She danced on my head like Arthur Murray

Maybe it’s because the topic is concussions here, but reading this piece of stupidity from the Pink Himalayan one made my head hurt (h/t reader D):

So Junior Seau’s family is suing the NFL over head injuries, which lead to chronic brain damage, and possibly his suicide.

[…]

But this lawsuit strikes me as pretty out there. Junior Seau can’t possibly have been unaware that football caused head injuries. Nor even that multiple concussions are probably bad for you.

Snap back to reality (a New Yorker piece from January 2011):

“There’s a potential lawsuit out there that’s devastating,” the Steelers Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw said on Fox’s pregame show, the weekend after James Harrison threatened retirement. I know of two groups of lawyers preparing class-action suits, on behalf of recent players, against the N.F.L., with an eye toward filing in the first six months of this year. At issue is what the league knew and when, and, ultimately, what responsibility it has to its players, with a likely focus on the difference between two documents that were distributed in locker rooms as safety guidelines. The first, a pamphlet written in 2007, left open the question of whether “there are any long-term effects of concussion in N.F.L. athletes,”

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121 replies
  1. 1
    Jerzy Russian says:

    I won’t click on that link, as I have had my fill of stupidity for the entire week.

  2. 2
    aimai says:

    Damn you for front paging even that much McMegan–don’t you know that she is toxic to brain cells in every dose? There is no known amount that is small enough to do no harm.

  3. 3
    BGinCHI says:

    So McMegan invents a Free Market solution for concussions that lead to dementia, murder, and suicide.

    Perfect.

    These fucking twits couldn’t think their way out of a kindergarten puzzle.

  4. 4
    👽 Martin says:

    I can just imagine the low-budget, waiting room style pamphlet:

    “So You’ve Decided to Give Yourself Brain Damage: 10 Endorsement Ideas for Addled NFL Retirees”

  5. 5
    BGinCHI says:

    @aimai: Your question about the Reid McConnell deal (or “deal”) on the other thread is a good one and I don’t know the answer.

    But let’s hope Reid does have an Endgame and it’s got a sting.

  6. 6
    Epicurus says:

    Say what you will about McMegan, she is vewy, vewy bwave. No other columnist working today (with the exception of Douthat) is so willing to continue to expose the public to their weak reasoning and near-total lack of logical thought. Bravo, Mrs. McSuderman! You are indeed, one of the stupidest people publishing on the ‘Net today. We have some lovely parting gifts for you…

  7. 7
    TomG says:

    Wow…the level of stupid in some of the comments on Megan’s article boggles the mind. Also the levels of blame the victim (usually the superficial level of “he got lots of money and in return he obviously knew there was a risk”)

    I understand that beyond college we are talking adult men willingly taking risks, but the main question (covered well by TNC) is how much has the NFL attempted to conceal the true danger over the last 2 decades?

  8. 8
    EconWatcher says:

    I don’t think she believes much of what she says, or cares one way or another.

    Her meal ticket is as a woman libertarian, which makes her a relatively rare commodity (because most women are too smart and practical for that). So she runs with it. Hey, it beats working for a living.

    And we help her if we pay any attention at all. She probably cites all the mentions of her on this and other blogs as proof that she’s “controversial” and therefore a hot item.

  9. 9
    JPL says:

    @Epicurus: She gets paid for the stupid.

  10. 10
    BGinCHI says:

    Is this what finally gives me an excuse to cancel my Facebook account?

    http://livewire.talkingpointsm.....s-christie

    Zuckerberg admires Christie’s work on “education reform”? You got to be kidding me.

    Fucking assholes.

  11. 11
    👽 Martin says:

    Gov Brown giving State of State address right now:

    I salute the unions—their members and their leaders.

  12. 12
    gene108 says:

    If you are going to ban sports because of head injuries, I’d think boxing would be up on the list.

    Also, girl’s high school and college soccer produces head injuries on par with football. Competitive cheerleading also has more than its fair share of various injuries, but often isn’t considered a sport, so it doesn’t fall under state high school sports safety guidelines.

    People have known football will rip up your body for the rest of your life, in a way few other sports will do to retired participants. It’s an accepted risk.

    I’m not sure from a legal perspective how the head injuries issue is any different than blowing out your knees, back, etc. taking a shot of painkiller and going back out and playing and getting a worse injury as a result.

    I’d think just as big an issue affecting player safety is the lack of guaranteed contracts/fear of losing your job. Fear of losing your job has been a big driver for players to play through injuries.

    Alex Smith had to sit out a few weeks, because of the new rules on head injuries and lost his starting job and will either have to eat a pay cut or be out of the league next year.

    Either we all become soccer fans (not women’s soccer of course, unless the ladies can no longer head the ball for their own protection) or we realize head injuries are just one set of the myriad number of life long injuries football players will incur for their choice of profession.

  13. 13
    Zandar says:

    “But McBargle can’t possibly have been unaware how reading her poo words on the screen caused brain injuries.”

  14. 14
    Laertes says:

    Seems like the cigarette industry tried a similar stunt: Leaping straight from “you can’t sue us because there’s no evidence that it’s harmful” to “you can’t sue us because everyone knew that it’s harmful.”

  15. 15
    matt says:

    wow, I guess the entire field of workplace safety law has had it wrong all this time.

  16. 16
    WereBear says:

    @EconWatcher: I don’t think she believes much of what she says, or cares one way or another.

    I dunno, there’s a lot of gusto in her positions, such as how she advocates throwing kindergarteners at crazed gunmen. There’s some love of the game there, methinks.

