As the XLVII Super Bowl approaches, I am excited my favorite team, the San Francisco 49ers, will be one of the teams competing for the coveted trophy. I am also concerned and trust the National Football League (NFL) will continue to research and work on behalf of making the game of football safer for the players. Since becoming aware of Dr. Daniel Amen, “the brain doctor,” I look at football with a different sensibility. No longer am I excited at the ferocious hits player levied on each other. No longer am I engaged at seeing these well conditioned athletes being carried off the football field because of injury. Dr. Amen has remarked football players’ brains are damaged every time there is head to head impact because of the sudden collision from a violent hit.
A few days ago, President Barack Obama voiced his concerns about the safety of football players. I agree with the remarks President Obama made to the press. I posted my concerns about the issue of players’ safety during a football game in one of my prior blogs . I trust many more pertinent individuals will do the same. While paying close attention to football games, I noticed that about 98% of the players tackle with their heads. Yes, I know they are wearing helmets, but those helmets do not protect the players from head injuries. If the helmets were fool-proofed, the NFL would not be researching the effects of concussion on many of its retired players. Several months ago, I read an article in Sports Illustrated magazine about the two-time winning quarterback Jim McMahon of the Chicago Bears fame. McMahon was one of the most courageous players during his era. He is currently suffering from early onset dementia. His girlfriend monitors his every move. He forgets where he is and has trouble sleeping. It is supposedly being reported that repeated blows to the head may be responsible for the current health issues of many retired players. I was sad after reading the McMahon article, because I remember Jim McMahon being a fearless, smart, athletic football player. McMahon is 53 years old.
So, as much as I enjoy watching football games, I am concerned what will happen to these current cadre of amazing athletes when their playing days are over. Afterall, they bring those of us who are football fans much enjoyment watching their athletic prowess. My hope is the NFL will continue to find ways to protect these young men. And, the NFL must support retired players who have enormous health care expenses.