NFL Too Big to Fail – That’s Our Real National Concussion Problem
by Irvin Muchnick
In sports, as in everything, we love our scandals served on a tabloid plate: the jock DUI’s, the strippers taunted with $100 bills, the sexting, the dog-fighting rings, and most recently, the “amateur” football players for whom the National Collegiate Athletic Association prohibition against “extra benefits” turns out to cover not just cars but also tattoos.
What we don’t enjoy so much is contemplating life and death. That is why the sports-industrial complex can succeed in feeding the public appetite for the concussion pandemic by substituting pablum for information. Most of us just want this thing to go away, and the National Football League and its circle of friendly media have devised an easy way out: state legislation making youth football “safer” – with the assistance of a “solution” that, it just so happens, was packaged and sold by NFL doctors.
… [N]o matter how noble the sentiment behind ending the central hypocrisy of the NCAA, our No. 1 national sports issue is … the set of willfully ignored corollaries of the groundbreaking work of Dr. Bennet Omalu[….] Omalu is espousing a position totally at odds with the pushers of neurocognitive testing to help determine when concussed athletes can return to play. Omalu says anyone who suffers a concussion should sit for three months, period. The reason is that a concussion, often involving violent head rotation, rather than (or in addition to) a blow to the skull, can cause tearing of brain tissue all the way down to the brain stem, and it can take 90 days for brain fluid to return to normal.
Omalu, along with others, also comes very close to calling for an out-and-out ban on youth football. Growing brains should not be subjected to a diet of concussive and subconcussive blows, any more than growing arms should throw baseball curveballs – and the stakes of the former activity are a lot higher.
FULL TEXT TODAY AT BEYOND CHRON, THE SAN FRANCISCO ONLINE NEWSPAPER: