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The Most Dangerous Game: "...And This Is Your Brain on Football"

Saturday, January 30, 2010 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 12:31 PM, under , ,

The cover story for this week's Time magazine is "The Most Dangerous Game: The Problem with Football." As the volume level about the inherent danger and relationship between playing football and debilitating brain injuries increases, Time offers a glimpse at what the issues are, and why they need to be addressed sooner than later, especially for children and teens being taught the wrong way to play the game.

 
Much Too Young: John Doe (the family has asked to keep his identity private) was a multi-sport athlete who suffered multiple concussions in high school football. Analysis of Mr. Doe’s brain revealed the earliest evidence of CTE ever recorded. Photo Courtesy of the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy.

One part of the problem, according to the article, is our glorification of bloody, intense conflict on the football field:

"Spectators who fetishize the sights and sounds of high-speed collisions share responsibility for those who suffer the consequences of such violent encounters."

Unfortunately, this mindset has trickled down to the pee-wee level, where coaches do stupid things with their players. One example is this video that was cited in the article.





Another shared responsibility, according to the article, falls squarely on the shoulders of the media that covers and reports on football:

"The actions of the media can also influence the football culture. Over the past few years, the television networks have toned down the glorification of violent collisions, which is a positive development. Yet during the Jan. 24 telecast of the NFC championship game, Fox repeatedly replayed images of Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre being brutalized. The most powerful media outlet in sports, ESPN, should set the standard for concussion awareness. "I think that's fair," says Chris Berman, ESPN's lead football studio host. "We've done it and will be a little more cognizant of the fact that a 10-second comment, for a 13-year-old or high school player watching, might be helpful." Let's see if he keeps his word."

On Feb. 7, some 90 million people will watch the Indianapolis


You can read the full article over on the Time Magazine web site. You can also visit the web site for Boston University's Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy (which includes links to coverage of their research in the media).

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