Someone needs to explain to me how CTE is an attack on professional football? I was always told by my parents growing up that information is power. As ESPN aired a "30-for-30" on the 1985 Chicago Bears, former Florida State and Giants quarterback Danny Kanell tweeted out, “ How did they find enough players to speak coherently with all the CTE football apparently causes?? Must be cgi or something I guess...#30for30.”
Now, there are other contributing factors to CTE - which include age, stress, sex, alcohol and substance abuse, so it is not just football. However, it is a fact that playing football is risky business. According to the Mayo Clinic, researchers believe that repetitive mild traumatic brain injuries must occur in order for someone to develop CTE.
My wife and I are the proud parent of two boys, Jackson and Paul. Jackson is about to turn 3-years-old and Paul will turn 1 next month. They are not in any way shape or form close to playing organized football. However, when they are of age, Donna and myself have made the choice that neither of my two boys will play football. Why? Because from our standpoint the juice is not worth the squeeze.
In a study released in October, 87 of 91 former NFL players who donated their brains to science tested positive for the disease. I am not saying my sons will have the athletic ability to play and thrive in the sport of football, but that is beside the point. For us, we feel they can get all the benefits of playing organized teams sports without playing football. Whether Kanell wants to admit it or not, concussions and CTE are an issue for the NFL. And to joke around about it like it is some sort of made up issue is a shame. To not realize the struggles of some of his peers is a shame. To question the legitimacy of the disease and the number of former players that it afflicts, is a shame.
Kanell is the same former player that in December, following an editorial in the New York Times by Dr. Bennet Omalu, tweeted: “The war on football is real. Not sure source but concussion alarmists are loving it. Liberal media loves it. Doesn't matter. It's real.”
This is not a "war" on football, Danny. It is information for parents and individuals to make an educated decision on whether or not to play football. CTE is real and is not made up. One of the factors and/or causes of the brain disease is due to the repetitive blows to the head. Unfortunately, unless you make professional football touch and not tackle, there is nothing that football can do to change their rules to take away the risk.
"Inherent" is defined as existing in something as a permanent, essential or characteristic attribute. There is inherent risk in playing football, and to say otherwise is moronic.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell hit the podium last Friday in California for his annual Super Bowl week news conference and made an alarming statement.
"From my standpoint, I played the game of football for nine years, through high school. I wouldn't give up a single day of that," Goodell said. "If I had a son, I'd love to have him play the game of football. I'd love to have him play the game of football because of the values you get. There's risk in life. There's risk sitting on the couch. What we want to do is get people active. I want them to experience the game of football because the game of football will teach you the values ... the discipline, the teamwork, the perseverance. Those are values and those are skills that will lead you through life, and I believe football is the best to teach that."
Wrong. You can achieve all of those life lessons and do not have to strap on a helmet or put on a pair of shoulder pads. There is many a team sport that my sons can learn those values. To compare the risk of playing football to sitting on a couch is disgusting and flat out wrong.
CTE is a taboo subject for the NFL. This past week, Dr. Mitch Berger, a member of the NFL’s head, neck and spine committee, told Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star that there is no definitive link between degenerative brain disease and football. Really? Maybe Dr. Berger should check out the extensive work of Omalu. What the NFL showed you this week is a reaction to fear and annoyance. Fear that participation will go down. Fear that parents will turn kids away from football and annoyance that CTE and all that goes with it will not just go away. The NFL knows it can’t make its sport completely safe and head injuries are inherent to the game. That is why the NFL commissioner made that moronic comparison.
Look, I am not calling for massive changes in the NFL. Just don’t act like it’s not a big deal. Ask the families of Junior Seau, Ken Stabler, Dave Duerson and the countless number of players that suffered or continue to suffer with CTE. By the numbers, they should not be too hard to find.
Inherent is the word and the risk in football is real. This is not an attack on football. It is just the reality in the game that we all love.