Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Blow to the Head

The cover story of the Chicago Tribune today was titled "Friday Night Lights' Risk: 1800 hits to the head."

Mom Eder, if you're reading this - stop now. You don't want to know.

Recent studies have found hidden brain injuries in young football players who have been sacked/tackled repeatedly with hits to the head.

Kind of like Jay Cutler last Sunday night. The Giants set a new NFL record by sacking our Bears QB NINE TIMES in the first HALF. Cutler left the game after the last sack at the end of the half. That was the hit that we all thought caused his concussion. Turns out the concussion came much earlier in the game and that's what impaired his play to the extent that he was sacked an additional six or so times. Not that the offensive line provided any assistance.

Somehow this information was both comforting and disturbing. Comforting in that Cutler isn't a hack who can't throw the ball to save his life. Disturbing in that he was impaired to a degree that he couldn't find receivers visually let alone with the ball.

Disturbing because these injuries can have long-term repercussions - no win is worth sacrificing a player's future congnitive abilities.

Disturbing because it went undetected, the guy was put back out on the field, and we allowed him to get reinjured exponentially with greater enthusiasm from the opposing teams defense (since their offense was doing as little as ours to put points on the board).

Disturbing because I have a son who plays football.

I'm grateful that Dan is an assistant coach who is making sure they are learning proper safety procedures for tackling. But I'll tell you this stuff makes me run to God with prayers for protection.

I can handle the bruises all up and down his arms and the way he walks up the stairs like an 80 year old man after a game, but head injuries are deal breakers for continued play.

So if you have a kid in football (and you should know I consider college age "kids") - watch them carefully and be an advocate for conservative measures with those hard hits, would ya?

And pray.

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