Oh, the thrill of American Football! From great catches to great hits! Any American Football fan understands the enjoyment of rooting for their team, especially when the stakes are high! Football is the beat of America’s heart and has essentially replaced church on Sundays.
But could it be possible that in the excitement of the game, we have grown numb to the potential life-threatening dangers that surround the game of American Football?
“What dangers?” You might ask.
Well, putting aside the numerous dislocations, sprains, torn ligaments, broken bones and other injuries that are expected in a physical contact sport such as football; let’s focus on one of these injuries that are easily initiated and are often known to be deadly.
One of the leadings causes of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy amongst football players. The repetitive head blows throughout the course of a football player’s career has devastating effects and has even driven a lot of players to commit suicide as well as develop other symptoms like memory loss, depression and dementia.
Here’s the bottom line: our brain isn’t designed for sudden blows to the head like this. Head blows happen almost every minute during a football game. And especially in professional levels of football, the intensity of the blow is expected to be very high!
But what is the popular response for men who get hurt with a head blow? We’ve been trained to “take it like a man”, or “Get up and brush it off”. But these are serious injuries that can’t be ignored and certainly shouldn’t be repeated.
In 2015, Magnolia Pictures brought the true story of Dr. Bennet Omalu to the theatre screen. Dr. Omalu was the one who exposed the link between football player’s mental illnesses and their concussions.
He was hated for his findings and battled through many threats to bring his study to the attention of the media. Millions of NFL fans sent him nasty emails, phone calls, threatening him and his family to “Stay out of football”. In fact, the NFL even tried to sue the film company for bringing this story to light.
In the movie Concussion, Dr. Omalu explains how the human brain, unlike some animals like the ram or the woodpecker, can’t absorb any of the shock that is produced when the head takes a blow. He basically says, “God didn’t create us to play football”.
What a stab to our american pride! To accept the fact that football can kill us! The NFL is a multi-billion dollar industry. This is the last thing they need/want to hear about their game. Of course they wanted to sweep this under the rug! Think of the many jobs that are centred around the game of football: from on the field, up in the radio announcer box to concession employees, coaches, managers, maintenance workers, security…we could probably name jobs all day!
Sadly, This movie wasn’t given the response they had expected. Following the release of Concussion in December 2015, they earned $30 million domestically, which isn’t bad but not too impressive considering this is America’s sport, on top of having lead role actor Will Smith. But of course, they shared release times with the greatest block buster of all time: Star Wars, The Force Awakens.
But, just because a topic doesn’t get the popular vote, it doesn’t discredit the validity of this serious issue. In fact, History has shown that to be true. Smoking cigarettes has been repeatedly preached against by every health advisor, but despite that it still remains a legal and popular choice. Why? Because it produces too much money to just cancel production.
Sad isn’t it?