    And it’s a favorite winger trope: They knew the risks, they volunteered, the poors must want to watch their children die in agony or they would do things differently.

  17. 17
    TG Chicago says:

    I’ve long wondered why McArdle isn’t in the “Blogs We Monitor and Mock as Needed” section. She gets more mockery (deservedly so) than anybody in the list.

  18. 18
    Cassidy says:

    If you are going to ban sports because of head injuries, I’d think boxing would be up on the list.

    Boxing isn’t a sport that has a pipeline running down into Elementary school ages nor does it have the number of people growing into it that the football has. Comparing the two is not a very apt comparison.

  19. 19
    Citizen_X says:

    Sigh. Doug, Doug, Doug. Two pieces of libertarian dogma:

    1. Citizens should not be protected from big corporations by the law, they should rely on lawsuits. And

    2. The law should severely limit lawsuits.

    It all comes out of the foundational libertarian principle: the rich are always right.

  20. 20
    gex says:

    Reminds me of the Vikings that had that supplement issue with the league. The league didn’t list the supplements as banned, and didn’t return their calls when the players called to find out. But, once testing came back, the players had the ultimate responsibility to know what the league would not tell them as far as the league was concerned.

    Our Galtian overlords have no responsibility to us other than to pursue maximal self interest and greed.

  21. 21
    Emma says:

    @gene108: I’m not sure from a legal perspective how the head injuries issue is any different than blowing out your knees, back, etc. taking a shot of painkiller and going back out and playing and getting a worse injury as a result.

    Considering that we have several suicides and (maybe?) one case of murder, I think legal is going to be… let’s just say, interesting… for a while.

  22. 22
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Bradshaw knows what he’s talking about, and I suspect has been working quite hard behind the scenes to get something done about the head injury issue.

    Read an interview with him a long time ago. As some of you may know, he got hit a LOT back when he was playing. He stated in the interview I read (you don’t forget something like this) that EVERY DAY he would have moments where he didn’t know where he was, or what city he was in.

    I’m amazed the guy can carry on a conversation, much less function as well as he does, if that’s the kind of brain dysfunction he’s been dealing with for decades.

    ETA: Steve Young was the concussion king of the NFL, and I hate to say it, but it shows. Watch old interviews with him and watch him now. He was a lot more together before getting the shit kicked out of his brains.

  23. 23
    Laertes says:

    @Cassidy:

    Also, er, who’s talking about banning football? Just do the science, learn about the health effects, let the lawsuits land where they will based on what the NFL knew or didn’t know and withheld or didn’t withhold, and let the sport of football live or die, however it can when we know more about the costs.

    Seriously, who’s talking about banning it?

  24. 24
    SatanicPanic says:

    It’s one thing to know that head injuries aren’t good for you- it’s another to know that you’ll get alzheimer’s at age 35. You also can’t make the case for informed decisions when people aren’t actually informed.

  25. 25
    Cassidy says:

    @Laertes: True. I think the free market is going to win this one. Someone mentioned in another thread about insurance and once the HS’s stop paying for insurance to cover the sport, it’s done in its current incarnation.

  26. 26
    BGinCHI says:

    Is there any evidence Megan has a head injury from constantly using it as a blunt instrument?

  27. 27
    Cassidy says:

    So, Marglebargle breaks it down to “all those darkies should have known better!”? Is that the vibe I’m getting?

  28. 28
    EconWatcher says:

    I love watching football, but I wouldn’t want my boy to play when he gets old enough. So I guess I shouldn’t want anyone else’s boy to do it, either. Sigh.

    I sometimes wish I were a wingnut. There’s something to be said for being able to live with massive cognitive dissonance. Life must be happier that way.

  29. 29
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @BGinCHI: It is all circumstantial,but it is rather convincing.

  30. 30
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    To me, one of the surest signs that someone is completely full of shit is their willingness to express a lengthy opinion on any subject under the sun. That cow knows less about football and CTE than I know about plasma physics.

  31. 31
    gene108 says:

    @Cassidy:

    I think the rate of injuries in cheerleading – a girl dominated activity – and girl’s soccer is apt.

    Both draw pipelines of kids and both have high rates of injury, by the time girls get to high school.

    Compared to other contact sports, head injuries are common in soccer. In neuropsychologist Dr. Jill Brooks’ study of high school soccer players, she found that more than one quarter of them had experienced one or more concussions. Neuropsychologist Dr. Ruben Echemendia reported that in his study of college athletes, over 40 percent of the soccer players had at least one concussion prior to attending college. By comparison, only 30 percent of the incoming football players in the same study reported having had a concussion.

    http://www.nap.edu/openbook.ph.....038;page=3

    According to Dr. Matthew Grady, a pediatric sports medicine physician at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, girls’ soccer ranks third among sports that cause the most head injuries, behind football and boys’ ice hockey, and ahead of boys’ soccer.

    http://www.metrokids.com/Metro.....ries-Rise/

    Since I can’t post more than a couple of links, I’ll try to get to cheerleading’s injury rate before this thread dies.

    Football is getting attention because it is the most popular pro sport in this country. When an OL for the Vikings, died of heat stroke a big deal was made about it.

    I remember hearing about heat related injuries/deaths at the high school level back, when I was in school in the 1980’s, when kids were practicing in August. None of these got much attention, until one NFL player had it happen to him and then a hydration revolution was born for football practice.

    If we’re going down the road to demand changes in football because of head injuries at all levels of the sport, there are other sports just as deserving of attention due to their popularity and the number of head injuries suffered. Those sports just don’t have a mutli-billion dollar pro league in the U.S. to get the high level of attention as football.

