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fordfixer
06-29-2010, 12:44 AM
Cook: This game is serious
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10180/1069021-66.stm

Many people are worried about an NFL lockout in 2011 and the long-range impact it might have on professional football. Will it leave the sport without a salary cap? Will it turn football into baseball? Heaven forbid, will it turn the Steelers into the Pirates?

Legitimate concerns.

But it might be missing the big picture. It's getting increasingly hard to believe that pro football will survive in the form that we know it for reasons that have nothing to do with lockouts, percentages of gross revenues and filthy rich owners Jerry Jones and Daniel Snyder. It's getting harder to think the game will endure and flourish if it keeps killing its players or, at the very least, leaving them with debilitating brain injuries long before their time.

Did you see the front-page story on Chris Henry in Monday's Post-Gazette? If you missed it, go to post-gazette.com and read it online. It is well worth your time. It might change how you watch pro football. It might even make you hope that the NFL puts in rules to protect its players from themselves even if it means dramatically changing what is an enormously popular, billion-dollar business.

Henry, 26, was a member of the Cincinnati Bengals when he was killed in a traffic accident in December. Subsequent tests of his brain for a study at West Virginia University showed he had brain disease consistent with that of an 80- or 90-year-old man and could have contributed to his pattern of troubled behavior -- including five arrests and four suspensions in the NFL and in college. "The issue is repeated impact, repeated blows to the head," said Dr. Bennet Omalu, one of the physicians involved in the study, perhaps going back to Henry's playing days in college, high school and even youth football.

The news about Henry hit especially hard here, and not just because he played at West Virginia. Over the years, we have read horror stories about how brain disease from football-related trauma almost certainly contributed to the premature deaths of former Steelers linemen Mike Webster, Terry Long and Justin Strzelczyk. Just last fall, we read on these pages about the sad story of former Pitt All-American and Steelers No. 1 draft pick Paul Martha, who went from the powerful job of president of the Penguins and Mellon Arena to living in an assisted care facility in suburban St. Louis because of concussion-related dementia tracing to his playing days.

Now, the Henry case offers proof for the first time that active players suffer from progressive generative brain disease. It makes you wonder how many players with the same condition are in the NFL right now. It's scary to think about how many Websters, Longs, Strzelczyks and Marthas there will be in the near future.

It could end up costing the NFL countless millions in damages.

"It is a call to action," Omalu said.

"I'm not calling for the eradication of football; no, I'm asking for full disclosure to the players. Like the surgeon general considers smoking to be dangerous to your health, repeated impacts of the brain are dangerous to your health and will affect you later in life. Period. The players need to know this.

"I think it's an epidemic."

By now, with all of the attention that head injuries in the NFL have received recently, every player should be aware of the dangers. That's not likely to cause them to push for change, though. They've been conditioned for too long that concussions and brain trauma are an inherent part of a game that pays many of them millions. As Martha, 68, put it of his era, "If you said you weren't OK, you were a sissy." As current Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward has said: "I've been out there dinged up. The following week, got right back out there. I don't think guys really worry about the future ... "

It's not as if the NFL isn't trying to protect the players from themselves. Probably out of fear of those astronomic costs down the road, it is trying to eliminate helmet-to-helmet hits. It is working to make helmets safer. It is requiring its team doctors to be more cautious with players with concussions, unlike during Martha's day when those docs routinely would give a guy smelling salts and send him back in the game.

But the NFL's position has been, per its medical people, that the long-term damage is caused by single, dramatic blows to the head, not the repeated trauma that happens in every game. The Henry case would seem to refute that; he never was diagnosed with a concussion. Clearly, more studies are necessary. Depending on how those studies go ...

It's easy to imagine the NFL putting in some sort of weight limit for its players, who always seem to be getting bigger, stronger and faster and involved in more violent collisions than ever. It's easy to think the league will have its down linemen stand instead of play from a three-point stance to reduce the incidents of helmet-to-helmet contact. Who knows what other changes there might be?

The pro game we know and love might never be the same. Well, guess what? That might not be such a bad thing.

That potential lockout in 2011? That threat is nothing. If it happens, it will be billionaire owners fighting with millionaire players over money.

But head injuries in football? The proof is becoming overwhelming. We're talking about life and death.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10180/10 ... z0sDLjGJAj (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10180/1069021-66.stm#ixzz0sDLjGJAj)

hawaiiansteel
06-29-2010, 01:41 AM
reading this kind of stuff is enough to make a parent think twice about letting their son play football...

LordVile
06-29-2010, 02:40 AM
i think its quite obvious if you get ur head bashed around, ur gunna sustain some form of brain damage. Look at boxers like Muhammed Ali, or wrestler Chris Benoit who killed his wife and son.. I look at the steeler dvd with the old school guys like Banaszek amd others and you could tell there alittle off.

NFL, just wants to make money and just like Pro-Wrestling, they don't want to admit to it, so they have their own set of doctors, BS everyone. The players already know it..

It's what you get paid millions for.. I suppose. Just have the player sign some sort of legal waivers so they can't sue the NFL or something, I dunno..

