Concussion is based on the book based on the 2009 GQ expose Game Brain, which details the brain damage suffered by NFL players and how it has led to suicides and other early deaths.
Game Brain was inspired by a paper that pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu published in the journal Neurosurgery concerning Hall-of-Fame Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster. Webster died on Sept. 24, 2002 of a heart attack at the age of 50. He was living in his truck and often confused, angry and deranged.
Omalu, who performed an autopsy on Webster’s brain, found the veteran of 16 years had “chronic traumatic encephalopathy” which is brought on by repetitive head trauma.
Other long-time veterans also died early including Eagles safety Andre Waters who committed suicide in 2006 at age 44. Omalu described Waters brain as that of an octogenarian Alzheimer’s patient.
Smith, however, like many of us, still can’t bring himself to hate the game although it has become pretty easy to hate those who profit from it at the professional AND college level.
“Abandoning football won’t fix the sport—Americans need it so that, one day, we might learn to see ourselves for who we truly are,” Smith says.
With a little less greed, we might be able to have our cake and eat it too.
Eagles great Chuck Bednarik died last March five weeks before his 90th birthday. While family members said he suffered dementia for which they blamed football, having it in one’s 80s is not the same as having it at 50 or 44.
Bednarik played 13 season with the Eagles retiring in 1962. Like Webster, he played center but he also played linebacker. He was called the last of the 60-minute men.
So let us consider some of the differences between Bednarik’s and Webster’s careers. Bednarik, who retired in 1962, played mostly a 12-game season. Webster, who started in 1974, played a 14-game season for his first four then played the rest with a 16-game schedule. That’s 25 percent more bangs to the head in games Webster got during his career, and don’t forget the bangs received during four more weeks of practices.
Cutting back to a 12-game schedule would sure save a lot of wear and tear on players. Of course, that would wear and tear the profits as well so we can’t have that.
You don’t need to sacrifice profits, however, with a little imagination. Cut the season to eight regular season games then start a second eight-game season with different teams and players in January. Global warming is happening right? Have the champions of the different season play each other on July 4. The money would just roll in.
But that requires imagination and the willingness to think outside the box which is something clearly beyond Roger Goodell’s skill set.
How about ending the platoon system? This is something that Bednarik actually advocated. Bednarik weighed 233 pounds in his playing days. Webster weighed 255. Their opponents had the same proportional weight differences. A bigger mass and the same acceleration means more force. More force means more damage.
Ending the platoon system would mean lighter players. A 300 pound man cannot effectively play 60 minutes of uninterrupted football.
Then there are of course drugs. Not the illegal ones like steroids but painkillers distributed by team doctors. Suppose a rule is passed that restricts all painkillers to be over-the-counter medicines used in accordance with the directions on the label? We strongly suspect that would mean more players sitting out when they should. Again, creating fewer tragedies and maybe saving football.
Temple University’s minor league NFL franchise is surging and the “state related” university wants a $100 million stadium. Twenty million of the cost is coming from a state grant with the rest coming from donations.
Can you just imagine if the Temple rulers took that $100 million and use it for scholarships for neighborhood children? Why, 6,945.4 poor minority kids would learn how to be teachers and lawyers and dentists, and wouldn’t have to sacrifice their bodies and minds for the entertainment of soft and hedonistic academic progressives and other rich, powerful types.
Can you say “Hunger Games”?
If the academic honchos really want to keep getting their vicarious gladiatorial thrills, there is an publicly -owned $512 million stadium just a short subway ride down Broad Street that isn’t used on Saturdays. What’s wrong with continuing to use that? The football team’s fans aren’t adverse to using environmentally responsible public transportation are they?
The Wall Street Journal created a split-screen video of the 1973 Belmont Stakes in which Secretariat won his Triple Crown and the one held last Saturday in which American Pharoah repeated the feat for the first time since 1978.
The pathetic Philadelphia 76ers will learn in the next few hours (May 19) what the arcane calculations of the Ping Pong balls tell them will be their draft position.
The Sixers had the third worst record in the NBA this year — which is up one from last year — and have a 15.6 percent chance of landing number one and a 46.9 percent chance of finishing in the top three.
The Ping Pong lottery is designed to keep teams from trying to lose in the last few weeks of the season to obtain a better draft position.
Obviously it doesn’t work.
Maybe not so obviously it is easy to fix.
There are 30 teams in the National Basketball Association. The goal is for all teams to keep playing to win through the last second of the last game.
The primary motivation is to make the playoffs and that is followed by attempting to obtain the best seed.
For teams that have no hope in making the playoffs the goal, however, becomes getting the best possible draft pick which means playing to lose and, no, the lottery hasn’t changed this.
Here is our suggestion: Give the first round exclusively to the 14 teams that fail to make the playoffs with the wrinkle being that it is the team with the best record drafting first. When the second round commences it reverts to the traditional worst team drafts first. This means that all non-playoff teams get two choices before the playoff teams pick — the worst team will get the 14th and 15th choices — and there is a big incentive to win every game one can.