Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

No player's brain should be like scrambled eggs

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • No player's brain should be like scrambled eggs

    By Bryan Burwell
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    12/07/2007


    For those of us who sit comfortably on the fringes of pro football, it's an exciting game that gives us everything we need: an exhilarating blend of world-class athleticism, breathless violence and flashy pageantry. We're the witnesses to this modern gladiator sport whose greatest investment is fanatical emotion and the occasional devotion to the point spread.

    But when it comes to our relationship with football, we are sort of like the chicken and its contribution to a hearty egg-and-bacon breakfast. The chicken merely provides the egg.

    But since the pig provides that bacon slab as a result of a butcher's blade whacking off its hindquarters, that would make the pig a bit more committed than the chicken.

    In the NFL, the players can surely relate to swine. We might think we love the NFL, but the players are the ones who are physically committed. They're the ones who are taking physical risks while we boo and hiss or wave a few pompoms. They break bones and shred ligaments. They're the ones who too often have their brains scrambled in brutal collisions that we euphemistically call "having your bell rung," but medical folks more accurately describe as the devastating process of having your brain slammed violently around the inner casing of your skull wall.

    So that's why I personally have no problem with Rams quarterback Marc Bulger's honesty and caution when reporters asked about his status for Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Bulger has been trying to recover from his latest concussion for nearly two weeks, and on Wednesday made it clear that despite being given clearance by team physicians to practice, he wasn't ready to rush blindly back into game action.

    When someone asked if he would be starting Sunday, Bulger said, "I wouldn't say that. I haven't been able to do anything for the last 10 days. There was a baseline test. I passed that. That was just to get me back on the practice field. Believe me, I'm the No. 1 person — I'm hoping I get cleared this week to play. (But) it will be premature to say on Wednesday, after one practice ... that I'm the starter."

    I'm not sure what most people's reactions were to Bulger's cautiousness. But I know what it should be.

    Understanding.

    Concussions are nothing to fool around with. In professional boxing, in most states, if a boxer suffers a concussion, sanctioning bodies won't allow the boxer to participate in a match for at least 30 days. In the NFL — at least until recent years — there never was such caution. Players could go back into games after they "got their bell rung."

    They do it, and they were labeled as tough guys.

    But the truth is, that toughness was a dangerous mistake.

    The culture of football at every level requires a macho disregard for injuries. You're taught at an early age to rub some dirt on it and get back in there. Hall of Fame legends are made of men such as Jack Youngblood, who played with a broken leg in the playoffs, and Ronnie Lott, who had doctors amputate the tip of his finger rather than be forced to the sideline.

    Too often what we don't see, and probably wouldn't glorify if we did see it, were the institutional cover ups that put these gladiators back on the field without full disclosure of the dangerous long-term affects of playing hurt. "You gotta play hurt" is becoming as archaic a concept in the NFL as leather helmets, as players begin to take more ownership of their long-term health and take it out of the hands of the team.

    The dark secret of the lasting effects of repeated concussions is now being brought out into the light, and it's no longer a stigma attached to a player if he refuses to rush blindly back into the action. All they have to do is see the videotapes of any of those "Gridiron Greats" news conferences, where retired NFL war horses are telling horror stories about how the NFL and the players association has abandoned them with inadequate medical benefits now that they're out of the game.

    I've been to some of those news conferences. I've talked to many retired players who now hobble around with mangled bodies and some, sadly, with minds lost in a fog of dementia that may have been caused by repeated football-related concussions.

    The price of football glory should never be that expensive.

  • #2
    Re: No player's brain should be like scrambled eggs

    Nice job, Wraith.

    However, the things the players do for "glory" or a paycheck go beyond playing with concussions.

    Artificially enlarging their muscle mass (steroids) for the opportunity to get into the NFL (or just about any pro sport) or trying to retain their job (and pay check) leads to many of of the injuries we see, IMHO.

    It was suggested to me to try some OTC supplements to help my body to recover more quickly from some of the exertions of my job. Upon trying it I found I did "bulk up" but am not sure it made me feel better or stronger. It was a short-lived experiment for me.

    The very good to great players can afford to take time off to heal, the borderline players may feel they HAVE to play to keep their job from the young bucks trying to wedge their way into a starting job.

    I wonder what power the Union has in this matter, if any.

    A player cannot lose their job if on IR but can reach a settlement with the club and then be released then try to sign on with another club. That is my understanding anyway.
    RnD

    GO RAMS!!

    Comment

    Related Topics

    Collapse

    • Curly Horns
      Burwell: NFL settlement has no winners
      by Curly Horns
      AUGUST 30, 2013 12:05 PM • BRYAN BURWELL •

      The little kids were just a few feet away, scooting and scampering across the artificial turf in the Edward Jones Dome in their oversized equipment and undersized bodies. They chanted and whooped and strutted around the place, mimicking perfectly the NFL giants they all dream of becoming one day.

