Today’s health and safety news from football — and other sports:
* The Ogden Standard Examiner wrote about research being conducted at Weber State on concussions in snow sports.
In American sports, football is king, and concussions have been at the forefront of the discussion the past few years. But little or no research has been done regarding concussions in snow sports, and that’s where the team from Weber State is stepping in. The project started last year, when the athletic training and nursing departments at the university saw an opportunity to provide students with real-world experience dealing with sports injuries. At the Dew Tour stop at Snowbasin, several WSU students were brought on board to help respond to athletes injured in the competition, and to collect data that could help in the development of technologies to minimize or prevent concussions in the future. Their multifaceted research includes blood work, cognitive tests, video monitoring and most recently, a new sensor attached to athletes’ helmets that measures the impact they sustain when they crash.
* The Boston Globe published a commentary on its op-ed pages saying that the problem with football concussions comes from the violence involved in the game.
Football is not only America’s definitive mass entertainment and a huge economic force, filling coffers of media conglomerates and universities large and small. It also provides the main measure of American masculinity, the pathologies of which are manifest in misogynistic beer ads that run during every time-out. Goodell’s goal of changing the culture of football would require, in fact, a change in the national culture itself. That is why, despite the mounting evidence of football brain injury, so little actual change has been implemented. Instead of eliminating the high-risk kick-off, outlawing the three-point stance from which linemen explode, or forbidding runners to lead with lowered heads, the nation merely wrings its hands. The rule makers know what the game and its fans truly require: the hit, and the hurt; the sucking it up. In the present climate, therefore, a deeper reckoning with the sport’s dangers is impossible.
* USA Football’s Patrick Kersey wrote about how 2013 will be a year to promote concussion education.
* Now that the NHL has a new collective bargaining agreement, players will be coming back from playing in Europe — and the Los Angeles Times reported Anze Kopita of the Los Angeles Kings is returning with a knee injury.
* The Chicago Tribune published a graphic detailing Eastern Illinois’ concussion protocol along with a story about a former EIU player who says multiple concussions ended playing career and ruined his life.
* The Middletown Transcript reported on how its high school is pushing concussion awareness.
– Bill Bradley, contributing editor