2014 Book Goal: 52 (mostly non-fiction)
2014 Books Read: 53 (91% non-fiction)
League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions, and the Battle for Truth by Mark Fainaru-Wada & Steve Fainaru is one of those books I just couldn’t put down. There are a host of reasons why this book is important to me:
- My interest in the medical side of the issue
- My association with football through Lone Star Gridiron
- My love of the sport of football
- My son plays football and his safety is everything to me
- I have been outspoken in the controversy over helmet design, concussions and injuries (see my articles below:)
- Virginia Tech Helmet Study is not the whole story (subscription required)
- Parents, if you want safe football – its up to you! (subscription required)
This book delves deeply into the issue of concussions or the laughable term used by the NFL – mild traumatic brain injury. How do mild and traumatic get in the same term? The NFL’s denial of the facts is how. The comparison of the NFL to the cigarette industry is very fitting.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not one to call for the banning of football. That is the problem with any cause or movement – people go too far in the extreme other direction. Some will want to ban football.
We didn’t ban cigarettes. We didn’t ban alcohol. We didn’t ban driving. All of those are very deadly.
Education is the key in most cases. With education you can make informed decisions. With education, coaches and trainers can be held accountable to their decisions. What the NFL spent millions on was squelching education and obfuscation of the facts.
I don’t want to throw the NFL baby out with the bath water either. My reasons for disliking the NFL have nothing to do with their behavior on this issue. I also feel that the NFL has seen the light and are starting to be much more progressive about protecting the athletes that are making billions of dollars for the league and team owners. It started off with some rules about head-to-head contact. It will evolve into more.
I wouldn’t be surprised if helmets are done away with or the way players are allowed to fight for yardage itself is modified. It is that big of a deal. Just like we talk about how “back in the day” our two-a-days were a lot tougher (coach didn’t allow us to get water for fear of being water-logged) the old-timers of the future will reminisce about back when you could use your helmet as a weapon or players lined up face-to-face on the line of scrimmage.
Our sport will evolve and the safety will evolve. Oh yeah… read the book 🙂
by Chris Doelle