      And there was Stan White, retired pro linebacker, veteran of 11 violent NFL seasons. White is a color radio and TV analyst for the Baltimore Ravens now, but in his playing days he was not only a damned good linebacker but a hardcore union guy back when the players were grossly underpaid and no one really knew (or cared?) what sort of long-term damage was being done to their bodies.

      He’d been a soldier in the NFL labor trenches before, fought a lot of damned hard fights for the rights of the players. But on Thursday night as he prepped for the broadcast of the Rams-Ravens preseason finale, he did not feel much like celebrating the news that the NFL had reached a staggering $765 million out of court settlement over concussion-related brain injuries among its 18,000 retired players.

      White knew what this was all about – and more importantly, what it wasn’t about.
      “This will help a lot of those men and their families who really need the money,” White said. “Lots of guys are suffering and in bad shape physically and financially. They need this real bad.”

      But White wasn’t ready to fist bump or wave the union banner because this wasn’t a victory that insures the overall long-term health of the game. It is a short-term fix, an immediate and necessary life line to a lot of his retired brothers who are suffering the devastating effects of too much brain trauma.

      “They need it. They deserve it and I’m glad the money’s coming from the owners, because they are the ones who should be paying for this,” he said.

      But no, he said, he wasn’t happy, just relieved, because this story is damaging the image of the game he loves.

      “I’m a high school football coach,” said White. “I don’t want parents scared to let their sons play this game.”

      This is all part of the strange and conflicting inner struggle going on within the NFL community. How do you fix the game without killing it? How do you dare ask some of these battered and bruised men to make any more sacrifices for the greater good of the game, when all they’re trying to do now is just get to tomorrow without losing their minds or killing themselves?

      So when White heard the voices of those who think the retired players should have stood their ground, dug their heels in the ground, refused to settle out of court, forcing the NFL into a courtroom and before a jury where the potential for a bigger financial and legal victories could have occurred, he shakes his head.

      No, he says, these men have already sacrificed enough....
      -09-03-2013, 07:49 PM
    • ZiaRam
      Playing This Game Takes a Toll
      by ZiaRam
      by Tony Softli

      The Rams are 3-0 in the 2011 preseason and one win away from a perfect mark before the regular season begins. On Thursday and Friday, the final preseason games will be played, and following those games, each team will prepare for the cutdown to the 53-man limit. There will be close to 900 players released or placed on an injured list on the cuts to 53. There are several players battling soft tissue injuries, pectoral strains and rehabbing joints. Competition is fierce within a small window to display your talents in the preseason. The old slogan, "You can't make the club in the tub" ripples through every NFL locker room as cutdowns near.

      Thanks to the growth hormones and steroids in today's beef and chicken, high school players are bigger, stronger and faster as they mature into young men and move on to the college level. Only two percent of college players have the skill set to develop into an NFL player. They spend the rest of their lives telling tales of high school lore, and the stories get more animated as they grow older.

      The National Football League is for the elite player; grown men wearing light weight plastic, looking to decleat one another. The action is faster and extremely violent, making it more exciting for the fantasy football population, couch potatoes, and the wives that deal with the Monday morning arm chair quarterbacks sitting at home or enjoying a beer and brat among the population of NFL jerseys tailgating in stadium parking lots around the country. Meanwhile, it's what the players are struggling with behind the scenes that rarely get any attention.

      I had the opportunity to speak with Marshall Faulk, the Hall of Fame running back. The one topic that stuck with me was injury recovery. When I asked him how he was feeling since his retirement, he replied, "My body has not been the same since the second quarter of the first game of my rookie season." Football players are at risk every time they step onto the practice field or into game action. Several suffer significant, long term and sometimes catastrophic injuries. Survival and longevity are the keys to success. So is luck.

      There is nothing more sobering then watching ESPN footage of former NFL players like Curt Marsh, a childhood friend of mine and former Washington Husky teammate. Curt was drafted by the Raiders in the early 80s as an offensive lineman. Since his career ended, he's had a procedure to amputate his right lower leg above the ankle. He is suffering from other complications after years of combat, and spends most of his days in a wheelchair. At the age of 52, he struggles to function on his own or lead a normal life. Ask yourself is it worth it.

      Modern medicine has changed. Athletes are treated immediately, rehabbed and ready to go back to battle much faster than players of the 40s, 50s and 60s. The aftermath of years of service as a modern-day gladiator...
      -08-31-2011, 03:10 PM
    • AvengerRam
      Is Waufle awful... or is it me?
      by AvengerRam
      When I watch Hard Knocks, I cringe every time that Mike Waufle is featured. They guy comes across as a foul-mouthed, borderline abusive, wanna-be drill sergeant. He alone gives the show its TV-MA rating.

      As a 48 year old who has spent his adult life working in professional offices, I don't get this method of motivating people. I would never use such a method, and if it were ever used with me, my only reaction would be to update my resume and start looking for a new job.

