Saturday, February 2, 2013

Super Bowl Questions for Parents & Reporters

For possibly the first time ever during all the Super Bowl super hype, there are finally questions about brain trauma and concussions.   USA Today did a worthwhile piece.

Read the complaint filed by the players against the league.   It's truly astounding how much information the league had about the risks of concussions and how it withheld that information from players.  To examine the risk of concussions, it chose someone with no expertise in brain trauma to head up its study team.   It reminds one of how the tobacco companies sponsored junk science to fight the real science that showed how dangerous it is to smoke cigarettes.

The NFL, a multibillion dollar business, withheld vital safety information from its employees.  How would you feel about working at a company where management knew of serious risks and withheld that information from you?

At the professional level in many occupations there's a risk, and often, the higher the risk the higher the pay.   Years ago I had the opportunity for an interesting position in Iraq.   Lots of money.  Appealing.   My daughter said, "I'll tackle you at the plane if you go."    I didn't go.   Professional football players now know the risks.    Professionals can make the decision.   They can take the money and take the risks.    

But what about colleges and high schools?   Their mission isn't the same as the NFL; their mission isn't to make money.   Their mission is education.   So with the knowledge we now have, where even the professionals get asked about the risks before the biggest game of the year, where are the reporters at the local level?
Where are the questions from sports reporters and education reporters and health reporters to college presidents and high school superintendents? College presidents and superintendents are supposed to be concerned about education and the development, not the bashing, of a young person's brain.   How is a university's mission of education consistent with a sport medical science has shown causes brain damage?    Why aren't reporters asking more questions and pressing for answers?    If you're concerned about the brain development of your child, it's something to think about on Super Bowl Sunday.

When journalism fails, bad things happen.

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