NFL: Modern Day Gladiators
DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM)- The death of certain Hall of Famer Junior Seau this week should remind us all of the DANGER of football. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the sport. It’s easily the most entertaining and pulse pounding athletic endeavor our country provides.
But let’s also remember the physical toll the violent game takes on the bodies of the men who play it.
The average NFL player lasts 4 years. But the injuries they sustain during that career never leave and often intensify with age.
It’s sad to see a great like Earl Campbell, the Hall of Fame Houston Oiler running back who used to run over anyone or anything in his way, now confined to a wheel chair. This coming after years of brutal tackles he took because of his style of running.
Seau played with that type of zeal. In on every tackle, motor always going. As of this writing, we do not know what ultimately drove Seau to put a gun to his chest and pull the trigger. Could it be depression from numerous hits to the head, possible concussions? Dave Duerson the former Chicago Bears safety, shot himself in the chest so that doctors could examine his brain after death. He suffered from depression that some doctors feel came from multiple concussions.
While there is no evidence that Seau was depressed or that he had long term affects from multiple hits to the head, this is yet another NFL great whose life after football was altered by the effects of the game.
We should be cognizant of this when we watch the ESPN highlights of “Big Hits” during the game during segments like he got “Jacked UP”. We need to remember that while these men make a choice to play the game, and get paid very well to do it, their often doing it at the expense of their bodies.
Could you image if we forced players to play without a facemask? Maybe then the defense would be more reluctant to hit another player in the head for fear of killing him, and maybe disfiguring his face.
The game is and always will be violent and in part that’s why we like it. But we need to remember that when these men are out their throwing their huge frames around. While we sit in the stands and eat out hot dogs and drink our beer, they are getting hit or hitting…HARD. And while the fame and money is nice, it’s often fleeting.
The NFL needs to do more for those that leave the game. They need to take care of their own. We as fans should demand it. ARE WE NOT ENTERTAINED?!
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