  32. 32
    Downpuppy says:

    For pretty good coverage – http://nflconcussionlitigation.com/

    Right now they’re arguing the NFLs motion to dismiss. Pretty hard to dismiss 4000 players suing, but you never know.

  33. 33
    WereBear says:

    McMegan might try reading the story of Mike Webster:

    A tormented soul

    (From an early CTE thread.)

    It’s stunningly horrible. Especially the part where he would tase himself into unconsciousness because the drugs weren’t helping with the pain.

    And (of course) she’s wrong. You can tell someone in their early twenties about RISK but they do not comprehend it, and because they do not and cannot, they are not in any way understanding something they signed up for in high school.

    Are we really going to let teenagers make life altering decisions all by themselves? Because that is what this comes down to.

  34. 34
    The Other Chuck says:

    @gene108: Turns out that using your head to bounce the ball off of might not be such a good thing to do repeatedly. Whodathunkit?

  35. 35
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    Blenderella should stick to talking about stuff she actually knows something about…

    like writing drivel about her having wasted lots of money on expensive crap for her home.

    @BGinCHI: “But let’s hope Reid does have an Endgame and it’s got a sting.”

    Reid talks big but when push comes to shove, he will fold like a lawn chair.

    I just wish he was as easy to put away as a lawn chair.

  36. 36
    Larv says:

    @gene108:

    Considering that we’re talking about pro sports, I’m not sure how relevant injury rates for high schoolers are. For one thing, I strongly suspect that concussion rates for amateur and pro soccer players are similar, but pro football players are much more likely to suffer serious head injuries than are amateurs. Soccer concussions are largely from contact with the ball, and the ball is the same size and doesn’t usually travel that much faster in the pro game. Football concussions are usually from contact with other players, who get larger and faster the higher one goes in the sport.

  37. 37
    Elie says:

    My thought about football ( which I really like) — is to say that we must have some halfway, reasoned place between, “well, they chose this so suck it up” and we must hold the NFL responsible for everything. That “place” is called risk management and we have to do some thinking here and not just throw up our hands..

    One thing that might help is to actually take off some of the padding and make it more like rugby. Yes, you would still have injuries, but pain might make your likelihood of hitting as hard as they do now, a little less likely. Does anyone know how Rugby fares in the head injury department compared to football?

    Despite how much I love football, I could not in good conscience recommend that a kid should play it. We already have so many poor talented black kids in the sport who are also at risk for other brain injury from just living stressful lives as children. I dunno….

  38. 38
    Brachiator says:

    But this lawsuit strikes me as pretty out there. Junior Seau can’t possibly have been unaware that football caused head injuries. Nor even that multiple concussions are probably bad for you.

    You hear this stupid shit from libertarians, and also from some diehard sports fans and reporters, that this is just part of the game, or that players know the risk going in, or that this is what they are getting paid big money for.

    @gene108:

    Football is getting attention because it is the most popular pro sport in this country

    Not really. To talk generally about “injuries in sports” or even injuries to cheerleaders vs the specific risk of brain damage from concussion that affects football players is an attempt at misdirection.It would be like comparing head injuries from boxing with injuries to golfers and then saying that both sports are equally dangerous.

  39. 39
    Scuffletuffle says:

    McMegan’s been banging her head against the Thermomix a little too often lately.

  40. 40
    Comrade Colette Collaboratrice says:

    @EconWatcher: This, me, exactly. The moment of truth is coming at us like a freight train, too – our 9-year-old son loves to watch football and is asking to play it, and we’re going to have to (fail to) explain why it’s OK to do one but not the other.

  41. 41
    Heliopause says:

    But this lawsuit strikes me as pretty out there. Junior Seau can’t possibly have been unaware that football caused head injuries. Nor even that multiple concussions are probably bad for you.

    Why can’t it be the case that Seau was aware he was in a risky job and there is a basis for a lawsuit?

  42. 42
    Bostondreams says:

    @Larv:

    From what I understand, the issue isn’t concussions or even blows to the head. It is repeated violent contact, minor or major, over the course of time. This then would include everything from Pop Warner through to pro. It’s the sudden stops causing the brain to shift in the skull as lineman slams into lineman.

  43. 43
    retr2327 says:

    @aimai: But since you were obviously already well aware of the risk presented by reading McBargle, you have no grounds to sue.

  44. 44
    Nylund says:

    Nearly everything Megan writes has this air of, “I’ll just assume I already know all relevant facts and that my personal intuition and common sense is all I need in order to write about this subject.”

    Invariably, she does, in fact, not know everything. Usually this makes her very wrong. She then goes on to combat criticism using some combination of the following three things:

    1. “My actual worlds didn’t reflect what I actually meant! I actually meant something else entirely despite every word I previously wrote. I was actually talking about the shiny thing over there. See it? Please be distracted by it!”

    2. “Oh yeah, well my mom/dad/grandparents/husband/sibling/friend once had an experience that’s different from what you’re talking about, so you’re wrong.”

    3. “I was sick/my calculator was broken, so my wrongness isn’t my fault.”

  45. 45
    trollhattan says:

    Lemme give the ol McMegan bwaaaain a try:

    – Smokers had to have known inhaling a toxic brew would hurt them and have no complaint.
    – Those Big Branch miners had to have known the boss valued digging coal over sissy safety, so certainly knew the place would blow up.
    – Folks living in Libby, Montana and especially those working in the mine certainly understood the danger of the particular form of asbestos they were working and living in, and knew the cancer risks.
    – Those Deepwater Horizon workers surely all knew it was a “rogue” well and would eventually blow up.
    – Pregnant women taking Thalidomide for morning sickness had no right to presume their babies would be born with a typical complement of arms and legs.
    – Our Libyan embassy staff certainly knew how dangerous their mission was both currently and historically, and should…oh, wait! Treason! Zobama’s fault!!!

