Headaches Remain a Headache for Football
That sort of collateral damage to its corporate image is manageable. It comes and goes, and not much changes.
It also seems to overshadow stories about the mortality aspects that occur on a disturbingly more frequent basis. Here are two items to make the news this week:
- A high school senior in Arizona died from the effects of brain trauma suffered during a game last weekend; and
- An NCAA Division III player died from the effects of brain trauma suffered during a game after his coaches basically told him to suck it up and keep playing.
A morbid fact of life in football is that incidents like these are inevitable. But just facing the upcoming day has its risks. The issue isn't necessarily that these tragedies occur, it's that many -- if not most -- of them can be prevented.
The two incidents listed share a common trait: Nobody in authority realized what was happing to the player.
And that's inexcusable.
Modern training techniques now create athletes in all sports who are bigger, stronger, and faster. However, all to often, coaching bromides and attitudes still linger in the past. Playing through injury is considered a sign of toughness, and anything else infers weakness. In a sport like football, this can be a tragedy waiting to happen. All too often.
This issue is now pushing past incidents like the hi-jinks in Miami to receive top billing in non-sporting media outlets. For example:
The underlying point in both of these topics is obvious: Responsibility starts at the top. As it should.
And until administrations take measures to efficiently instill accountability within their organizations and mean it, nothing will change.
This isn't about leaders monitoring leaders -- Old Boy Network Rule No 1: friends don't let friends go down -- this is about raising awareness by those affected, resisting old-school societal and peer pressure, and removing those at all levels of authority who resist the increasing stockpiles of evidence that a majority of these incidents can be mitigated before reaching the point of tragedy.
The popularity of football shouldn't be jeopardized by ignorance and intolerance. It may seem unthinkable that such a monolithic, money-churning institution could quickly fall from grace, but it happened once and needed the President of the United States to save it.
All of which brings to the fore an ominous truism that has a stockpile of supporting supporting evidence itself:
Those who don't learn from history are destined to repeat it.