      That said... I'm not sure I'm qualified to evaluate whether this method might be effective. I've never played organized football, and I certainly don't claim know what makes 20something professional athletes tick. Perhaps Waufle's fear/intimidation approach is what these guys need after growing up on a pedestal. Perhaps the biggest impediment to success on the field is complacency, and Waufle's method is on point.

      Ultimately, as a fan, I'd have to say that this part of Hard Knocks does not resonate with me. I like having insight into the team's preparations, but maybe this is too "inside" for my taste. I'd liken it to a Food Network show displaying the slaughtering of a cow in addition to the cooking of the steak.

      I'm curious how others react to this part of the show. Maybe I'm on an island on this one. Maybe not....
      -08-24-2016, 09:06 AM
    • AlphaRam
      GridIron Greats Assistance Fund
      by AlphaRam
      Forgive the lengthy post, but the article and the information are important, in my mind.

      I have been a Rams fan for close to 40 years. In reading and seeing the NFL over my life, I still came to respect many players on other teams. Many of these players are mangled from football and have no money to live their lives. The players of which I speak are those that worked jobs during the off-season to make ends meet. Did you know that Mike Webster became mentally ill and homeless before passing away?

      Mike Ditka, Jerry Kramer, and others have created a foundation to raise money for these guys who have built the game. There is an auction that starts tomorrow (Feb 1) that includes items listed below with the site link following:


      - Mike Ditka donated his 1975 NFC Championship ring
      - Joe DeLamielleure donated his gold bracelet which OJ Simpson gave to him and other members of the famous Bills offensive line known as the Electric Company, in celebration of their record, Joe's name is engraved as is OJ's inscription." We did it, The Juice"
      - Vince Lombardi Jr. donated plays hand drawn by his father
      - Merlin Olson & Jerry Kramer will take high bidders on a fishing trip of a lifetime in Hells Canyon, winners spend two days with these NFL greats and master fisherman!
      - John McEnroe has donated a day of tennis with him
      - Paul Hornung has donated a football signed by himself, Bart Starr and Jim Taylor
      - Eli Manning donated a pair of his game worn cleats
      - Dwight Clark customized a football has hand drawn the famous CATCH play on it
      - Archie Manning donated a trio of Manning family authentic football Jerseys
      - Howie Long will host fans for a day on the Fox NFL set, and then have dinner with them
      - Harry Carson will spend a day with fans in New York City


      http://www.jerrykramer.com/index.html...
      -01-31-2007, 08:39 PM
    • RamWraith
      NFL's cold-hearted stance regarding its vets is deplorable
      by RamWraith
      By Bryan Burwell
      ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
      02/02/2007

      MIAMI — This is the darkest side of America's greatest sports fantasy. It's Super Bowl Week in the belly of the National Football League's massive publicity machine — radio row at the Super Bowl media center — and there are countless former players slowly milling around the room from one radio interview to the next.

      They used to move smoothly across the playing field. They used to run fast and jump high. Now they shuffle and limp with stiff-legged gaits.

      Underneath pant legs and long sleeves are grotesque surgical scars. Their fingers are contorted like spiny tree branches; some of them amble along with canes. If you did not know any better, you would think they were disabled war veterans, not former pro football players.

      Keith Sims was a three-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman who played 11 years in the NFL, mostly with the Miami Dolphins. I have not seen him in several years. The first time I met him 16 years ago, he was a healthy 24-year-old rookie. Today, he's a 40-year-old man who can't stand on his feet for longer than 20 or 30 minutes.

      "I took four Advil this morning, and that ought to last me until noon," Sims told me Thursday. "I'll take four more by then and try to ice down my knees."

      He pointed to the jagged scar that ran down the back of his left leg. Achilles tendon operation. He showed me his disfigured fingers that had been dislocated, jammed and surgically fused so often that he practically lost count on the wear and tear.

      "But I'm one of the lucky ones," Sims said. "I own a Dunkin' Donuts franchise. I can pay my own medical. But I know a lot of older veterans who aren't as lucky as me."

      This is not a part of our childhood football fantasy. We dreamed of racing into those sold-out football coliseums like glorious warriors. We did not dream of limping out of them like crippled victims or ruining our kidneys with too many pain killers.

      As great and profitable as business has been for the NFL owners and the current players — salaries are higher than ever; profits are beyond mind-boggling — there doesn't seem to be any interest by the league or the players' association to put aside enough of that money to adequately assist former players whose disability coverage and pensions are woefully inadequate.

      Former St. Louis football Cardinal Conrad Dobler is one of those men. Dobler retired in 1981 and has undergone 11 football-related surgeries since then. In 1994, he tried to use funds from his NFL disability insurance by applying to the NFL retirement plan. What followed was a tangled, frustrating roadblock of bureaucratic madness.

      According to an interview with HBO's "Real Sports," Dobler said his doctors believed he had an "impairment of 90 percent" in...
      -02-03-2007, 06:05 AM
    Working...
    X