The sports media and even the mainstream media wants us to care about concussions in the NFL. I don't. I really don't care if Kyle Turley suffered hundreds of microconcussions. I don't care if Junior Seau killed himself possibly due to concussions. It is sad that they are still injured due to their career or dead, but the media does not remind us of the dangers of oil workers on a regular basis. Oil workers provide us with wonderful products. NFL players play a child's game for millions. No one forces them to play. They know the risks. This might sound cold, but I don't care.
The NFL lifestyle is rather weird, so concussions fit into the weird puzzle. I don't care because these guys are 'roided up. Lavar Arrington lost over 75 pounds when he stopped playing. I'm told that was a natural weight loss. They live an odd life where the average NFL player lives to 55. The circumstance of many players being 250+ lbs for a decade or more of their life might be a bigger health issue. They also are paid incredibly well. They also get access to groupies who wouldn't touch them without the status of being a sports celebrity. They can get an extra payout for concussions when they give back some of the money they made in the NFL to charity and share some groupies. No one forces them to play. The league has now instituted rules for concussion screening and mental exams, which can be undermined by players purposefully doing bad on baseline tests to get back on the field in the event of a concussion and testing. Lastly, these assholes refer to themselves as warriors and gladiators constantly. Risk and reward.
Another reason I don't care is the video below. Fast forward to the slow motion section at 1:19. I'll wait.
The running back, Mr. Ridley, becomes a concussion victim because he LOWERED HIS HEAD to make contact with the defender. His voluntary choice that he made when he saw the defender and knew contact was coming. Ridley tried to turn himself into a weapon to spear the defender to make sure the safety felt the hit more than he did. He ended up exposing his precious head. He made an error that every coach tells nine year olds not to do. Do not use your head as a weapon. The risk to a player's spinal cord and neck are huge, let alone the head to head impact. These roided up aggressive psychos do exactly that on a consistent basis. We are suppose to sympathize with these guys years later when they get headaches and feel sad. If Ridley is eating tapioca pudding a few years too early, it's his own fault. This hit was not the first time he lowered his head to make contact. He would not have lined up the safety so well to do so if it were a new move to him. I just spent a Sunday reading with NFL games on (there's only 15 minutes of action per game) and saw plenty of head lowering and other actions turning heads into missiles.
Fans love the hits. Go to a game and hear the home crowd react when a visiting team's player gets lit up. When the tables are turned, they shout for a penalty, but if penalties were not invovled, they woudl show a ltitle concern and then move on immediately. I go to Colts games, and I never hear people discussing the lifelong effects that Austin Collie may experience due to his concussions. Some women still wear his jersey, but it's a blip on their fan radar screen. We live in an ADD nation; fans don't really care.
The media wants us to care. If teams and doctors truly did manipulate or lie to players about their health, they should be held accountable in some form. That will turn into money, which means lawyers get a cut. We need to keep caring though as the lawsuits hit equipment manufacturers, college teams and maybe even high school athletic associations. I do not. So few people play beyond age 18 that it is not worth the concern. What about soccer lowering children's IQs due to repetitive, improper heading of the ball? Last thing I am going to do is cry over a millionaire, 43 year old retiree who shot himself in his nice home in southern California. Stretching beyond the lawsuit idea, there could be soft messaging to parents that if you are a good parent and care about your son's health, you won't let him play football. Only dumb parents and proles let their kids play football.
These guys voluntarily suit up to play. No one forces them to continue on after high school, college, or even after the first big payday. They collectively get as jacked as possible for the game. Many of them deliberately use their helmeted heads as weapons to tackle or make contact like Ridley did in the above clip. I played football and knew high school players who suffered a couple of concussions a piece. Are they fine now 15 years later? Yes. Little Jimmy who plays until age 15 is going to be just fine, and concussions due to football are a much lower long term risk than the emotional and psychological trauma he most likely goes through as a modern American. The haunted warrior is the image the media sells of a retired football player, but it is a select few. Separating concussions compared to the other injuries feels like a manufactured problem to demonize a centralized organization, a masculine sport and a wealthy system for someone else's profit. Earl Campbell can barely walk, but he didn't suffer concussions. Where is his payday? Sports media often tries to portray itself as something more than a guild of jock sniffing dorks reporting what you can see on the screen with your eyes or read in a box score. Concussions in football is just the most recent, manufactured example of how they care beyond the hype. Sorry, not buying it.