EUGENE, Ore. – The high number of concussions injuring the brains of young football players here in Eugene at both the high school and college level has now become a hot topic in the NFL, and in sports medicine circles.
In fact, the term “is not something that local Eugene TV and radio sports announcers like to mention because it’s viewed as “a buzz kill for fans” who don’t want to be reminded that their favorite “Duck” or high school football player is rishing their lives and their brain health when the play football these days.
“It’s now talked about, but there should be even more talk about concussion prevention and the game of football,” says local Eugene fan Monty who says he now “thinks what’s happening to that player’s brain when he’s smashed to the ground during a play?”
NFL concussion cover-up hurts football, puts youth at risk for brain damage
The National Football League – while knowing high school and college coaches players follow their lead – “ignored concussion risks” and “encouraged helmet-to-helmet hits” so as to “keep its fan base excited,” state law suit charges against the NFL.
“Kids are the reason there is so much buzz about concussions. The professional player understands the risk and is getting paid to take those risks, kids are not. The other more important reason is that a younger brain can be more adversely affected by an insult or concussion,” stated a new web site that’s devoted to educating the public about football related concussions while fighting NFL billionaires who’ve ordered “silence” on the “use of the term concussion in sports reporting.”
Hence, football fans smell a “cover-up,” says former NFL player Charlie who’s joined the online revolt against the NFL for “keeping players and sportscasters quiet about this issue.”
NFL cover-up of concussions impact on the game called criminal by players and fans
“This is a game changer. This is the most important thing that’s happened to the game of football since the origin of professional football can be traced back to 1892 when leather helmets were ordered by team owners to ‘protect players,’” explained a Eugene based football historian who documents the history of the Oregon “Ducks.”
Also, the response to numerous law suits brought by some of the legends of the game is “being covered up,” with billionaire NFL team owners putting pressure on “anyone who talks concussions with the media,” states sources for “The Concussion Blog” website that’s dedicated to what’s been dubbed as the NFL’s Watergate or Waterloo.
“The mood around the NFL has been bleak since the recent ‘lockout.’ There are players who hate team coaches and owners, and vendettas by team bosses against players who were ‘vocal’ during the lockout negotiations. They don’t like each other, but its business and so they’re dealing. Expect more active and former players to jump on this lawsuit bandwagon against the NFL because they can smell victory,” says former NFL player Charlie who been an interview source for numerous sports Internet blogs and TV interviews.
“It is the first of its kind, a class action law suit that not only includes the seven plaintiffs, but can include everyone that played in the NFL. The plaintiffs are: Jim McMahon, Joe Thomas, Ray Easterling, Wayne Radloff, Gerry Feehery, Mike Furrey, and Steve Kiner. They span a football career collectively from 1970 to 2010. The other suit filed in Los Angeles with 75 plaintiffs is more specific to the ‘quelling’ of research and includes a helmet maker as well,” reports theconcussionblog.com, while also sharing disturbing links about the state of professional football today in the wake of the recent “NFL lockout” that “created bad blood between owners and players,” stated theconcussionblog.com., that also reported Aug. 24 that “the league has yet to see the suit but is contesting the claims being circulated in the press.”
NFL more concerned about billions in profits than players, say some of the game’s top stars
The players accuse the league of training players to hit with their heads, failing to properly treat them for concussions and trying to conceal for decades any links between football and brain injuries, stated ESPN.com recently on “theconcussionblog.com.”
The plaintiffs include two-time Super Bowl champion Jim McMahon, who has said he played through five concussions but now frequently walks around “in a daze” and forgets why he entered a room, reported ESPN, while also noting that the lawsuit “accuses the NFL of negligence and intentional misconduct in its response to the headaches, dizziness and dementia that former players have reported.”
NFL uses new kickoff rule to limit concussions
College and high school football fans here in this university town say they appreciate the NFL’s new kickoff rule change because “it does something to limit concussions” on the playing field; eventually making the game safer for younger players as well.
The new NFL kickoff rule – that was instituted during recent preseason games — is aimed at reducing concussions on the field, but some coaches and fans say they don’t like it, while also admitting they’re not the ones having their brains scrambled on the playing field.
Moreover, with seven other former professional football players also taking out a lawsuit against the NFL “this has the makings for huge courtroom drama that can only change the game of football as we know it,” adds Charlie who played professional football for 11 years.
In addition, Charlie says the proposed changes to the game of football includes all professional, college and high school games that result in two concussions during regulation time will “be stopped for safety reasons, along the lines of what’s done in boxing when a boxer is cut badly or knocked unconsciousness.”
Moreover, “football will evolve along the lines of soccer and rugby with more emphasis on skill and fitness of the players over having huge players who are 350 and 375 pounds used for demolition teams to smash smaller players,” explains Charlie on his blog here in Eugene.
At the same time, the game of fast paced runs and passes will continue but the “NFL will be forced to make the game safer for players. And, in turn, this will also make the game safer for young men playing at the high school and university level,” he said.
NFL cover-up happened even after doctors warned owners and coaches
With sports medicine evolving as quickly as other modern technology, the players suing the NFL will point to numerous examples of doctors and other concussions experts warning the NFL team owners and coaches about how the game of football produces “concussion victims” with “brain injuries.”
Thus, it’s no surprise that more than 100 top former NFL players are claiming the league “ignored concussion risks.”
