Concussion Risk: To Play or Not to Play? Former Pros Weigh In
We’re way past the point where there’s any doubt: a concussion or multiple concussions not only damage the brain, they set into motion what could be seen as organ failure at one point or another.
So why risk it? Why play a contact sport like football—at any level—that puts you in harm’s way? Because your dad played it, your grandfather played it…all your friends are playing it? Those are probably some of the reasons along with the American male’s inherent macho attitude, which is a huge trump card.
Contact sports aren’t going away. They’re American tradition. They’ll weather the storm, albeit with new mandated or soon to be new mandated guidelines in place. Even then, the risk is still there. Of course the “wimp factor” helps too. You can’t be 6’4” and 250 and risk humiliation for not being part of the herd.
Just recently, former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner was interviewed on the Dan Patrick Show. It “scares me,” he said when asked about his kids participating in football. He went on to say that he preferred they not play the sport. This is certainly the feeling of many parents.
Warner went on to say, “They both have the dream, like dad, to play in the NFL. That’s their goal. And when you hear things like the bounties, when you know certain things having played the game, and then obviously when you understand the size, the speed, the violence of the game, and then you couple that with situations like Junior Seau — was that a ramification of all the years playing?”
On the other hand, Rex Ryan of the New York Jets takes a different stance. His son, Seth, suffered a concussion playing wide receiver on his high school team. “I’m proud that my kid plays,” Ryan said. “He had a concussion last year. That’s part of it. Obviously I think that we are so much further along now. When you look at the league now… nobody is forcing guys to come back. That’s just the opposite. I think our trainers do an unbelievable job. Our doctors do a great job. They’re not going to put a young man out there unless they feel he’s healthy enough to come back and play. The same thing with my son. Obviously you got concerns. It happens. But it’s an unfortunate part of the game. It doesn’t happen occasionally. I truly believe everybody’s working to try to get this thing minimized. We’ve got to protect our players. Protect our athletes without question… We try to do that with the helmets, with the way the trainers (train)and everything else. But will I still have my son playing? Absolutely.”
Other former players have ripped Warner for his comments saying that he’s trashing the same game that has provided so much for him and his family. But isn’t he entitled to his opinion? He’s not the only former NFL player that feels the way he does about head injuries. And Rex Ryan? He’s entitled to his opinion also.