Here is my last & final blog that I will transfer from Colts Direct. Again, the primary objective here is to expand audience access & encourage rational, peaceful debate. All viewpoints are welcome:
We all know that football is a violent sport. We also know that when the playoffs roll around a solid defense is essential in order to "ring a [running back's] bell" & stop the run by any means necessary. Hitting & tackling become mandatory in order to win Championships at all levels in football either at the high school, college, or the national football league level. How do you balance concussions & personal player safety against neutering the best thing about this sport & not turning the NFL into flag football?
Rodger Goodell, the NFL Commissioner, has testified before Congress about the danger of concussions and he has consulted with the U.S. military about advanced helmet design used to shield soldiers from traumatic brain injuries and for installing base line memory tests to use as a reference in determining whether a player must sit on the bench or not. Professional players don't want their toughness questioned. Plus, if they are benched for too long, they know that they will probably lose their starting position, get cut from the team roster, & they still have bills to pay & a family to provide for.
Last month on CNN, I watched a TV program on Jacquan Weller a high school football athlete in North Carolina [somewhere down south I think] who was a star running back that died after suffering from 2 fatal concussion episodes. The program dealt with the need or mandatory requirement to place a certified athletic trainer on every football field in America to prevent concussions from being misdiagnosed, fatalities from rising, & scientifically studying brain trauma to verify that concussions parallel the disease of Dementia in young student athletes with as few as 2 concussions. The reason being that the brains of these young athletes are still growing & developing & any violent hit to their skull cannot be as easily withstood as a full fledged adult can handle such a hard hit in the exact same spot on average.
Yes, I agree every sideline should have a certified athletic trainer to properly diagnose brain injuries & I am all for establishing base line tests before any high school, college, or NFL season starts. Tweaking helmet design is also another good idea, but please keeping hitting & tackling in all phases of football please. These men know the risks involved everytime they step onto a football field. How do you balance supreme safety of a player with an enthusiastic fan that demands hard hitting intensity on the football field at all times without exception? There are no simple solutions here.
The CNN TV program did bring up an interesting dilemma though. Female certified athletic trainers did experience some measured resistance by male athletes when they were told to sit down due to a concussion. Would certified male athletic trainers advice be received with the same reaction & denial per say? Yes, this reaction is absolutely sexist & wrong of course. But hopefully, as more & more women certified athletic trainers occupy sidelines in all phases of sports this ludicrous attitude will change for the better over time.
Football's defensive violence is a huge ticket selling & TV watching draw. Continue this vital concussion research, but please don't remove controlled chaos from this fantastic game. That's all I ask.