    Yes, our Koch sister Blenderella has a special, special gift.

  46. 46
    burnspbesq says:

    Dude, you wasted a Richard Thompson line on McArdle?

    Shameful.

  47. 47
    trollhattan says:

    @👽 Martin: @👽 Martin:

    Good ol Jerry. Also, too.

    The Democratic governor writes speeches himself, and his office said he was working on it over the weekend and this week. He was seen in the Capitol basement this morning going over his address.

    http://blogs.sacbee.com/capito.....rylink=cpy

  48. 48
    Roger Moore says:

    @TomG:

    I understand that beyond college we are talking adult men willingly taking risks, but the main question (covered well by TNC) is how much has the NFL attempted to conceal the true danger over the last 2 decades?

    But if the NFL was concealing the true danger, were the players willingly taking the risks?

  49. 49
    The Golux says:

    @burnspbesq: Cry, cry, if it makes you feel better.

  50. 50
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    Jesus – if they try to ban football the current pissing and moaning by the gun nuts will sound like the singing of a chickadee.

  51. 51
    Schlemizel says:

    Oh that Megan! Is there anything she can’t be wrong about? What a national treasure is is.

  52. 52
    gene108 says:

    @Brachiator:

    Not really. To talk generally about “injuries in sports” or even injuries to cheerleaders vs the specific risk of brain damage from concussion that affects football players is an attempt at misdirection.It would be like comparing head injuries from boxing with injuries to golfers and then saying that both sports are equally dangerous.

    Soccer has a high rate of head injuries. That is specific to the issue with American football and head injuries. If you’re going to deal with preventing head injuries in football, soccer should also get consideration from a public safety standpoint.

    Cheerleading, from what I’ve read, has a ludicrously high rate of injury and if it was considered a sport serious steps would be taken to cut down on those injuries. Maybe it’s a bit of a tangent, since the injuries aren’t always head injuries, but in its modern form cheerleading can be very injurious to its participants.

    @Larv:

    pro football players are much more likely to suffer serious head injuries than are amateurs

    The issue is repetitive head injuries. Lots of jarring head impacts over many years seems to lead to CTE later in life.

    So if one plays professionally, in either soccer or football, they’ll have many more impacts to the head than someone, who only plays through high school.

    Maybe a mandatory retirement age would eliminate the risk of CTE? Maybe if Junior Seau retired after 10 years, he’d not have developed CTE, rather than playing for 19 seasons?

    I’m just saying there’s a strong case to be made that if you go down the road of tackling head injuries in the NFL, you have just as much cause to apply the same metrics to lower levels of football. And if you apply it to lower levels of football, there are other sports that should also be addressed from a public safety standpoint.

    @WereBear:

    You can tell someone in their early twenties about RISK but they do not comprehend it, and because they do not and cannot, they are not in any way understanding something they signed up for in high school.

    Yeah, but by the time Mike Webster got the NFL, you had a generation of players, who got their brains beaten in and were middle aged living with the after effects of their decision to play pro-football.

    Retired NFL players living in constant pain is not new.

    Maybe public attitudes are changing with regards to “playing through the pain” that drove players to keep playing with injuries, and the adults will start advising the younger players to hang it up, rather than suck it up.

    Maybe that’ll mean the end of football as we know it, I don’t know.

    The issue of NFL head injuries, if it is fully applied as a public safety matter, will have repercussions in other sports and at lower levels of sports.

    In short, be prepared for more changes than just a few rules changes in the NFL, by the time the head injury issues get resolved.

  53. 53
    Schlemizel says:

    @gene108: Also, girl’s high school and college soccer produces head injuries on par with football.

    I assume I missed the articles on soccer stars dieing from CTE? I guess the occasional header is causing as much damage as the repeated bashing of ones head into the heads of other football players.

  54. 54
    handsmile says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    Well I guess now I”ll have to address you as Professor. That “nym” should have been a clue for me….

    But please do not demean by comparison that noble creature essential to human civilization!

    @The Golux:

    Reading McMegan is nothing more than Walking Through a Wasted Land.

  55. 55
    RobertB says:

    Bostondreams @42 beat me to it; current research states that CTE is more likely caused by repeated, non-concussion-causing blows, than it is by a (relatively) smaller number of concussions. Your average offensive lineman gets one of those brain-rattling blows on pretty much every play. These days you can watch a lot of football without seeing a lineman get knocked silly, but the damage is still being done out there.

  56. 56
    Schlemizel says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    Back in the day when he was playing one of Bradshaws teammates said that he couldn’t spell CAT is you spotted him the C and the A. So, either the brain damage started much earlier or he didn’t have that much to damage.

    trying to see if I can get a fight started on something other than CTE in this thread ;)

  57. 57
    eemom says:

    Head injuries are the new asbestos. You heard it here.

  58. 58
    catclub says:

    @gene108: “People have known football will rip up your body for the rest of your life, in a way few other sports will do to retired participants. It’s an accepted risk.”

    But no longer sounds like something to have peewee leagues of kids playing, or high school, or unpaid college, without much more specific waivers.

    LGM says this may be the death of football. I think it may bring on paid college football teams.

  59. 59
    gene108 says:

    @catclub:

    The ramifications will be broader than people realize.

