It’s the Breakthrough Year of Concussion Awareness in Sports — Will Connecticut Do Its Part?

Alan Schwarz of The New York Times, who is on his way to a Pultizer Prize for his pathbreaking reporting on concussions in sports, has a devastating news analysis of the Philadelphia Eagles’ mismanagement of player Stewart Bradley’s injury in last Sunday’s National Football League game.

See “Eagles’ Handling of Head Injury Draws Spotlight,” http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/16/sports/football/16concussions.html?_r=1&th&emc=th. Schwarz writes:

Acknowledging the league’s impact on young athletes, the N.F.L. asked a skeptical Congress and public to view its protocol changes last year as proof of its commitment to lead concussion awareness efforts.

N.F.L. players now must be removed for the rest of the day after a concussion is diagnosed; an independent doctor must clear the player before he can return; and a new poster warns players of head injuries with stunningly strong language. That placard even concludes, “Young Athletes Are Watching.”

Yet, when the entire football world saw the Eagles put Bradley at significant safety risk by not properly diagnosing his concussion, it only emphasized the crisis that exists in high school and youth football, where almost no one is watching at all.

Substitute “pro wrestling” for “high school and youth football,” and maybe even fewer than no one is watching. Because it’s just a soap opera, you know. Linda McMahon, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Connecticut, says so.

In Connecticut, as in several other states, there is pending state legislation to protect high school athletes from untreated concussions. McMahon, formerly the head of America’s No. 1 cartoon concussion factory, is now within striking distance of representing the Nutmeg State in Washington. Ain’t that a kick in the head?

Irv Muchnick

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