Death by Football

National Post, Issues and Ideas, 10 08 2012,Chronic Traumatic Encephalophy

The opening of NFL camps coincided with inestigation of the April suicide of Ray Easterling, 62, an 8 season NFL safety in the 1970’s. CTE is caused progressive blows the the head. CTE was identified as a major cause of Easterling’s depression and dementia. In2010 Dave Duerson, an 11 year safety committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest in order to spare his brain tissue for research. Junior Seau, 49, killed himself in the same way in May…Football is bigger than ever, in the 60s an Alabama had only 19 players who weighted more than 200 lbs. Today high school teams are much bigger. In 2011…there were 3 350 lbs in the NFL of the offensive linemanin 1980… today average weight is 352 …Studies indicate high early mortality rates among lineman resulting from cardiovascular disease …There are lawsuits against the NFL claiming the NFL should have had the knowledge of CTE. Today these risks are well known. Football…today we know that football may cause the degenerative brain disease.
This article is worth reading…Many football players die young with CTE. I’m happy my two sons never played football.

it is a scary thought...

I played for 8 years and I was lucky. I never once had a concussion or any serious head injuries. (a shoulder injury, which ended my career)... but ya. you could end up being an unlucky guy and get a concussion or two in your career.

The players are getting bigger and faster all the time that's true, but the equipment is getting that much better too. So is the knowledge around the medical community that supports pro and amateur sport. And so is rule-making, though it's far from a perfect process. I can think back to attitudes and equipment that existed when I was a kid playing organized tackle football (I'm now 57). Talk about scary stuff comparatively speaking. Our lids were the old bulged-eared, single-bar type with worn-out webbing and a one size fits all attitude to go with them. Support from coaches or trainers when it came to head injuries was practically unheard of unless you were actually bleeding out on the spot. Times and attitudes continue to evolve ... for the better.

As for your sons, take precautions, sure, but don't live life in fear.

Well said Kenny, and welcome to the forum...haven't run into you before but something tells me we'll see eye to eye... :wink:

I'm 62, and my students are amazed at my stories of asbestos playdough in elementary school, or the highschool teacher who brought a jar of mercury around the room so we could stick our fingers in...we lived in dangerous times! :lol:

But when you look at football or hockey equipment from the 60s, it's surprising how few injuries there were. And rugby...anyone know the injury rate there?

Life is a risk, you want to play football, hockey, rock climb where you can fall to your death, so be it. I'm sick and tired of everyone saying margarine will kill you and contact sports will cause concussions. Live people, do what you like to do. Ok, I don't have kids but if my kid wants to play a hitting sport like football, hockey or race cars that can result in death, so be it. I would have introduced them to hockey and football in a second if I had of had kids, I played them and don't have any problems other than a few knee cartilage operations and a couple broken bones, big deal, and accept the risk. Man, I did a lead course in rock climbing and I'm not a good rock climber, that is far more dangerous than contact in football or hockey believe me. One decent mistake in rock climbing, you are dead in most cases, not the case in hockey or football. Funny thing is I've seen parents at the climbing gym with their kids saying this is great safe (which it is when done well but if the kids goes on to do lead climbing and extend himself, can be very dangerous), and say no way to hockey or football for their kids because of the contact. Don't quite get that one I'll say. But perceptions are perceptions. A concussion in a contact sport is less serious than death.

I would have died to play pro ball. Its worth the risk to do what you love doing the most.

Well said Kenny, and welcome to the forum...haven't run into you before but something tells me we'll see eye to eye... :wink:

I think you and I can probably both agree that ol' No. 11 is the best QB who never made anybody's Top 10 list of Greatest Ever. All Kenny Ploen ever did was win. Hope I haven't cut your grass with the online handle.

Always good to have an ally, and I love it when someone else cuts my grass!!

I once knocked myself out — it’s not a particularly interesting story — playing floor hockey. I’ve always felt that it changed me. I surely had a concussion, though I didn’t realize it at the time because the symptoms of concussion weren’t widely known then. I’ve been very careful since and haven’t had any repeat incidents, so I can’t help but think that if getting my bell rung once (I actually saw stars and little birdies just like in cartoons) produced subtle, life-altering changes in me, I can only imagine what multiple concussions would do to a person.

Our brain is more susceptible to injury than we sometimes like to think because our skull is so seemingly tough.

There are some positive indications that the CFL is taking wise preventive steps re concussions. During the last TiCal Als game, I noticed the TiCats best receiver was benched after a solid hit to his head. The rules are also strict specifically against hitting someone in the head. However the old ways do continue. The New Orleans NFL team had a coach giving rewards to players who injured opposing players. The old matcho testosterone dies hard. On a personal note, one of my sons broke some bones playing rugby in New Zealand where the participants don't wear protective clothing and, there is heavy physical contact in that game. From what I have read, our helmits don't really prevent damage to head-to -head contacts which rarely happen in that sport.

There is another element to this as well... if you are predisposed to suffer concussions... Matt Dunigan would be a prime example... how many times did he "have his bell rung"... another good example would be the Lindros brothers... it seems that those who play their game hard could be more at risk, but I believe that some, more than others, are more suspectible to concussions... like the 3 I mentioned above... some are just at the wrong place at the wrong time... Kariya and Crosby... how many dead wrestlers are there... and how many of those suffered concussions at one time or another... I don't think you can limit this discussion to just football, as the recent deaths of some so-called policemen from the NHL will attest.

I can vouch for this...a few years back I received a mild concussion...when I tripped...in the classroom at school...

Not my finest moment, for sure...

I vaguely remember a Sports Illustrated article saying that helmets may actually be making things worse due to some players getting whiplash from their heads hitting the inside of the helmets. I’ll try to find it when I have the time.

talking about injury rates and being surprised well back in the day it seemed players had alot more respect for one another now its a cut-throat business where 1 could careless if he took your head off until he see's you being carted off on a stretcher at that point lil too late. thats just my perspective and equipment is just way to protective makes players fearless and feel like superman sometimes