  60. 60
    catclub says:

    @Xecky Gilchrist: “if they try to ban football the current pissing and moaning by the gun nuts will sound like the singing of a chickadee.”

    The banning will come the same way that the Catholic clergy is contracting. Mothers no longer willing to donate their sons to the effort.

  61. 61
    aimai says:

    @Heliopause:

    You’ve put your finger on a classic bit of Mcmemememe’s misdirection. Sometimes I get the feeling, almost a guilty pleasure, that reading Megan is like watching a really bad stage magician. Her worst errors are usually in sentences like the one you’ve pointed out where she thinks that the second half refutes the first but she’s just obviously wrong. Its like watching a second rate magician’s apprentice announce grandly “the hand is quicker than the eye!” while the rabbit hops forlornly around her feet having escaped from the hat without her noticing.

  62. 62
    Downpuppy says:

    @gene108: Maybe shorter is better, but Chris Henry was 26 when he fell off the truck.

  63. 63
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @handsmile:

    Well I guess now I”ll have to address you as Professor. That “nym” should have been a clue for me….
    But please do not demean by comparison that noble creature essential to human civilization!

    I apologize for the demeaning comparison with a creature both harmless and useful. Me? I’m just another White Hat in the Navy of life.

  64. 64
    catclub says:

    @eemom: And asbestos was not covered for the first 15 or so years of the lawsuits, until they finally won some substantial settlements.

    This will take a long time. But I think a song along the lines of “Mothers, don’t let your sons grow up to be cowboys”
    is on the way. I guess the cowboys are Dallas Cowboys.

  65. 65
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Schlemizel: I think it was Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson of the Cowboys who said that about Bradshaw.

  66. 66
    burnspbesq says:

    @The Golux:

    The scars ain’t never gonna mend in a hurry.

  67. 67
    TomG says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Obviously they were not. I’m not at all sympathetic to the NFL, and it wouldn’t bother me at all if the sport were drastically changed. Or ended.

    (I don’t hate football, but I rarely watch any sports on TV so have no investment in protecting this country’s sacred institutions.)

    /sarcasm off

  68. 68
    Downpuppy says:

    @aimai: In that the players are claiming fraud & negligence to contest the NFL’s motion to preempt to arbitration, there seems to be some requirement that they show concealment by the NFL.

    With the discovery from the head injury committee, that shouldn’t be too difficult.

  69. 69
    Roger Moore says:

    @gene108:
    Remember, though, that concussions are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of traumatic brain injury. There’s good evidence that the biggest danger is from repeated sub-concussion impacts rather than the occasional concussion. That’s why the players at greatest risk are linemen, who rarely get tackled but are getting blows to the head on just about every play from blocking. I’m not sure what the implications are for soccer- it can be very rough from all the player contact, and heading the ball seems like asking for brain injury- but it seems like it would be much less of a problem in cheerleading, where the injuries are primarily from failed moves that should have little or no impact when they’re performed correctly.

  70. 70
    gene108 says:

    @Schlemizel:

    Footballers Migraine seems to be associated with soccer for a longtime.

    Since pro soccer isn’t covered in our media, I’m not sure if there are suicides related to soccer injuries. There is a specific condition regarding head injuries that has been around for some time.

  71. 71
    Raven says:

    @Roger Moore: I’d like to see that “good evidence”.

  72. 72
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @catclub: Maybe not paid _college_ teams, but some sort of network of compensated club teams. Instead of Notre Dame having a football team, with the players paid in free education, you could have the Golden Dome Football Club, part of a minor league. I would quite like to see a sharp separation between colleges and the business of “college sports.” But there would be quite an upheaval if that came to pass.

  73. 73
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    The cannon fodder for football will come more from those for whom football is the only way out of their economic and/or family situation. The colleges and universities will do whatever it takes to ensure that those who have little other choice will be admitted and will play.

    If you eliminate contact sports because of the high probability of injuries then you are at some point putting a high premium on avoiding those activities in which injuries are guaranteed. That would include war. Becoming more cautious about going to war is bad for business so we’ll never even start down that slippery slope.

  74. 74
    Mike E says:

    @Citizen_X:

    the foundational libertarian principle:

    Reasoning with a libertarian is like arguing with a 3 year old–if you do it, then you’ve already lost.

  75. 75
    catclub says:

    @Downpuppy: “Pretty hard to dismiss 4000 players suing, but you never know. ”

    You may have heard of how well the Supreme Court can ‘deny cert’. I think 4000 players can be dismissed easily enough if there is legal reasoning for it.

  76. 76
    trollhattan says:

    @catclub:
    In the case of “Millionaire Players v. Billionaire Owners” I think I can predict the outcome.

    And order will be restored to McMegan’s world.

  77. 77
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: You mean your physics/naval pun was just a front?

    T_T

  78. 78
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @gene108: Yeah, the girl’s sport has a lot of heading. Watched a college level game about 15 years ago and it was all heading all the time, which is funny because men’s pro usually only heads when trying to score a goal.

    I never got a concussion playing intramural, city, and tryout league through high school, although I did get the wind knocked out of me a few times and bruised a hip really badly once. Worst sports injury I ever had happened in softball practice.

  79. 79
    Amir Khalid says:

    One difference between football and the gridiron sport is that in the former, it’s not common practice to deliberately charge at your opponents head-first. That’s violent conduct, a straight red card. (At the 2006 World Cup final Zinedine Zidane headbutted an opponent — in the chest — not during play, but in response to a verbal provocation.) Clashes of heads are almost always accidental, and usually happen when two players are challenging for the ball. I can’t recall ever seeing, or even hearing of, an incident that was ruled an intentional headbutt to an opponent’s head.

