First off, I would like to recommend this article by the New Yorker. Great stuff.
The National Football League. The most popular and powerful sports league in the world. We wait in agony every week until our favorite team plays again, anxiously upping our fantasy roster, watching all the pregame action, and then you have the game. The beauty of the chess match on the field, violent elegance. We all love it, Patriots fans or Jets fans. It's why we watch.
Whoever your team is, they can do no wrong. The quarterback goes back for the pass, the four wide receivers go down the field, QB passes over the middle, receiver goes for the pass, and then boom. You hear the sound of an enormous hit, crunching the receiver to the ground. Incomplete. You swear at your TV, cursing that he did not make the catch. Then you hear Dan Dierdorf announce to the world the receiver is down.
Your other receiver's leans over the injured player, waving to the bench. The medical staff comes out, TV station to a commercial break. They come back and the player is on a stretcher, leaving the game.
Postgame comes along, and we hear how he suffered a minor concussion, avoiding serious injury. But has he? We consider a serious injury a palalylis, or a major concussion that will leave him out for the season. That is serious, but a minor concussion to the frontal lobe is equally as bad.
Recently some tests were done with high school football players in Texas. They checked brain data from players previously concussed and some that never were. The disturbing results were that players unconcussed were worse. The doctors watched the nonconcussed players during practice, most of which were offensive linemen. They watched the way they pounded the front of their helmet into another. They tested again later, and found the visual memory had taken a hit. The visual memory area of your brain is in the frontal lobe.
Most concussions we see and at the back of the head, where motor and speech areas are. Those are normally the areas hit the most, along with balance. But these frontal lobe injuries are not concussions, in fact, they have no classification, are equally as bad.
In 1906, eighteen players died in professional football, and the game was almost banned, and the forward pass was invented, as mentioned in the New Yorker article. That saved the game. But, players were still dying. Not immediately on the field, as we have seen in the early 20th century, but slowly, from ALS and Alzheimer's. Look at ted Johnson, who has already had symptoms of early Alzheimer's.
Dave Pear, a former Tampa Bay player, has said he wished he never played football.
This is a problem in not just football, but in professional sports. Careers and lives are being ruined, and no one will akonoledge that. The NFL hasn't, and many players and owner havn't. The impending lockout won't ruin this league, but the issue here might.