Monday, January 16th, 2017

If you get hit in the head a lot…

I learned something new this week. Apparently, when you take a whole bunch of hard hits to the head over a number of years, it can lead to serious health issues. Oh, and another thing….football is dangerous.

I understand the importance of bringing national attention to the serious long-term effects of concussions. What I don’t get is the sudden realization that playing football can actually be dangerous. Well….DUH! If you play any contact sport and you are constantly getting hit, you must understand that it can’t be good for your body.

Years ago it was common for a football player or hockey player to play through a concussion. Thankfully, most major sports have taken action to prevent players from further immediate damage from concussions.

Pro Football Hall of Famers Tony Dorsett and Joe DeLamielleure, and former NFL All-Pro Leonard Marshall have been diagnosed as having signs of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), a degenerative condition many scientists say is caused by head trauma.

More than 4,500 former athletes….some suffering from dementia, depression or Alzheimer’s — who say their lives have been adversely affected by brain injuries suffered on the field, sued the league for concealing the dangers of concussions. Some of the players involved in the lawsuit even admitted that they concealed injuries to their coaches and teammates, so they could continue to play.

Back in August the NFL settled the lawsuit, agreeing to pay ex-players a $765M settlement.

Here’s what I think…..if you know the risks and you decide to play, you have no right to sue the league for the injuries you suffered. If you say you weren’t aware of the risks of getting hit in the head on a weekly basis…..well then…..maybe your brain was never really that valuable in the first place.
That would be like me saying…. “My posture has “been adversely affected” by sitting in a cube all day. I think I have some lower back pain from my chair and my eyes kinda hurt from staring at the monitor for 8 hours each day. I had no idea that these types of dangers existed in the workplace.

Or, maybe I’m going to sue McDonald’s…you mean eating 3 Big Macs every day for the last 20 years could have caused my heart attack? Had I only known…I would never have indulged in such a poor diet!

I agree that it’s sad to see former athletes suffering from brain related injuries and it’s scary that research is showing that people affected by these injuries often go through serious depression that can lead to suicide.

However, it’s the risk that these athletes willingly took when they decided to play football. How many of these former athletes would still jump at an opportunity to sign a multi-million dollar contract with a team knowing what they know now? Probably quite a few.

I am glad to see increased awareness on the subject and improvements to equipment, rules, and the extra precaution taken when injuries occur. Unfortunately, none of these lawsuits, medical studies or player testimonials is going to stop the next generation of NFL superstars from choosing their long-term health over the chance to make millions of dollars.

Week 10 NFL Picks

How did I do last week?
Last Week: 9-4, Overall: 85-49, Locks of the week: 17-4, Upset Special: 10-7.

Locks of the Week:
St. Louis at Indianapolis
Winner: Indianapolis
Jacksonville at Tennessee
Winner: Tennessee

Upset Special:
Buffalo at Pittsburgh
Winner: Buffalo
Cincinnati at Baltimore
Winner: Baltimore
Carolina at San Francisco
Winner: Carolina
Houston at Arizona
Winner: Houston

The Rest:
Detroit at Chicago
Winner: Chicago
Philadelphia at Green Bay
Winner: Philadelphia
Seattle at Atlanta
Winner: Seattle
Oakland at N.Y. Giants
Winner: N.Y. Giants
Denver at San Diego
Winner: Denver
Dallas at New Orleans
Winner: New Orleans
Miami at Tampa Bay
Winner: Tampa Bay
Indianapolis at Tennessee
(Thurs 11/14) Winner: Indianapolis