Earlier this week, President Obama took a break from taking a break in order to throw his hat into the concussion debate ring, stating that he would have a long, difficult time in deciding if he would allow his (hypothetical) son to throw on the shoulder pads and chinstrap. This statement created a bit of a buzz in the media, because, as anyone who has ever looked at the President’s track record on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and health care reform knows, it’s that if there is one thing Barack Obama stands for, it is making difficult decisions in a timely fashion.
Baltimore Ravens safety and Patriots-fan boogeyman Bernard Pollard then conveyed to reporters that he believes that football will be as existent within 30 years as a white blood-stained shirt following an Atlanta Super Bowl party.
In short, it seems like everyone and their mother is getting in on the debate. The latest person to lend her opinion is Krisitin Cavallari. Because really, what better person for the media to ask about complicated anatomical subjects than a former reality television star?
“I will try to steer (Jay and Kristin’s son) Cam in a different direction, maybe a sport that isn’t so aggressive,” the fiancée of the Chicago Bears quarterback told DNAinfo.com. “Maybe baseball — something where he doesn’t have to get hit.”
“At the end of the day, I think if he wants to play football, I don’t know if I’m gonna have too much control over it,” said Cavallari. “You know, how can your dad be a football player and you tell them that they can’t do it?”
Concussions have always been football’s dirty little secret. Anyone whose frontal lobes have ever met the business side of a vicious crackback underneath the Friday night lights can allude to this. Of course, we never referred to the destruction of our gray tissue matter as “chronic traumatic encephalopathy” (CTE). We simply called it the “Troy Aikman face.”
That all changed within the past five years, when the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, otherwise known as NAMBLA, at Boston University released its startling results pertaining to the effects of repeated hits to the head. What ensued was a public relations nightmare. Former NFL players have brought suit in court, alleging that the league has buried information correlating concussions and brain damage. Next was the suicide epidemic, when various players have tragically shot themselves in the heart and donated their brains to science. Then the most damning evidence of them all happened…ESPN insisted on keeping Jenn Brown as a sideline reporter.
But still, in the face of the overwhelming evidence, we, the letterman’s jacket wearers of America, continued to bang heads underneath the Friday night lights. That is because we loved the game of football, even if we didn’t fully understand what the phrase “if you play football, you’re going to die” meant. Every boy who has never visited Happy Valley, Pennsylvania dreams of playing on Saturdays and Sundays. With the brain damage being decades away, we boastfully wore our jerseys around school hallways like army uniforms, because football is war, and we were soldiers. Isn’t that right, Kellen Winslow?
All I am asking is that you lighten up, Kristin. Brain cells are overrated. You know what’s more important than living past the age of 50? Not being a nerd in high school. This is America. It’s not the grades you make. It’s the hands you shake…uncontrollably because your lifespan has been shortened by chronic traumatic encephalopathy.