is rather simple: gather data to find out the “true” value of actual concussions sustained in the NFL over a season. Then and only then can you see if any changes brought forth are actually helping the cause.
Sure the league has its own data and is probably doing just that, but it is so far behind a curtain, tucked in a corner where light has no chance of hitting it. I have always thought we should be transparent on this issue; or at least have a truly (Pollyannaish) independent data collection group for it. At the very least an Ombudsman should be hawking this situation, for this is not going to go away over night. It won’t go away until we can definitively say ‘X’ is the way to play this game with ‘Y’ & ‘Z’ at the professional level; then each subsequent level below the pro ranks need to modify based upon age and development.
The NFL probably doesn’t want this responsibility for it comes with some liability, not only on the medical front but in the public relations department… SO WHAT! When I chose to have a child I didn’t have the choice to be a role model and change the way I played life in order to make sure my children grew up safe and learned a better way to live. The NFL is basically the “father figure” for the other levels of this great sport. I have heard a great saying, it was applied to business in general: “the tree rots from the top”. This is exactly the case in a family, in a business and in sport.
When the blog began in 2010 there was no way to find out how many concussions were occurring in the NFL without Continue reading