Concussion Discussion

Quick update: Here’s an article that supports Barbara Beckwith’s views. Thanks, Harv. Too bad Ms. Palin is too knee-jerk to understand. And now Arizona wants to ban public schools from educating its students to be able to function in the world the rest of us know. The new law prevents the teaching of classes “are designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group or advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.” I’m using my best New England accent (people with “heavy” accents are prohibited from teaching English) to say WTF?

Quick hit: Why does Pennsylvania’s attorney general think that tweets fall under an exception to the First Amendment? He’s subpoenaed Twitter records for people who have been criticizing his run for governor. He’s a public figure and the examples cited seem to fall squarely under the purview of protected speech. Ah, Pennsylvania, the home of some of the most questionable governmental activities in the country. Google “judicial corruption.” The accounts work their way backward from 2010 to 1980s and before. For special excitement, Google “Paul Dandridge” and “Arlen Specter.” Yes, that Arlen Specter who tormented Anita Hill and lost his bid for the Democratic endorsement for the Senate seat.

To the main topic: I was a brief captive to ESPN this afternoon when the coverage turned to congressional hearings on concussions in football. I didn’t catch the name of the young man who had been a victim of serial concussions, but it was painful to watch him struggle with his mom (?) acting as interpreter. I never did learn whether any of the damage is reparable but it shouldn’t be tolerated under any circumstance. This video is equally disturbing because the adults involved are aware of the risks and don’t do everything possible to prevent the injuries. The featured kid was playing with a 20-year-old helmet! If “Friday night lights” are such a big deal, you’d think the schools would spend the money to protect their MVPs. Another suggestion: If the kid goes down hard, take out both him and the player(s) who hit him long enough for a trained professional to evaluate the injury.

Watching the snippets of games in the videos, I can hear my father saying, “No one under age 18 should be allowed to play football.” He spoke from experience, having played at DeWitt Clinton High School and later at Columbia. His injuries were to his joints (though sometimes I wondered how many hits he took to the head). By the time he reached his sixties he couldn’t bend his right knee. Ten years later he couldn’t turn his head. Eventually he couldn’t bend to tie shoelaces. He lived to 93 and I know he regretted every single one of those games.

If he were alive today, he’d probably say no one should be allowed to play football.


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