By Ron Powell
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)…it’s just a part of the game.
On January 10, 2013 test results from the analysis of Junior Seau brain tissue concluded that he suffered from CTE. Only two and one half years following his retirement after an illustrious twenty year professional football career, Seau committed suicide in May of 2012.
Seau was known as one of the games biggest hitters. As a result, he subjected himself to multiple “sub-concussions” per game, let alone the multiple concussions of any type that he endured during games and practices over his career. It’s likely that Junior Seau sustained thousands of impactful blows to his head which caused hundreds of symptomatic concussions, ultimately leading to CTE.
It’s Just Part of The Game!
CTE has many known symptoms including: disorientation, confusion, vertigo, headaches, poor judgment, overt dementia, slowed muscular movements, staggered gait, impeded speech, tremors, deafness and depression.
Experts have linked depression from CTE to the suicides of other professional football players, such as Dave Duerson and Andre Waters…but again, it’s just part of the game!
To date there have been at least thirty-three former NFL players who have been diagnosed with CTE post-mortem. However, there have been many others who have died under a variety of unusual and suspicious circumstances who did not have their brains analyzed for CTE. Their friends and family now suspect, with much confidence, that CTE was the underlying cause of their deaths. Many have concluded that former All-Pro players like Mike Webster and Dave Dalby are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to former players who have died prematurely due to CTE.
Now that it’s been scientifically substantiated that repeated trauma to the head can lead to CTE, it raises many questions. For example, how many former players are suffering from, or have already died from the effects of CTE? How many current professional players are now suffering from CTE? How many college football players are currently dealing with CTE? How many high school football players are suffering from some form of CTE? Might the characteristic degeneration of brain tissue caused by CTE already be manifesting itself the brains of our children who play Pop-Warner football?
It’s Just Part of the Game!
So what will our society do about it? After all, football is America’s game. It’s the game that millions have grown to love with a passion that’s unmatched. We elevate players to god-like figures showering them with love, praise, and adulation. Not withstanding, our culture and the propaganda supporting this love affair spews media hype that overwhelms the rational senses of adults and children, and thus, leading them down the path towards the deceitfully glorious world of football. And yet it’s our way of life, our love for violence, and our love of the game that makes this wonderful sport of football America’s Game.
So what must we do now to help the thousands of children who each year get swept into a current that serves them up for sacrifice to the football gods? These are our children who may ultimately experience the effects of CTE in its many facets. This matter has now become a cultural epidemic and a life-style that science is determining can stunt the ability for children and adolescents to learn, and to fully develop mentally. It damages their brain cells one hit at time, and for some that process begins in Pop-Warner, at the age of five, with their parents consent.
It’s Just Part of The Game!
Yes, even with all the scientific evidence that football likely results in brain damage, and can potentially lead to full blown CTE over a long playing career, willing parents will continue to sacrifice their children to the gods of football.
Is it all just part of the game, that being the game of life? After all, some may reason that sacrifice of some sort is always a necessary component to achieve success of any kind. However, where do we as parents and as responsible leaders of our communities draw the line?
There was also a time in biblical history when parents literally sacrificed the lives of children upon the alters of their pagan gods in order to reap the blessings of their god’s. At some point a new position was taken that was likely motivated by the evolution of the human conscience and moral reasoning. Child sacrifice eventually became culturally unacceptable and has now been abolished in most cultures and societies in the world.
That is not yet the case for our beloved football. A definite line now needs to be drawn when it comes to this violent and yet wonderful game of football. It’s time for wisdom and reason to prevail over this love for the game. Who, and how many will take a stand and fight back against this powerful vacuum that sucks our children into an abode that depletes them of their mental and physical faculties in order satisfy our culture’s insatiable appetite for the thrill and excitement we get from the game we love so much?
Perhaps we will accept it as just part of the game…or perhaps those with the heart and the courage will fight to change the game. It’s time for human consciences and moral reasoning to evolve and totally eliminate contact football for children. Their youth and inexperience disqualify them from being able to make reasonable and educated decisions for themselves about this issue.
Have not legal precedents already been set that prohibit children from smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol? These laws are enforceable even when parents believe it’s OK for their children to drink or smoke. The legislators have taken that decision away from parents because the scientific evidence has proven that these activities are physically detrimental.
The scientific verdict is in regarding contact football and it’s effect on the human brain, and its overwhelming.
It’s Time To Change The Game and Protect Our Children!