BLOG: Time to give up pro football?

Tom Jackson
Jun 5, 2012

 

Remember Jamal Lewis, the former star running back for the Cleveland Browns who tried to buy Maui Sands last year? The deal fell through when Lewis went broke instead.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer ran an interesting article by the PD's excellent science reporter, John Mangels, about the "alarming holes" in Lewis' memory, apparently produced by brain damage from too many tough hits in the NFL.

For a longer Mangels story on pro football brain damage, go here. Here's a piece by two economists speculating that football may be headed for a decline. (This sentence on pro football fans seems a little snide: "To the extent that fans replace football with another sport (instead of meth or oxy), high-octane basketball is the natural substitute.")

The recent spate of pieces on the damage that NFL players suffer in their careers raises tough questions for sports fans. Now that it's become clear what pro football does to the people who play it, do we still want to support it?

I've made my choice.

I'm still an Indians fan and I'm still a Cavaliers fan. But I won't go to Browns games, I will avoid reading stories about them and I won't write about them here.

 

Comments

rickross

Those men go into the game understanding what a tough physical job it is. They assume all risk at that point. Our military personel goes into thier line of work fully understanding the risks involved, but I'm not about to stop supporting them. If I found out they held players at gunpoint and made them play, then maybe. But as long as its a voluntary role they play, I'm all for football. So by your logic I shouldnt support the police because their job is dangerous? I shouldnt eat crab because its a dangerous job? Get over it. Maybe we should get our noses out of their business and let them do their job. If a player doesnt want to play, he doesnt HAVE to!!

Captain Gutz

Baseball is the second most sissy sport, right behind soccer.

Hey rickross, what is truly for dinner? Crabs or the other item? Or both?

Jane Goodall

This reporter doesn't report on anything... he merely babbles his third rate opinion... Reading this guys drivel makes one appreciate the old issues of the 'Weekly Reader'.

LabMan

Most football players feel they would rather live one day as a lion than 100 days as a lamb. Look at Ronnie Lott with the mangled finger that was going to hold him out a few games, he asked the doctor what the alternative was and the doc said amputate, and Ronnie said let's do it. The loss of a finger will not bother Lott but that is their mentality.

G_Richardson

We are a global community. Time to give up the NFL and start watching soccer like the rest of the world before they sue it into the "Flag football league"

pntbutterandjelly

"Vagina"? "Dinner"? (I thought the topic of discussion was "football".) (Maybe we should retitle the S.R. as the Sex Register or...the Sloppy Readership or...the Sensual Restraint or...the ________.)

SamAdams

I agree with rickross. I don't like a lot of sports, but I DO like football. And as long as people WANT to play football, and WANT to watch football, there shouldn't be a problem with it.

Risk is inherent in many sports. How many skiers are killed or paralyzed? How many gymnasts suffer from broken bones and later joint problems? How many runners eventually need knee or hip replacements? How many boxers get head injuries? Shall we just stop ALL sports, wrap ourselves and our kids in cotton, and hide in an underground bunker?

Sheesh. I don't criticize those who can't or won't engage in any particular sport for ANY reason, but for those people to want to deny it to others? Well, the KINDEST thing I can say about those people is that they make it pretty clear where big government nannies like Bloomberg and Obama are getting their support!

deertracker

I'm not sure what the point of the article is but most things in life are voluntary.  Eating crab is a dangerous job?  Who gets paid to do that?  Anyone can support whatever they want to.  Dangers are everywhere, just live your life!

wetsu

The technology involved in the game has often been surpassed by the physical development of the players where helmets are concerned. The big hits are frequently unseen by the recipient, but, some guys choose to lower their heads as part of their technique, so some concussive effects are avoidable. I've coached college football for over 25 years and fear for our players whenever they take the field. As others have said, there are inherent risks in each field of endeavor. Knee injuries and concussions are rampant in girls soccer, but, I see no decline in participation.

I marvel at the abilities on NFL players, but, they are aware of the dangers. Some guys opt out of off-season training conducted by the team which includes neck work which helps prevent concussions. The same is true for players that elect not to wear a mouthpiece, sports medicine has done a creditable job of designing them to help avoid the effects of impact. How many brain injuries could be avoided by taking steps such as these I cannot say, but, the science is there to back the claims. Hopefully the technology will catch up with the issue of helmet design. There was once a time when the game was doomed due to knee injuries and while they certainly occur modern techniques have helped save the careers of many players and, more importantly, gave them a better chance at having normal function after their playing days are done. Remember, many of these guys are consumed by getting faster, most pro sports are speed games.

While I typically agree with Tom I question his choice to exclude baseball and basketball from the list of offenders. Anderson Varejao and Kyrie Irving, among others, missed time due to injury and the Indians certainly have their litany of injured stars over the years.

FruGalSpender

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained obscenity. Discussion Guidelines

wetsu

My guess is tuna. 

Phil Packer

 I'm way more concerned about college players having the same problems. The vast majority of them will NOT go on to the NFL, and people keep wanting to extend the season, even into playoffs. Bad idea. They should go back to a 10 game season with one potential bowl game. 

York71

 If they want to eliminate the head injuries, its an easy fix.  Remove the face mask and make the players wear the old leather helmets.  Using your head in a tackle will hurt the tackler just as much as the tackled player.  Putting players in the "armor" makes them feel invincible.  If someone wants to do something dangerous to themselves, we should leave them be.  Its called freedom of choice, nobody makes them play football or every other sport that is dangerous.

rickross

some people just cant smile at simple humor. I must have offended someone. Its not dangerous to eat crab. But theres a show called "Deadliest Catch" and they catch king crab. Maybe you havent heard of it, its only been on for 10 years. Some say its not a "safe" job. But I will take the high road..... I apologize to anyone who was offended. I had roast beef and mashed potatoes for dinner last night btw.

rickross

How does Vagina sound like pink slime? Put your helmet back on before you hurt yourself.

rickross

@peanutbutter jelly time.......I was on topic. You discarded everything I typed on the subject and chose to comment on my signature line. You are dumb

rickross

I feel better now. Time to get to work. Have a great day folks.

deertracker

Hey, I was just responding to what you wrote not what you intended to write.  Deadliest Catch is a great show  but like in most cases greed/making a living trumps danger.  It's all a choice!  Including what's for dinner!

rickross

i couldnt read exactly how I wrote it because its gone. I didnt remove it. The man did. Evidently making jokes is more offensive than bashing everybody that you can behind a screen name. I dont attack any race, gender, political beliefs, religion, etc.....I make vagina jokes and I'm public enemy #1! Holy cow what a prick I must be trying to make people smile!

JIMBO2

Tom is going to give up writing about the Browns. Now if only he would give up writing about stupid topics, this would be a better place.

FruGalSpender

moderators removed my comment? why? here is a recipe. http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1926,147162-240194,00.html