Friday, January 11, 2013

Sports concussions: Bells are rung in Arkansas, too

Posted By on Fri, Jan 11, 2013 at 11:08 AM

billray.jpg
  • Sporting Life Arkansas
Of course there's an Arkansas angle to the developing story of the lasting brain damage now being linked to football thanks to inadequate equipment, poor technique and, even with all precautions, the happenstance of punishing blows attendant to high-speed collisions of powerful athletes.

(Did my high school football coaches really exhort us to "Ring those Riddells," meaning to aggressively use Riddell-brand helmets as spears, ideally by interior linemen knocking them directly against helmets of the opposing team? Did we really judge our worthiness by the number of paint scars from opponents' helmets on our own? Are we stupider now on account of our stupidity then?)

But back to the Arkansas angle.

Evin Demirel has written an important piece for the new website, Sporting Life Arkansas, about the lawsuit by former NFL players over brain disease linked to football trauma. It notes:

More than 4,000 former players are suing the NFL in federal court, many of whom are alleging the link between football and brain damage, even after CTE was discovered in former players. As of November, 2012, some of these player-plaintiffs included native Arkansans or former Razorbacks like Joe Ferguson, Keith Jackson, Willie Roaf, Wayne Martin, Trey Junkin and Billy Ray Smith, Jr. [that's his father, another hard-hitting former Hog, whose photo was used in this illustration by Sporting Life, not his son, as we originally said.]

Sporting Life hopes to encourage some discussion, in part with a poll at the link on whether developing news about brain juries might encourage parents to guide a 13-year-old from football to another sport.

Would you?

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