But my point is that it's obvious, the effects.
:HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger

birtikidis
06-29-2010, 03:03 AM
you know it could also have been from the booze and drugs that Henry was known to partake in also.

Shawn
06-29-2010, 03:45 AM
reading this kind of stuff is enough to make a parent think twice about letting their son play football...

$$$

If I had a boy there is zero way I would let him play football. I would rather work on his golf swing. This game is brutal and you still hear fans complain about players who want to get paid. I don't blame em. How much is your brain worth? You couldn't give me Ben's salary and/or fame in exchange for his head trauma.

I don't have the answers but we must make this game safer for players from the pee wee leagues and up. No I don't want to turn this into two hand touch...but it's obvious changes need to come.

SanAntonioSteelerFan
06-29-2010, 07:27 AM
Anyone think Ben's behavior could be related to repeated blows to the head?

All the interviews with people who knew him in college, and even his first few years on the Steelers, paint a picture of a guy who seems very different than the one in the headlines now.

Could that be brain-trauma related?

flippy
06-29-2010, 07:29 AM
Some of us have Ben's brain without the money ;)

I would never let my kid play either. Too violent.

I don't care if they lockout. Life will go on with or without them. The lockout will only hurt them, not me.

D Rock
06-29-2010, 07:58 AM
The more I learn the more I'm glad I stopped playing when I got to high school to focus on other sports.

Makes you reconsider the term 'meat head' a bit.

BradshawsHairdresser
06-29-2010, 10:02 AM
you know it could also have been from the booze and drugs that Henry was known to partake in also.
$$$$$$

Not to minimize the brain injuries...I know they're serious...but lots of players get lots of blows to the head. Very few of them end up falling off pickup trucks and dying. Maybe the head injuries contributed somewhat. We KNOW that for way too may people, use of drugs and booze is related to doing stupid things--almost daily, there are reports that affirm that.

And it's not necessarily that Henry was using when he died. Drug and alcohol abuse can damage the mind such that it is incapable of functioning correctly. I've met people who aren't all there because of that (thinking stuffed animals are talking to them, hearing voices telling them to do crazy things, picking stupid fights, unable to hold a job, having to live homeless, etc.).

BradshawsHairdresser
06-29-2010, 10:09 AM
Anyone think Ben's behavior could be related to repeated blows to the head?

All the interviews with people who knew him in college, and even his first few years on the Steelers, paint a picture of a guy who seems very different than the one in the headlines now.

Could that be brain-trauma related?

I'm inclined to think that Ben's behavior issues are more likely related to alcohol abuse (see above post). Perhaps the blows to the head factor in. But I know a lot of guys who display bad behavior after drinking too much. I've not known of many who display bad behavior as a result blows to the head. Not to say it can't happen. I just don't think it's as likely an explanation.

cruzer8
06-29-2010, 12:57 PM
Anyone think Ben's behavior could be related to repeated blows to the head?

All the interviews with people who knew him in college, and even his first few years on the Steelers, paint a picture of a guy who seems very different than the one in the headlines now.

Could that be brain-trauma related?

I'm inclined to think that Ben's behavior issues are more likely related to alcohol abuse (see above post). Perhaps the blows to the head factor in. But I know a lot of guys who display bad behavior after drinking too much. I've not known of many who display bad behavior as a result blows to the head. Not to say it can't happen. I just don't think it's as likely an explanation.

So you go out with him routinely and you know he abuses alcohol?

feltdizz
06-29-2010, 01:08 PM
Anyone think Ben's behavior could be related to repeated blows to the head?

All the interviews with people who knew him in college, and even his first few years on the Steelers, paint a picture of a guy who seems very different than the one in the headlines now.

Could that be brain-trauma related?
Ben probably had 100 dollars in his bank account while in college on a good night.... in Miami, Ohio.

Being a superstar known around the world with an unlimited bank roll is very different.

Power is a hell of a drug.

RuthlessBurgher
06-29-2010, 01:26 PM
Anyone think Ben's behavior could be related to repeated blows to the head?

All the interviews with people who knew him in college, and even his first few years on the Steelers, paint a picture of a guy who seems very different than the one in the headlines now.

Could that be brain-trauma related?
Ben probably had 100 dollars in his bank account while in college on a good night.... in Miami, Ohio.

Being a superstar known around the world with an unlimited bank roll is very different.

Power is a hell of a drug.

I thought cocaine was a hell of a drug?

http://www.incompetentpictures.com/sitefiles/Rick%20James%202.jpg

BradshawsHairdresser
06-30-2010, 12:18 AM
Anyone think Ben's behavior could be related to repeated blows to the head?

All the interviews with people who knew him in college, and even his first few years on the Steelers, paint a picture of a guy who seems very different than the one in the headlines now.

Could that be brain-trauma related?

I'm inclined to think that Ben's behavior issues are more likely related to alcohol abuse (see above post). Perhaps the blows to the head factor in. But I know a lot of guys who display bad behavior after drinking too much. I've not known of many who display bad behavior as a result blows to the head. Not to say it can't happen. I just don't think it's as likely an explanation.