While the new NFL kickoff rule change was approved back in March — as one way to stop the rash of concussions maiming many who play the game – it’s only consider a “baby step” toward making the “game really safe for players.”
In brief, the new rule moves the kickoff forward five yards to the 35 yard line. The NFL admitted on its web site that the “kickoff return has become one of football’s most dangerous plays,” resulting in numerous concussions when the ball returner and other players are literally “smashed” during the return of the kickoff.
Concussion consciousness finally happening in professional football
“The first of what could be many concussion-related lawsuits against the NFL – that was filed by former Super Bowl-winning quarterback Jim McMahon and six other players – is essentially equating the NFL with Big Tobacco’s decades-long denial of the link between smoking and cancer. The lawsuit accuses the league of turning ‘a blind eye’ to trauma and damage resulting from players being coached to injure others to keep its fan base excited,’” the New York Post reported Aug. 23.
“McMahon and the six others also claim the NFL refused to develop methods to identify at-risk players or monitor them medically while whitewashing any evidence linking football injuries to dementia or other long-term damage,” added the New York Post.
“The lawsuit, filed in Philadelphia federal court Aug. 18, will be “vigorously contested” once the league has a chance to review its claims, an NFL spokesman said.
Moreover, “a group of 75 former players sued the league in a California court last month along the same grounds, alleging the NFL knew as far back as the 1920s that concussions were potentially lethal. A larger class-action suit grouping hundreds, if not thousands, of former players is possible and perhaps likely, according to legal experts. Faced with mounting evidence of long-term health risks resulting from concussions and other football-related injuries, the NFL only recently has warned players about the dangers and cracked down on overly violent hits,” the New York Post reported.
In addition to instituting a new kickoff rule – that the NFL and sports newscasters call a “new safety rule,” while not mentioning the word “concussion” due to the view that it’s a “buzz kill” for fans who may start to think about their favorite players facing possible brain damage – the NFL also recently contributed $1 million to Boston University’s center for the study of brain injuries, and lifetime medical care for players is included in the new collective bargaining agreement.
In turn, critics of the NFL say “$1 million is a drop in the bucket for a league that earns hundreds of billions and amassing more wealth for pro team owners than most countries.”
Concussions can kill; maim a player for life leaving them in a vegetable state
When NFL Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw admitted to suffering brain damage last year due to repeated concussions caused during his high school, college and professional playing days, the story was – as they say in the sports media business – “put on the back page.”
“Nobody wants to hear Bradshaw complain about concussions when we’d rather hear him talk football and who hit who,” says former Oregon “Duck” player Ernie. “I get the concussion thing ‘cause I’ve had my bell rung on numerous occasions, but I know the football fans I hang with at the bar and they don’t want to hear about brain damage, man, they want to escape and have fun. Seeing players smashed to the ground is fun.”
According to a leading sports medicine facility here in Eugene, a football related concussion is a “mild traumatic brain injury,” dubbed a “MTBI.” Thus, it’s common that most high school, college and professional players suffer “several MTBI’s” during a season, with some getting an MTBI in consecutive games.
Also, the term “concussion” has been used for centuries and is still commonly used in sports medicine.
According to the Amen Clinics, that’s currently treating Bradshaw and hundreds of other former professional players who are now suffering from brain injury caused by even just one concussion on the playing field, a concussion is “a temporary loss of brain function that can cause a variety of physical, cognitive and emotional symptoms.”
While there is no way to “heal” a concussion because each and every concussion causes irreversible brain damage, the Amen Clinics offer brain damaged former and current NFL, college and high school football players the simple prescription of “monitoring and rest.”
Also, Dr. Daniel Amen, who established the Amen Clinics in 1989, said in recent PBS TV programs about the “epidemic” of brain damage happening on America’s football fields that “repeated concussions can cause cumulative brain damage such as dementia pugilistica or severe complications such as second-impact syndrome and even death.”
How the NFL blew the call by allowing players to take hits & concussions
While the list of former NFL players who are suing the NFL for gross negligence grows to nearly 100 — for “training players to hit with their heads,” and “failing to properly treat them for concussions,” and also “trying to conceal for decades any links between football and brain injuries,” it’s now the parents of high school and college football players who must weigh the risks of allowing their sons to play a game that could impact their brain health for the rest of their lives.
While the lawsuit asks for billions in compensation for “special medical monitoring” — along with funds to pay for the care of players after they stop playing football and are admitted to expensive brain treatment centers – these former NFL players also want justice in the form of “concussion consciousness” in America so other young men don’t suffer the same irreversible brain damage that most former players must now have to deal with.
For instance, former NFL player Wayne Radloff’s wife, Garland, wants players and their wives to know they don’t have to wait for an autopsy to learn if a player has suffered a brain injury, but can get diagnosed through advanced brain scans.
Her husband suffered one of his more devastating blows in September 1988, one that knocked him out cold and yielded the headline: “Falcons Say Radloff Had a Game to Remember, If Only He Could.”
“No amount of glory on the football field can make up for my son becoming a vegetable later in life. That’s the impact of concussions, and that’s what we’re learning now after this cover-up by the NFL,” explained a Eugene father who asked not to be named due to embarrassment when it comes to the long –held belief that young football players “must man up” and “take those hits.