The NFL’s Headache Problem

Can we all agree that it is no longer a secret and/or that it isn’t possible for the NFL to hide from its players that there are specific risk factors for head injuries, including concussions? And let’s not include in this discussion the argument that the players from 25+ years have a gripe with the league. Let’s talk about the here and the now.

Simply put, current players who are concerned for their long- and short-term health should quit playing NFL football right now. And guys who say they wouldn’t/won’t let their kids play football, but keep on playing themselves are being foolish. The situation their kids are in has nothing to do with the situations that led to these pros playing football.

As of this moment – and to be honest, as of several thousand moments ago – every guy who straps on a helmet at every level knows the dangers inherent in playing football. Any player or parent who has a concern for the possibility of injury should quit football right now and keep their kids out of the sport.

Any point after the start of this season – let’s call it July, 2012 – everybody loses the right to bitch about getting hurt playing football. Is that so harsh? With all of the coverage of the concussions in football issue, why should anybody be able to complain from this point on about getting hurt playing football? We aren’t talking about young boys and grown men suffering head injuries doing activities that are required in order to earn a living. So what’s the big deal?

Mommy and Daddy are being told 24/7 that football is dangerous and that their sons can get hurt playing. Every youth league and high school program has taken steps to inform all participants and parents and guardians about the dangers of the game. So from now on it should be a matter of, “Buyer Beware.”

Who feels sorry for the person who suffers burns on their hand as a result of touching a stove that they were told would melt their skin like styrofoam if they were dumb enough to touch it?

If a guy doesn’t want to risk his health in exchange for being paid stupid money to play football, he is free to go out and try to find a job and make ends meet on $65,000 per year. He may be entitled to make $5 million for playing football, but isn’t entitled to make $5 million per year doing just anything. His choice.

If a kid doesn’t want to risk his ass playing big-time college football, and as a result has to borrow money or go to the local community college like so many people have in order to get a higher education, they are free to do so.

Crab fishermen, as seen on the show, “The Deadliest Catch,” choose to risk their lives for the chance to make $50k in about 2 months. Otherwise most of those guys would struggle to make minimum wage. Why is this any different for football players?

Do you hear NASCAR drivers or Indy Car drivers bitching about potentially getting immolated or crippled or dead as a result of risking their lives driving a race car? Where is the pro athlete, “Torn ACL/Arthritis Lobby?” Since these conditions are almost a certainty for pro athletes, where’s the hue and cry for the athletes who might limp and be in pain post-career.

Do you want to argue that the NFL should totally pay for all health issues of their players, current and retired? Go right ahead, and I will agree with you.

However, given the current state and if the league refuses to do so, all of its “at-risk” employees are quite free to hang up their cleats and walk away from the game. People know the risks, and anyone who goes forward and plays from this point on – at all levels – needs to deal with it.

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