Something I’m Working On

I’m researching NFL injuries for a long post I’m working on.  I’m currently reading Greg Garber’s 5-part report on Mike Webster’s life, career, and death.  This quote stands out:

When he was finished, Webster had broken most of his fingers, suffered permanent damage to five vertebrae, and effectively ruined his knees, right shoulder and right heel. More troubling were the constant headaches that began to dog him in his last few seasons with the Steelers. The record books dutifully note his 245 regular-season games, but there were nearly 100 more, taking his 19 playoff games and more than 75 preseason games into account. Factor in the grueling training camps in Latrobe, Pa., and practices throughout the season, and it’s probable that Webster endured more than 25,000 violent collisions.

Then there is this quote from Webster’s son Garrett, “There was an unwritten rule in the NFL — if you can play, under any circumstances, you play.”

The more I read and the more I think about the NFL, the league’s problem is not brain injuries unto themselves, but the culture that pushes players to play when it is honestly dangerous to their long-term health.

I’m starting to have a problem separating my love of watching the NFL with the damage we are complicity allowing so that we are entertained.

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2 Responses to “Something I’m Working On”

  1. The 25,000 hits could basically be doubled if you factor in his days in youth, junior/high school, and college football.

  2. That is the scary part of this. When did the damage to his brain start and maybe the damage began with hits taken as his brain was developing before he even go to college.

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