I’m glad I’m no longer making a living as a sportswriter. Because I’d probably be out of a job if the editor demanded I cover football.
I used to like football, indeed I still watch it on occasion, but I’m weaning myself away from the game because it is a crippler and a killer.
I once watched as a famous former quarterback tried to get out of a limo on Sunset Boulevard. His racked knees locked and he had to be helped to his feet. He hadn’t been drinking but he was in pain and he looked decades past his actual age.
So many former linemen die in their 40s or 50 from heart attack or stroke. I’m not a physician so I don’t know why, I just know they seem to die earlier than other men. Maybe, in addition to the physical trauma inherent in the game, they carried too much packed-on weight and muscle in their playing days and their bodies aren’t able to readjust to a more sedentary lifestyle.
Most damaging, of course, are the head injuries. Players use their hard plastic helmets as battering rams. The concussions pile up, and dementia often sets in in the later years of players’ lives, and sometimes not so much later.
Last week in a professional game between Pittsburgh and Cleveland the Cleveland quarterback, Colt McCoy, was ``helmeted’’ by a Pittsburgh linebacker who has a history of doing such things. It was brutal, and there wasn’t any need for it (you can find video of it on the internet). The quarterback could have been taken down in the midsection. McCoy’s head appeared to be a target.
McCoy was diagnosed with a concussion. Maybe he won’t have another and maybe he’ll have a successful career but maybe while still a young man or as a middle-aged man dementia will set in and his family will have deep regrets.
Watching these ``hits'' that promote serious injury, dementia or death takes football away from being a healthy spectator sport to something more closely resembling the Roman games, the deaths of gladiators. It seems to me if football can't clean itself up, it is moving toward a thmbs up or thumbs down mentality.
When I was a sportswriter I covered football from high school through the pros, thankfully never youth football. I guess, if I had to, to make a living, I’d cover the pros again, but hopefully as an often critical voice. But I could never write about high school or college football again. At that time in the lives of young people, the brain is still developing.
If the young person is a football player, other things could be happening to that brain, too, and those things are not good. How can you write anything that encourages that kind of outcome?
Causes Steve Hauk Supports
City of Pacific Grove Public Library, Pacific Grove, California; Animal Friends Rescue Project, Pacific Grove; Animal Welfare Information and Assistance,...