Latest from The Spokesman-Review
The end of Twinkies has been big news for several days (see Cathy's great post below). Even the priest Sunday at Mass in my temporary Chicago parish mentioned it. He also mentioned the end of Kodak (the camera company filed for bankruptcy last January). He wondered if future generations would understand the term “Kodak Moment” which describes great pictures captured at gatherings.
He then added one more cultural phenomenon that could die out — high school football! If concerns about concussions in young brains continue to escalate parents might not let their boys play football in high school, let alone middle school.
If high school football ends, doesn't that mean college football would lack players to recruit and if college football ended wouldn't that spell the end of professional football?
A culture without football? Are the healthy brains of our little ones worth it? My vote: Yes.
(S-R file photo of Texas high school football)
A new program being used by the Kellogg High School football and soccer teams called Impact looks to help diagnose concussion victims and ensure those who are concussed don't return too early and risk further brain damage. Cory Lewis, a physical therapist at Shoshone Medical Center, introduced the program — which is already being used across the country, to SMC and Kellogg High School. Lewis said as concussion management has become a big issue in all of sports — from the NFL to peewee football — the program has been developed to test potential concussion victims with a series of test on a computer/Bobby Atkinson, Shoshone News-Press. More here. (SR file photo: The Priest River Spartans booster club sold buttons to raise money for the family of Bobby Clark, a football player who received a severe head injury during a 2011 game)
Question: I've never had a concussion. Have you? What's it feel like?
Washington Redskins quarterback Mark Rypien (11) lies under the pile, center, during an NFC divisional playoff game the San Francisco 49ers, in San Francisco. Rypien is a Super Bowl MVP and champion, a former player for the Redskins and other teams who reached football's pinnacle and now wonders at what cost. Washington Post story here. And: SR columnist Shawn Vestal's comment here. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)
Question: If you've had a concussion … how did you get it? What was it like?
Not long ago, my sister-in-law asked me a question that I hadn’t considered. Was I planning to let my son, who was then 3, play football? The question struck me as overly cautious. Why wouldn’t I? It won’t break my heart if he grows up with a wariness of the sports-worship that afflicts our culture, but if he wants to play, why not? After all, I played football – a little bit, very poorly – and look how well I turned out. You can get hurt doing all sorts of things. Then she gave me a few good reasons, involving the frequency of concussions, the frequency of repeated concussions, and the fact that frequent, repeated concussions can cause brain injury. The conversation came back to me this week when I read that Mark Rypien, local hero and Super Bowl MVP, was suing the National Football League for “repeated traumatic injuries to the head”/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here.
Question: Would you let your baby grow up to be a high school football player?
Athletics coaches and officials would be required to remove players from games who show signs of a concussion, according to a measure aimed at boosting protections for young athletes who suffer head injuries. Rep. Erik Simpson of Idaho Falls wants to strengthen laws passed in 2010 in the wake of several severe concussion cases. According to Simpson’s proposal, an athlete could return to play if he or she were cleared by a qualified medical professional. Parents couldn’t make the decision, Simpson said, to eliminate conflicts of interest/Associated Press. More here. (Wikipedia illustration: Acceleration (g-forces) can exert rotational forces in the brain, especially the midbrain and diencephalon)
Question: Anyone out there had a concussion? What's one like?
There is an open debate, read on.
Rep. Elaine Smith, D-Pocatello, may try to implement strict guidelines in state law designed to protect student-athletes from returning too soon to fields of play after suffering concussions. Earlier this year, Smith proposed legislation that would require athletes in publicly-funded sports – like high school football or basketball – to visit a doctor, physician’s assistant, or nurse practitioner to receive medical clearance to return to play. The initial version also directed parents, coaches, and players to undergo training in identifying concussions and also ordered coaches in public schools to remove players from practices or games when they are suspected of having suffered concussions/Dustin Hurst, Idaho Reporter. More here.
Question: Have you ever had a concussion? Do you remember what it was like?
The state legislature has now become involved in high school sports by passing a law that puts the onus on teams whenever a concussion is involved. This Seattle Times article explains the law passed by the swish of Chris Gregoire’s pen. The idea is admirable, but it seems to be one more case of Big Brother deeming what’s best for we, the unfortunate masses. Don’t we as parents have enough common sense and responsibility, along with coaches and team physicians to look after the health welfare of our children athletes without having one more law hanging over our heads? Apparantly not in the eyes of the elite.