Skip to comments.Football Under Fire in Wake of Seau Death
Posted on 05/03/2012 1:34:22 PM PDT by Kaslin
RUSH: Junior Seau. Junior Seau's suicide. I met Junior Seau just one time. It was one year at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic Golf Tournament. Dean Spanos, the Chargers owner, was playing in the tournament and I was playing with Fuzzy Zoeller and his crew that year. And we all had dinner one night after that day's round. And Junior Seau was everything everybody is saying about him. He was uplifting, he was funny, he was in a great mood. He was kind of in my face humorously over politics.
He was a big believer in the government doing as much it could to help the poor and this kind of thing. He was just one of these people you like being around. So, now, how to explain the suicide? I have to tell you, I am amazed. Every channel I go to there's either a sports doctor or a psychiatrist or somebody explaining, "It has to have been all the concussions from playing in the NFL! It just had to be. There can't be any other reason." Well, I did hear one other reason, that he just couldn't adjust to not being in the spotlight, to not being on stage.
The football field's a huge stage and he was a big star. He just could not adjust to being a comparative nobody. He didn't leave a note so nobody knows. Here's Sanjay Gupta. He was on CNN so nobody heard it. That's why I want to play you this one. He was on Anderson Cooper 210 last night, which nobody saw. So I have to play the sound bite here for you. Anderson Cooper said, "Sanjay, several NFL players have committed suicide in recent years. Brain-related injuries they sustain while playing have been blamed.
"It's impossible to know what was going on in Junior Seau's mind at this point..." So, "impossible to know." It's impossible to know, but still: What was going on in his mind? It's impossible to know, Sanjay! We all know it's impossible to know, but is it possible? Even though it's impossible to know, "is it possible that past head traumas could have played a role in Seau's taking his own life?" It's "impossible to know what was going on in his mind," but nevertheless I want you to answer the question of why he did it.
GUPTA: We have enough evidence to say, "Yes," because you're starting to see, uh, a pattern of exactly what you're describing here, Anderson. This idea that the previous blows to the head -- uh, trauma, for example, sustained on a football field -- can accumulate over time and lead to something known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, CTE. Dave Duerson. You remember, you and I talked about him in 2011. He shot himself in the chest as well. It's a very unusual way -- uh, a rare way -- for one to commit suicide and just hard to talk about. But in Duerson's case he had left that note that Paul was sort of alluding to saying, "I shot myself in the chest. I'd like my brain to be studied." Duerson's brain was studied and in fact he did have exactly what he was concerned about: CTE. That was confirmed, you know, when they studied his brain.
RUSH: Now, Seau did not leave a note asking for his brain to be studied. Already doctors are asking for the brain of Seau to study it. But how many of you laughed at me when I told you some months ago that maybe not in our lifetimes (but it's gonna be close) somebody is seriously going to suggest banning the game of football. You can see we're heading in that direction. Now, every suicide is due to the game. "The game is killing people!" That's already been established here. So what's next, folks, with liberals in charge?
Hockey players are killing themselves faster than football.
What it really seems to be boiling down to is CTEs, if you take enough concussive damage (which we’re learning might or might NOT be accompanies by a diagnosable concussion) you’re gonna get CTEs, severe permanent perpetuating brain damage. CTEs are generally going to leave you with severe brain rot (basically early onset Alzheimers), “Parkinson’s like symptoms” (Muhammad Ali), or severe depression. If you manage to not take enough damage to get CTEs you’ll be OK, but if you cross that line (which nobody is quite sure where it is) you’re doomed.
Who’s talking about banning football?
I don’t buy your claptrap. A good friend of mine, with two superbowl rings, played fullback for two different NFL teams. He knows me—he does not at all remember a very close friend of ours. My friend is in an NFL-University based program that is examening the effects of concussion on the lives of players. The results at this project are limited at the moment, but at least there is hope. I hear the great howls of how football players should be left alone to clobber one another, from FReepers who have never played the professional game. I haven’t either, but I have friends who have. Their stories about how a teammate came off the field, put on his civies, then couldn’t find the team bus or his family or car, are very frightening.