    As to the danger of brain injuries from repeatedly heading the ball, I believe this has been minimised in recent decades. The old leather footballs absorbed moisture from rain and/or wet grass, and some days it almost felt like you were playing with a bowling ball. Today’s balls are made of nonabsorbent synthetic materials.

    I don’t see how you could make it safer to head balls without making them too soft to pass the bounce test (they must bounce 1 foot from a 6-foot drop onto a hard surface, if I recall correctly). And I’m not sure how a planetful of fans would react if FIFA were to outlaw heading.

  80. 80
    ThresherK says:

    What sport did McMegan play to account for her obvious diminished capacity?

  81. 81
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Larv: Soccer concussions are largely from contact with the ball, and the ball is the same size and doesn’t usually travel that much faster in the pro game.

    Uh… no.

  82. 82
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    Yeah but regardless of the gnashing of teeth over this, a lot of people here im sure are long time football fans, and they won’t change their views. How many open football threads do we have?

  83. 83
    trollhattan says:

    @ThresherK:

    Dodgeball, with sacks of quarters.

  84. 84
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Junior Seau can’t possibly have been unaware that football caused head injuries. Nor even that multiple concussions are probably bad for you.

    Given how much McArglebargle is unaware of, it’s quite plausible that Junior Seau was unaware of all those risks.

    Oh, wait. Junior Seau had a functioning brain. Never mind. Point taken.

  85. 85
    Xenos says:

    But this lawsuit strikes me as pretty out there. Junior Seau can’t possibly have been unaware that football caused head injuries. Nor even that multiple concussions are probably bad for you.

    This is horrible bias dressed up as reasoning (like most of her work).

    If Junior Seau must have been aware of the risk, then certainly the team and NFL Inc. was aware. If liability for this is not sorted out in the contract, and maybe even if it is (for well established policies against unfair dealing) then Seau very much has a valid case.

    I hope the Seau family takes ’em for seven figures.

  86. 86
    danimal says:

    My 13 y.o. daughter plays competitive soccer, is recovering from an ankle sprain and has occasional headaches. I still encourage her to play as long as it’s enjoyable.

    There is no way I would have let my son play football. (He’s 19 and never wanted to play, so the issue is moot at this point.)

    Yes, both sports have dangers, but as I see the comparisons of injury rates for the two sports, the scale and magnitude are often missing. Heading a soccer ball and collisions on the line of scrimmage are not the same thing.

  87. 87
    Jager says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    Bill Simpson the Godfather of auto racing safety is giving it a shot: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.c.....index.html

  88. 88
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @gene108: What about rollercoasters? Weren’t they causing CTEs? Are some of the big coasters going to be shut down?

  89. 89
    ThresherK says:

    @trollhattan: Looks like she can sue the US Mint, then. Talk about “where the money is”!

  90. 90
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I would quite like to see a sharp separation between colleges and the business of “college sports.”

    Indeed.

  91. 91
    Keith G says:

    @gene108: As far as the dangers of other activities, I am willing to follow the data as to the frequency of significant damage. If cheerleaders are suffering life altering injuries at a high enough rate, then they will be grounded, I suppose.

    I loved playing football and I loved coaching football (in Texas no less), but I never thought it offered a good enough return on investment for the public monies spent. Truckloads of money are used on relatively few students. Now, if it turns out that along with the other opportunity costs, we are also subjecting young players to an elevated risk of significant brain damage, I am not sure how public funds can continue to be allocated to such an activity.

  92. 92
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Jager: Whoa, if that guy starts selling bike helmets, I want one.

    A bike helmet probably saved me from a bad concussion about ten years ago (if the pain and broken tooth is anything to go by), but the damn things never fit right and I’m never quite sure when to replace them. If his claims are true, his helmet is superior to the styrofoam helmets I’ve been using.

  93. 93
    WereBear says:

    @Another Halocene Human: From what I understand, college sports tend to emphasize the “athlete” part of student athlete; to the point that they have players slowly working on their degree so they can play for many years, ignore criminal behavior and cover it up, and let them go if injured without a second thought.

    So many poor young men without academic skills are already playing without getting that education. What will change?

  94. 94
    catclub says:

    @Another Halocene Human: Could be good for a bike helmet, but I suspect that, just as motorcycle helmets are not really suitable for bicycling, a football helmet may also not be. Even half as heavy as a normal football helmet could still be too heavy. Also, football helmets are cushioning multiple shocks, Bicycle helmets are basically one and done.

  95. 95
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: The cannon fodder for football will come more from those for whom football is the only way out of their economic and/or family situation.

    Think we’ll see an urban/rural division. Urban kids already play basketball, not football, and this will intensify. Don’t underestimate the protectiveness of Black parents. Rural areas will lag by a decade. By that point there will be significant changes, either in the game or in its status.

    The colleges and universities will do whatever it takes to ensure that those who have little other choice will be admitted and will play.

    You’ll see coastal/northern elite schools pulling back if public outrage and attention continues. (Many elite schools have half-assed sports programs already.) You’ll see holdouts where bread&circuses reign–coal country, fracking country, Catholic schools, Oklatexas and the Southeast. Places that always spent more on “athletics” (war) than academics will only change if there are legal/structural changes rolled in from above. Which could happen if the elites get really riled and they continue to wield great power (tossup, and likely).

    If you eliminate contact sports because of the high probability of injuries then you are at some point putting a high premium on avoiding those activities in which injuries are guaranteed. That would include war. Becoming more cautious about going to war is bad for business so we’ll never even start down that slippery slope.

