At a recent conference, a physician panelist discussing NFL player head injuries said that if the average NFL player walked into a doctor’s office for a typical checkup, he’d be rushed immediately to a hospital for treatment.
The fact is slowly dawning on NFL management, the players and the public that pro football, indeed all football, is even more dangerous than everyone thought, and that normal, accepted play may still routinely cripple players in the worst possible place: their brains. The problem, ethical as well as medical, is that no one knows whether the sport can fix the problem and still be what fans regard as NFL pro football. It is a medical problem, because the data increasingly indicates that serious head trauma and long-term disability is frighteningly common. It is an ethical dilemma, because the very aspect of football that many of its fans most relish—the bone-crushing violence—is leaving players unacceptably vulnerable to depression, memory loss, personality disorders, rage, dementia, and suicide. Continue reading