Understand that “at this point” covers really only the last 3 or 4 batches of rookies, a lot of the data on just how much concussion damage is permanent is fairly recent. And even last weekend’s drafties were all the way through high school and peewee football before the really scary data started coming out. There’s been some information for a long time, as we’ve known for a few decades that all damage to the body has some level of permanence to it. But the data saying you could be getting permanent brain damage without even getting a diagnosable concussion is just a couple of years old.
Which is the other side of how this is going to change football. Should any parent allow their kid to play peewee with the data we have now? I vote no. Of course if no kids are playing peewee, or high school, then who’s going to be playing college to become eligible for the draft? Hiding the data 20 years ago put the league in a bad spot, they should have been finding ways to minimize the damage rather than pretend it didn’t happen. Now they’re potentially in a position to be seeing the talent pool dramatically shrinking in a decade or so. Which goes a long way to explain all their efforts to get popular outside America, open up that 3rd world talent pool while they still have enough American players to fill the rosters.
Some people do like the contact however and thrive in the game. That's all well and good for them. If they make it to the professional level, they get lots of money and they earn every penny of it. Even if they don't make it to the pros, you can usually get a college scholarship out of it and they deserve that as well - especially considering the amount of $$$ those college football games bring to the schools.
That all said, there is a downside in that many players come out of the game with broken bodies and/or brain damage due to all the concussions. That is the risk you take to get a shot at the big bucks.
I'm not sure how you make the game safer for players without making it virtually unwatchable for everybody else. It would be like trying to make NASCAR safer by making the speed limit 45 mph and encasing the cars in bubble wrap. Who would want to watch that?
So how do they explain suicides of people who never played football or had no head injuries?
That proves he was brain damaged
I think the biggest problem is that the padding is too good. You don’t have the same sort of injuries and concussions in Rugby (another rough and dangerous sport) primarily because they have less padding, and tackle differently. My guess is if you went back to leather helmets and shoulder pads, the concussion problem would go down dramatically after the first year it was implemented.
The simple truth is that the human body wasn’t designed to take such a beating. Pro football has become what gladitorial games were in rome, a blood sport.
And remember our youth are now competing for an NFL position, making them very agressive.
I read an interesting article a couple of years ago in Sports Illustrated (I think) about how much more punishment a running back takes a couple of years into their career because they lose a half step (split second) in getting to the hole. In the NFL for running backs, time is not their friend.
I know that they’ve found in racing that stiffer padding is better.
“encasing the cars in bubble wrap.”
Well, all cars are now designed to absorb and spread out the energy of a collision. Could a better helmut design help in the same way? I don’t watch football anymore, as I live in Cleveland. But I listen to Bob Golic on WNIR Talk Radio.
I understand what you are saying, but the racing/football comparison is a bit hard to make, since the helmets and protective gear in racing are there for accidents, not as a regular part of the game, as they are in football.
I think the hans device has helped. But simple physics shows that when you have forward momentum and stop suddenly, the jello like brain still moves forward. Look at Terry Bradshaw. He has problems with depression and is damn near retarded.
I have two theories: 1) He was murdered. 2)He was efeminate and hated that about himself. Both theories are plausible, knowing statisticaly 90% of the time a female suicide death occurs when a gun is fired through the heart. A man 90% of the time shoots himself in the head. Just an observation. The only other theory would be that he wanted to see himself conciously die, which is more creepy than any of us should like to entertain. He had a history of troubles with family. Fame can do some strange things to people, and his ending was horrific. I’d still be questioning that girlfriend intensely to see if there are any holes in her story-—sounds very fishy.
Uh... in developing your truly crackpot theories you forgot to notice another NFL player recently killed himself with a shot to the chest specifically to preserve his brain for study.
If they make it to the pro's, target making the retirement mark and then hang up the cleats.
Maybe the NFL should work on banning steroids.
In addition to the concussions, I wonder if steroid use and unhealthy training practices are to blame.
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