The National Football League took Veterans Day as an opportunity to discuss health and safety issues that NFL players and military veterans share.
The league has been creating a number of intiatives partnering with branches of the military. Both military and veterans deal with the issues of rehabilition for their former players/service men and women, and protection for their current rosters.
On Sunday in Chicago, former Chicago Bears Otis Wilson and Gary Fencik team with Bears president Ted Phillips and Lieutenant General Michael Ferriter to discuss what they are doing together to promote a positive culture change to prevent head injuries, according to CSN Chicago.
“You talk about warrior mentality. We don’t want to get rid of that. But we want to talk people through everything the league is doing, this type of forum,” Bears president and CEO Ted Phillips said. “It?s going to take years to really get the culture change we?re looking for.” Wilson used the term “dinged” when talking about how he felt after some of those hits in his playing days. Players didn?t know the affects of concussions as much then. Sometimes they didn?t even know they had a concussion. Answer a couple of questions correctly and they were back in the game. “The lingering affects haven?t hit me yet,” said Wilson. When asked if he was sure about that, he said, “I remember how I got here and how to get home. My closest friend Dave Duerson, he couldn’t remember how to get downtown, couldn’t remember a lot of things. When I compare myself to that, I?m doing OK now.”
* In Cleveland, WEWS-TV reported on a forum hosted by the Browns with the Ohio National Guard to talk about concussions and how some players have dealt with them. Plus, a similar culture exists in both worlds.
Three former Cleveland Browns, Greg Pruitt, Franks Stams and Antwan Peek, discussed playing with injuries and the fear of being taken out of a lineup with an injury and the effect it could have on their careers. One of the members of the military understood their career concerns. Master Sgt. Kevin Colwell’s armored vehicle was compromised by a missile while serving in Afghanistan. A missile tore completely through it. He and three comrades miraculously survived the attack. He did suffer a head injury and today suffers with migraine headaches. At first, he declined medical treatment. “I’m a member of an elite organization, kind of a lot like the players here. I?m a Green Beret Army Special Forces … If I come out the game, it’s like Antwan says here, there’s probably somebody waiting to take the job behind me,” Colwell said.
– Bill Bradley, contributing editor