    The military-industrial complex has already adjusted to this reality. Far fewer of our troops have died relatively than in previous conflicts. The drone operators stay safe in home territory. The armed forces have spent billions developing technowarfare to prevent the “body bag” imagery of Viet Nam from happening again and putting the giant money streams at risk.

  96. 96
    Roger Moore says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    and I’m never quite sure when to replace them.

    You’re supposed to replace a bicycle helmet after any accident where it gets hit. They’re designed to absorb impact by permanently deforming, so they’re only good for one accident. When in doubt, replace the helmet.

  97. 97
    Xantar says:

    Off topic: just watched the Google+ hangout with Joe Biden talking about gun violence policies. He was pretty good. There was a guy asking him why ban assault weapons when they are a small percentage of murders and why limit clip size when the shooter at Newtown fired 150 rounds. Biden gave the right answer: you don’t need either of those things for hunting or to chase people out of your home. Meanwhile, banning assault weapons and limiting clip size may not stop all murders, but it may reduce the number of casualties in massacres. And if something like that could have saved one kid at Newtown, it’s worth doing.

    I hope a front pager posts a link to the video when it becomes available. It’s pretty good viewing.

  98. 98
    jl says:

    @trollhattan:

    ” Smokers had to have known inhaling a toxic brew would hurt them and have no complaint ”

    Damn straight. Heck, cigarette companies had ads with doctors saying that smoking soothed throat irritation. But they didn’t say anything about cancer, heart attacks, strokes and emphysema.

    Dude, everyone should have known smoking was bad!

    I think is should be obvious that whether the NFL conducted due diligence as the long term medical effects of concussion became better understood is pretty legit and important question.

    Sure, a center knew that he would probably have serious joint problems as he aged. How could he have known his brain would rot away from the effects of repeated concussions?

  99. 99
    Duane says:

    I think this is the first time i have ever known the song referenced in the title of a post…ever…of course i know it from the cajun country cover version and not from the original, but still…. i feel like i am a member of the cool kids club now…..

  100. 100
    mai naem says:

    McMegan probably stood at the side of the Freeway of Wingnut Welfare with her thumb sticking out with a sign “Will Write For Big $$$” and some NFL owner(Jerry Jones???) stopped by in his Ferrari like Richard Gere in “Pretty Woman” and bargained her down to $250/word from $350/word.

  101. 101
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Amir Khalid: I don’t see how you could make it safer to head balls without making them too soft to pass the bounce test (they must bounce 1 foot from a 6-foot drop onto a hard surface, if I recall correctly). And I’m not sure how a planetful of fans would react if FIFA were to outlaw heading.

    Women’s college soccer in the US has wayyyyyy more heading than international men’s pro football. I don’t know why that is, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there turn out to be negative consequences to that.

    Some have said US hockey (with the checking) is even worse than football. Considering what became of many US pro hockey players in the 70s and 80s, it makes a ton of sense in retrospect. I have no idea why they allow them to play like that because it is not fun to watch in any way, unless it was a matter of tribalistic rabble abandoning boxing because too many blahs were in it. (In Boston, that might well be the case. During the “white negro” era, Irish were huge in boxing, but not any fooking more, mate. We gots political power, now.)

    I can think of a number of UK ex-footballers who still seem to have all their wits about them, so you may be right about the synthetic balls stinging less, Amir.

    I feel like they stung less on my body (the synthetic balls showed up about the time I got old enough to head, but I played defense and halfback with the old balls and was very physical with the ball). It’s funny that I noticed a difference in the way they looked but never made that connection about absorbing water (oh yes, we played in the rain and snow). I guess I thought I was more “used” to chest hits.

  102. 102
    👽 Martin says:

    @Jager: And I think Simpson is aiming too low. The F1 helmets are custom built around a laser scan of the drivers head. Every helmet is specific to every driver. Simpson is trying to build a $1000 helmet to compete with $200 helmets in a sport of millionaires. His target shouldn’t be the NFL, but the NCAA. He should be building $25,000 helmets like F1 has for the NFL.

    A standard motorcycle or football helmet is usually 3 layers thick. F1 helmets are over 15 layers. They’re effectively bulletproof, made with carbon fiber, titanium, epoxy resin, fireproof Nomex. They weigh less than a football helmet. They have integrated microphones, speakers, and noise cancellation to protect the drivers hearing. It has an air filter so the drivers don’t have to inhale all of that brake dust. The visor automatically tints depending on lighting. They test it by shooting projectiles at it at 250 MPH, and the fit of the helmet is tested to ensure that it cannot shift by more than a certain amount on each driver.

    The NFL doesn’t need half that stuff, but even in the few NFL games that I watch each year, there’s always a player that loses his helmet in a play. That’s completely, utterly unacceptable. There’s no reason why each NFL player shouldn’t have a custom fit helmet that undergoes that kind of safety testing. It’s absurd that they allow the players to pick whatever helmet they want.

  103. 103
    Keith G says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    The cannon fodder for football will come more from those for whom football is the only way out of their economic and/or family situation.

    Unfortunately, the numbers are not that good. Some very few individuals are provided the chance for a “way out of their economic and/or family situation”, but it’s such a statically small data point. I am not sure that would be enough to counter significant medical arguments.

  104. 104
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @catclub: I’m not saying I would wear their football helmet on a bike. I’m saying he could take that patented material inside the helmet and adapt it for use in a bike helmet (which covers less of the skull).

