Certainly, anybody who was watching football last Saturday afternoon and evening was made aware - repeatedly - of the nasty concussion Tim Tebow suffered at the hands of Kentucky defensive end Taylor Wyndham. We watched the replays, in regular and slow motion, of the back of Tebow’s head crashing into his lineman’s knee, knocking the famed quarterback out cold. That all, y’know, happened.
(ERROR: DOES NOT COMPUTE, DELETE AT ONCE)
Someone may want to tell the SEC that we all remember it, though, because the conference is seemingly on a mission to wipe any and all mentions of said horrific injury (and subsequent vomiting and hospitalization) from the record. It was just a “big hit”; that’s all.
For a while now, we’ve wondered how the NFL’s going to handle the incoming landslide of evidence coming toward them, universally suggesting their sport can be very bad for the neurological health of the people who play it. That’s damning stuff, and it’s borne out both anecdotally (in the case of Mike Webster) and scientifically (in the CBC’s study that put linemen’s life expectancy at a scant 52 years).
(Rod Smith’s four (reported) concussions don’t bode well.)
Fortunately, the NFL recognizes that it can’t keep its head in the sand forever, and today marks a rather watershed moment: one where the league announces that a study that it commissioned has indicated a much higher propensity for dementia in former players.
Let’s be honest, if you’re reading this right now, you’re probably a male sports fan. And that means you’ve probably spent a substantial amount of time on YouTube watching football players get absolutely destroyed. There’s like eleventy million clips of “HARDEST HIT EVER” on there, and 90% of them are spectacular.
(”Remember to take notes, guys, and make sure they say more than “THIS IS AWESOME” over and over. We’ve had this problem a lot lately.”)
Another substantial amount of them - and the overlap’s heavy here - involve head injuries. Concussions, to be precise. And while some University of Kentucky scientists were wasting time by watching clips of fellow Wildcat Myron Pryor knock a Georgia receiver into the next decade, they decided to turn the activity into an experiment - one that actually proved fruitful.
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Fortuitously timed for Super Bowl week, Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy released a study Tuesday detailing yet another athlete’s early death and a possible connection to severe brain damage accrued over years of violent blows.
The report implies chronic traumatic encephalopathy linked to concussions cause damage deep in the brain’s emotional ridges, which leads to many of the post-career symptoms of NFL players, wrestlers, and other athletes.
Even girls’ hockey players (a nominally non-contact sport) are reporting more concussions, and more lasting effects of those concussions as the sport speeds up. Certainly, the NFL would acknowledge some culpability in the necessarily violent nature of the sport. And they do … up to a fine legal point, of course.
Everyone who straps on the shoulder pads and ties their cleats wants to make it to the NFL one day. That’s where fortunes are made and men who are such athletic freaks of nature that they’re barely classifiable as human are revered. Sure, you’d get hurt, but you’d be good enough at football that you’d dole out some hurting yourself, and plus bones heal anyway, so what’s the big deal, right?
(Well, you have to take this guy out, his brain is glowing.)
Well, according to the CBC’S FIFTH ESTATE program, there is, in fact, no big deal–as long as you don’t feel like living much past your fiftieth birthday.
To put it as bluntly as a 96 mph fastball to the jaw, Major League Baseball umpires are dropping like flies from blows to the head and neck caused by batted and/or pitched balls and no one seems to know what to do about it. Yes, catchers go through the same types of blows, but they’re much better protected and, you know, athletes. (Okay, most of them.)
(Don’t do it, Roberto; you’ll give him another concussion!)
Five MLB umpires (including Kerwin Danley, who took that Brad Penny pitch off his head last month, and John Hirschbeck, pictured above) cannot complete their duties at this moment because of those head and neck injuries that have accumulated over time. Umps have been asked to start reporting the blows to the head, but that’s probably the last stat on their minds during a game.
(Especially if a concussion has wiped the blow off the mental stat sheet.)