So you go out with him routinely and you know he abuses alcohol?

Where did I say he abuses alcohol? I didn't. I don't know whether he does (nor do you). I'm just doing something we all do a lot of on this board--speculating. Going strictly by the odds, it's a lot more likely that Ben's bad behavior is related to alcohol abuse than to brain injury.

rpmpit
06-30-2010, 08:12 AM
It seems like I read a lot more stories about kids being injured (or worse) from being hit by line drives in baseball than I do about football injuries. And that being said, its a contact sport. Injuries are expected. Its a personal choice, but I don't think I want to limit armpit jr.'s choices based on my concern for his safety. I'm sure more kids are hurt riding bicycles - so do I stop him from doing that too?

And what about the players who aren't hurt? Former players have become successful professionals off the field (lawyers, politicians, businessmen, etc.). There are obviously many more players who leave the game healthy than those who are injured. These guys have the best doctors, trainers, etc. working with them. Do you think I had my shoulder surgery done by Dr. Andrews down in Alabama? And how many people are injured on the job (regular jobs) who don't have the resources these guys do?

It's sad that anyone suffers from brain injuries. But (unfortunately) you can't protect your kids from everything. You give them the tools they'll need and hope they make the best decisions for themselves.

birtikidis
06-30-2010, 03:07 PM
Wow, I think it's crazy to blame all of the neurological problems that these guys suffer from on football. Popular media and the plain stupidity of the average American have downplayed how destructive various drugs and alcohol have on the human body. Everyone wants to be able to "feel good" so they blame their problems on something other than the corrosive poisons they put in their bodies. I've met plenty of intelligent people who began to overuse pot and alcohol and now they're as dumb as a bag of bricks. and guess what, they didn't play football.

flippy
06-30-2010, 03:25 PM
It seems like I read a lot more stories about kids being injured (or worse) from being hit by line drives in baseball than I do about football injuries. And that being said, its a contact sport. Injuries are expected. Its a personal choice, but I don't think I want to limit armpit jr.'s choices based on my concern for his safety. I'm sure more kids are hurt riding bicycles - so do I stop him from doing that too?

And what about the players who aren't hurt? Former players have become successful professionals off the field (lawyers, politicians, businessmen, etc.). There are obviously many more players who leave the game healthy than those who are injured. These guys have the best doctors, trainers, etc. working with them. Do you think I had my shoulder surgery done by Dr. Andrews down in Alabama? And how many people are injured on the job (regular jobs) who don't have the resources these guys do?

It's sad that anyone suffers from brain injuries. But (unfortunately) you can't protect your kids from everything. You give them the tools they'll need and hope they make the best decisions for themselves.

Your kid's 5 and 250lbs so your perspective is skewed. :wink

Kid's are pretty resilient. They can get shot and heal in a day. But there is a point where some guys can really do some damage on the football field. And I suspect it's getting younger and younger.

I played with a guy who was 6'5" and 250+ lbs in junior high who just murdered guys as an OLineman. And he was lightning quick. And I remember there were kids on the field that just shouldn't have been on it with him.

So I do think you have to ask your kid if he has the build and the will to play football. Otherwise, that's dangerous cause so many kids are getting so big and tough earlier. And you know in football, you're gonna get hit.

My worst injury in each sport I played:

Football - broken hand caught in a facemask during a tackle
Baseball - stitches in my eye from a bad hop at shortstop
Basketball - 3 broken fingers on 3 separate occasions from rebounding

The only thing that slowed me down and made me miss a game was the broken hand.

BradshawsHairdresser
06-30-2010, 05:08 PM
Wow, I think it's crazy to blame all of the neurological problems that these guys suffer from on football. Popular media and the plain stupidity of the average American have downplayed how destructive various drugs and alcohol have on the human body. Everyone wants to be able to "feel good" so they blame their problems on something other than the corrosive poisons they put in their bodies. I've met plenty of intelligent people who began to overuse pot and alcohol and now they're as dumb as a bag of bricks. and guess what, they didn't play football.

:Agree

fordfixer
06-30-2010, 11:29 PM
It seems like I read a lot more stories about kids being injured (or worse) from being hit by line drives in baseball than I do about football injuries. And that being said, its a contact sport. Injuries are expected. Its a personal choice, but I don't think I want to limit armpit jr.'s choices based on my concern for his safety. I'm sure more kids are hurt riding bicycles - so do I stop him from doing that too?

And what about the players who aren't hurt? Former players have become successful professionals off the field (lawyers, politicians, businessmen, etc.). There are obviously many more players who leave the game healthy than those who are injured. These guys have the best doctors, trainers, etc. working with them. Do you think I had my shoulder surgery done by Dr. Andrews down in Alabama? And how many people are injured on the job (regular jobs) who don't have the resources these guys do?

It's sad that anyone suffers from brain injuries. But (unfortunately) you can't protect your kids from everything. You give them the tools they'll need and hope they make the best decisions for themselves.
:Agree Very well said :tt1 :tt1