The National Football League (NFL) has a looming major problem and it is not domestic abuse. The NFL’s major issue in the coming years will be the massive amount of concussions the players sustained while playing this popular American sport. I have written about NFL’s players’ issues with brain trauma in prior blogs, but recently I have been contemplating following up on my prior remarks. A few years ago, I intimated to a very good friend of mine that the NFL will probably be banned in the next 20 years. I am not a prophet, but the head injuries some of the game’s greatest players have sustained have been my beacon light. Too many of these talented men are suffering debilitated lives after playing in the NFL.
Yesterday I was conversing with my colleague, Everett Glenn, an attorney and former Sports Agent who represented NFL players such as Hall Of Famers Richard Dent and Willie Gault, about NFL games. Everett has started a campaign to advocate for college students rights to receive pay for playing in the NCAA football program (I’ll blog on that topic in another post). I told him that whenever I look at NFL games, recently, and observed a player being injured from severe contact with another player, I often wondered what will happen to the players after their careers are over in the NFL. Mind you, this is no way to watch and enjoy this high contact sport. But, since there is no such thing as a “mild concussion,” there is no other way for me to surmise this issue while looking at NFL games on Sundays, Monday Nights and Thursday Nights.
Two weeks ago, I was chatting with two of my fraternity brothers, Anthony Samad and Lys Bovery, about NFL players’ head injuries NFL. We all agreed that this was a major issue which is about to become front and center in the NFL, because too many NFL players in retirement are suffering from the injuries they sustained during their playing days in the NFL. Take for example Terry Tautolo, a former San Francisco 49ers linebacker, UCLA Bruin standout player and a 1981 49ers Superbowl Champion, his family has blamed his tragic decline and battle with substance abuse on the many concussion he sustained during his nine-year career in the NFL. Terry, one of the “first” Samoans recruited from college to play in the NFL, has spent a significant time of his retirement from the NFL in and out of homelessness. There are other players such as Ray Lucas of the New York Jets, Jim McMahon of the Chicago Bears and Lawrence Marshall of the New York Giants who have all been affected with head trauma from playing in the NFL.
I am not certain what is going to happen in the immediate future in the NFL, but this I can assume with 250, 000 young athletes being injured, from some form of head injury, every year playing football in the United States, it is sure going to be a huge task for the NFL to curb the concussions which playing in the NFL predicates. The players are giving so much joy to NFL fans year after year. It is only fitting they deserve to have lives full of dignity and enjoyment after their playing days in the NFL are over.