    As for one and done, yeah, what’s interesting is that the government-sanctioned helmets we use now are supposed to be thrown out after a crash because they permanently deform on the inside to absorb the impulse. (Lotta people do not realize this because they don’t “look” broken.)

    One reason I don’t think that Euro “airbag” helmet is a particularly good idea.

  105. 105
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Roger Moore: Correct, but the material also degrades over time, meaning an old helmet which has NOT been in a crash may also be useless… but you can’t see this. (Date of manufacture is required to be posted inside.)

    One frustration is the government actually recommends throwing them out after two years but sometimes bike shops sell you product that’s been sitting there in a box for like two or three years. Arrrrrghhhhhh.

  106. 106
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Oh god, if someone would just invent a styrofoam that changes color when the little cells lose integrity–!!

    Someone in materials science would make a mint!

    Sell it to Walmart, they would be selling so many helmets… omg–!

  107. 107
    👽 Martin says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    I don’t see how you could make it safer to head balls without making them too soft to pass the bounce test (they must bounce 1 foot from a 6-foot drop onto a hard surface, if I recall correctly). And I’m not sure how a planetful of fans would react if FIFA were to outlaw heading.

    Change the rules so you can only head the ball in an on-goal play. That’d eliminate a ton of backfield/midfield heading – returning goal kicks, clearing headers, and that business. Premiere league averages, what, 15 shots on goal per game? Spread out over all offensive players, that’d cut down the volume of heading right there by a LOT.

    And on-goal headers tend to be deflections or lower velocity shots than those straight-on midfield deals where players will head the ball halfway across the field 3-4 times in a row.

  108. 108
    WereBear says:

    @Keith G: Some very few individuals are provided the chance for a “way out of their economic and/or family situation”, but it’s such a statically small data point. I am not sure that would be enough to counter significant medical arguments.

    Hope springs eternal. It is the rare teenager who does not think he is the next Chosen One. Often, they let many other opportunities slip away while they keep after that elusive goal, until there are no more opportunities.

  109. 109
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Keith G: Keith, Higg’s said that, not me.

  110. 110
    👽 Martin says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    Oh god, if someone would just invent a styrofoam that changes color when the little cells lose integrity–!!

    They have it. Manufacturers won’t use it because it costs more. Same with car seat manufacturers, which is another application. Gotta regulate it into use.

  111. 111
    Xenos says:

    @Another Halocene Human: Two years? I just threw out a helmet I bought in 1980. Have not used it for a while, but would occasionally wear the giant ping-pong ball looking thing to see if anyone would recognize it.

  112. 112
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @👽 Martin:
    @Xenos:

    See what I mean? Xenos kept a helmet for 30 years but they’re supposed to be cycled in 2. If retail giant Walmart got ahold of this and sold it as the ‘safety helmet’ (they sell a lot of bicycles) they could make a mint.

    Since when is planned obsolescence a bug and not a feature?!

  113. 113
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Another Halocene Human:
    WalMart would just love writing off millions of dollars in unsold crash helmets every year, I expect.

  114. 114
    Roger Moore says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    WalMart would just love writing off millions of dollars in unsold crash helmets every year, I expect.

    Walmart should have much less to worry about than your local bicycle store. Walmart specializes in selling stuff at low margins with high turnover. I doubt they stock many items that have an average turnover longer than two months, much less two years. If they sold helmets with a built-in expiration date, they’d probably lose a lot more to shoplifting than they’d have to throw away because of age. It’s the local mom-and-pop place that has a wide selection of low turnover, high margin stuff that would really have to worry about a helmet sitting around until it isn’t safe anymore.

  115. 115
    realbtl says:

    Late to the party but re: 2 years for helmets-
    It is not the age in years but the exposure to UV when wearing them that causes the degradation. A helmet that has been in a box is still as safe after 2 years as when it was originally stocked.

  116. 116
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Another Halocene Human:
    Sure is. I did serve years in the USN. I am fortunate to have some friends who work for JPL and Cal Tech. Even more fortunate that they can explain, to the modest limits of my understanding, the occasional bit of Physics.

  117. 117
    Roger Moore says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    I am fortunate to have some friends who work for JPL and Cal Tech.

    If you want them to stay your friends, you need to write it Caltech, which is the preferred and correct form, rather than Cal Tech or (ugh) CalTech. And why, yes, I did go to Caltech (’94, BS Chemistry).

  118. 118
    LeeM says:

    @👽 Martin:
    Heading the ball in soccer is not nearly as dangerous as collisions. The reasoning is that the player hits through the ball with their head, so the brain and skull continue to move in the same direction. With collisions, the head moves back while the brain bounces off the front (side, back, whichever) of the skull. Young kids (and inexperienced players) don’t have the coordination to do this redirection, so they shouldn’t practice heading until about age 10 or so.

  119. 119
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Thanks for the heads up.

  120. 120
    Roger Moore says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:
    Well, I might be exaggerating slightly. Should the issue ever come up, they’re more likely to correct you on your orthography than cast you out as a friend, but people getting it wrong is a minor sore point. And expect some mocking if you don’t correct it after the first time you’re told the right way.

  121. 121
    Jackie says:

    Doctors and ambulances sit on the sidelines and routinely haul away football players who are knocked unconscious. For Junior Seau not to know that head injuries are serious would assume that he never saw those medics, nor the ambulances, nor the guys carried off the field, nor wondered why the game had come to a halt. OF COURSE we have known forever that brain injuries are serious. My sister, playing field hockey, was knocked out and went into convulsions. BEATING YOUR HEAD ON SOMETHING FOR THE SAKE OF MOVING A BALL DOWN A FIELD IS F*****G STUPID.

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