For parents or fans, or doctors—heck, whomever wants to read about head injuries and dementia—a really interesting article from Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker called Offensive Play: How different are dogfighting and football?
My friend Ryan forwarded this to me. An excerpt:
The other major researcher looking at athletes and C.T.E. [chronic traumatic encephalopathy] is the neuropathologist Bennet Omalu. He diagnosed the first known case of C.T.E. in an ex-N.F.L. player back in September of 2002, when he autopsied the former Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster. He also found C.T.E. in the former Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Andre Waters, and in the former Steelers linemen Terry Long and Justin Strzelczyk, the latter of whom was killed when he drove the wrong way down a freeway and crashed his car, at ninety miles per hour, into a tank truck. Omalu has only once failed to find C.T.E. in a professional football player, and that was a twenty-four-year-old running back who had played in the N.F.L. for only two years.
“There is something wrong with this group as a cohort,” Omalu says. “They forget things. They have slurred speech. I have had an N.F.L. player come up to me at a funeral and tell me he can’t find his way home. I have wives who call me and say, ‘My husband was a very good man. Now he drinks all the time. I don’t know why his behavior changed.’ I have wives call me and say, ‘My husband was a nice guy. Now he’s getting abusive.’ I had someone call me and say, ‘My husband went back to law school after football and became a lawyer. Now he can’t do his job. People are suing him.’ ”
It’s a difficult thing, being alive. Lao Tsu once wrote in the Tao Te Ching (2500 years ago) when football was not yet known—but boxing and dogfights were probably around:
Because we have a body, we have misfortune.
When I was younger, I had no idea what this meant.
We never know what someone else has been through. So be good to yourself, and others.