It seems like every NFL team this season has been devastated by injuries. Games are long enough without trainers insisting that players stay down after a hit until they remember what team they play for. Linebackers are getting bigger and the repositioning of the ref from behind the defensive line has opened up the field to more spine-crushing helmet-first hits that we all love until someone gets hurt and we have endure more commercials. The solution doesn’t lie in better pads, more restrictions on hits or harsher penalties. The real answer would be to take science and medicine a few steps backwards and go back to the days when no one knew what a concussion was.
If there’s anyone that needs to be taken off their high horse, it’s got to be doctors. Who are they to determine that football players who get hit in the head need time to recover? Certainly not football fans. Didn’t they ever read Blink by Malcolm Gladwell? This book proves over and over again that the more time your brain has to process things, the worse it will perform. We need to get back to the days when an injured quarterback would have to get up after a punishing hit and simply let his animal instincts take over.
All sports on a whole, but definitely football in particular, were much more enjoyable when doctors thought concussions were just a case of the “Head dizzies,” “Skull leaks” or “Brain Ouches.”
What is a little rest going to solve anyway? If Drew Brees had his face implanted on the turf and it killed a few brain cells, what difference is it going to make whether he sits for a few plays rather than a few games? I have fantasy points to worry about, and I’m not about to let them go to waste because he’s whining about a little headache. Hey, Doctors of America, it’s called Tylenol.
The babying of football players has dangerous implications of weakening football fans, which exposes us to terrorism and immigrants somehow. We want the hits to be more violent and we want the players to get bigger and stronger. We want helmet-to-helmet contact that echoes in the away team’s stadium. The only way we’re going to get there is to go back into denial that there is no such thing as long-lasting brain damage.
How hard can this be? We already have textbooks saying that evolution is a myth and most Americans still believe that the entire world was created by an invisible man in the sky. Is it that much of a leap of the imagination to believe that getting your head driven into the turf compresses your spine like an accordion to make brain waves travel faster?
Sure you can make the argument that a higher number of concussions decreases players’ life spans, but do you honestly think that any of these guys want to live past the age of fifty? More concussions equals more hot chicks, as everyone who has ever seen a movie with jocks knows, so where’s that statistic? Why would any of these running backs want to live until they’re seventy, when every single bone, muscle and joint creaks with excruciating pain? On the other hand, we can spread the word that concussions are a myth and these guys can go back to playing all the football we love until they can’t walk anymore. They’ll sire a few more future starting linesman, then continue entertaining the masses as the jolly retarded guy with a half-working brain, then pass away peacefully at the ripe age of thirty-six.
In fact, that could be a new segment on those boring panel NFL preview and highlights shows. Instead of just analyzing the same game over and over and getting the same rote predictions, why not bring on a retired player who has suffered between forty and fifty “concussions” and just let him talk for a half hour. I’m sure it will be much more amusing than any commentary Shannon Sharpe can provide. The NFL Network could fill a majority of its programming by simply filming people who have taken many shots to the head. This is what I like to call a pension.
Football is supposed to be a violent sport and we need to stop letting doctors getting in the way. If our favorite sport is going to return to its glory days of brutes running haphazardly through mud and snow then that’s where our understanding of brain matter must return as well.