In very much the same vein that right-wing conservatives have been staunchly denying global warming, they have taken to professional football in the way of “concussion deniers.” No doubt that football is an intense and dangerous sport, and in recent seasons, there have been numerous efforts to ensure NFL player safety.
Many independent researchers have released studies that have examined the long-term effects of the continuous head trauma associated with playing professional football. In the past, the NFL has “inserted itself into the scientific research” of such neurological studies, creating a conflict of interest and “biased and falsified research,” according to a lawsuit filed by 4,500 former NFL players facing “concussion-related health issues.”
Now, conservative commentators, like Rush Limbaugh and Timothy Birdnow, are attempting to cry foul against the “liberal media” for trying to dismantle professional football. Despite studies correlating the hard hits taken by players and conditions like depression, memory loss, and tingling in the extremities, Birdnow said there’s “no solid evidence that the game is dangerous.”
A 2000 study released by the American Academy of Neurology indicated that of all former NFL players at the time, 61 percent suffered concussions and 79 percent were never relieved from the game. Six years beforehand, the NFL’s Mild Brain Trauma Injury Committee began a study on player brain trauma, but “discarded” the results from hundreds of players.
Despite the numerous studies that indicate a connection between tough hits and brain trauma, coupled with the league being outed on hiding results of the same research, right-wing yack-boxes are complaining about “liberals and trial lawyers gradually destroying the sport through excessive regulation.”
What these conservatives fail to understand is that these measures, and “excessive regulation” as they like to call it, are put in place to protect the players. In the extreme case that a player sustains a career-ending injury that could have been prevented by tighter regulation, or better padding developed by good research, he would have lost his livelihood, unless the player pulls an insurance policy to cover himself in such an event.
Protect the players. They entertain millions of people on a weekly basis between the months of September and January, and they shouldn’t have to miss out on any playing time because of preventable injuries. Plus, it helps the fantasy stats too, provided you have the guy on your roster.