How many of you here have had to deal with a brain injury or serious tendon or ligament damage? Especially because of a football injury? It's disgusting to me when people say that players are aware of the risks and so it's not the NFL's responsibility as an organization. The negative attitude that is prevalent, especially here in this thread is astounding. Comments like "I'd rather be able to walk when I'm 60 than do geometry" and the ignorance in saying things like "that's why we pay them the big bucks" just go to show you how much we need to, as an entire culture, change our collective attitudes. Those are people.
When I was 14 I showed up, eager as hell, for the freshman football tryouts. Made the initial team, and through the next two weeks of cuts and conditioning, stayed on the roster. I worked out every goddamn day for the next four years. My shoulders had shoulders. I was 6'1'' and 285 pounds as a 17 year old in a D3 school. Played Def tackle btw. My senior year I recorded 16 sacks, three forced fumbles, one fumble rec. and 161 tackles. We went to the state championship. Lost.
You see, I was told I was invincible. The whole town loved us. People would buy me breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I had a pep girl who would do my laundry, or wash my truck if I asked. It was great. There's the sham though, as I pretty clearly wasn't invincible.
I started having trouble with my knee my junior year. I had a partial tendon tear and it was repaired over the summer between junior and senior year. I had my shoulder dislocated twice, and tore the rotator cuff over the course of my varsity season. I was told I'd be fine, and I was given multiple cortisone injections. In four years, I got four football related concussions, and one from slipping on the ice. (Totally my fault, that one.
I'm 25 now. Not actually that far removed from the game. My UWM scholarship dried up, because I had to have my entire left knee replaced. The cartilage had worn away to almost nothing, and the joint was nearly destroyed. I had three surgeries on my shoulder, and I've still got serious pain every day and a limited range of motion. I'm addicted to vicodin. I often have difficulty recalling things that were told to me under 10 minutes previous. I've got a little notebook I carry around so I can write things down. See, turns out I've got a swath of scar tissue through my brain from those concussions. Brain injuries are tricky things. I can't tell the difference between things I should be actually upset at, and things I should brush off. In other words, I'm prone to violent anger fits. Can't work because of it.
This is all from four years of high school football.
When you say that players know the risk involved, remind yourself that these are mostly young men, and we as a country, and a culture groom and breed them into this system that tells them they are invincible, and encourages them not to worry about it. Young men always think themselves so. Did you think about what life was going to be like after 50 when you were 20? The majority of you didn't, or aren't.
Try not to be so quick to condemn the new safety measures because you think it will ruin your fun. Remember, these are people.
[ Edited by xtm059 on Mar 25, 2013 at 6:53 PM ]