Thursday, December 24, 2015

"Concussion" Hits Home

Although, it may be a holiday spoiler for many people, the Hollywood film "Concussion" is proving to be a box officer winner in the U.S. this season.  It is the sad story of football hero Mike Webster, and the doctor who was thwarted by the National Football League as he tried to expose truths about the dangers of head injuries in the sport that has become our national pastime.

Mike Webster was born near my hometown of Tomahawk, Wisconsin, in 1957. He starred as a center on the football team in nearby Rhinelander, Wisconsin, and later at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
Webster as a Pittsburgh Steeler.
and with the professional Pittsburgh Steelers. Webster is considered by many to have been the finest center ever to play football. The high school field in Rhinelander is named for him. He was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame years ago.

Despite earning great fame and fortune, Webster died at age 50, after years as a demented drug addict who often lived out of the back of his pickup truck. His family provided his brain to a medical center that became a leader in documenting the causes and effects of concussions. Lately, pressure from those aware of the center's findings has forced the NFL to take a few safety measures that may spare current players the fate Webster suffered.

The film has been getting good reviews. Yet, despite the hometown connection, I'm not sure I'll go to see it. And knowing what I now know about concussions and football, I'm far from sure I would advise a son or grandson to try the sport.

9 comments:

joared said...

I can appreciate your reluctance to view this movie. I think there's good reason to question the safety of exposing young children to possible adverse effects on the brain associated with contact sports like football, even soccer headers. I recall discussing with my husband concerns about how the brain might be adversely affected by the assaults inside the bony skull. If I could have such questions after neurology studies, holding a human brain in my hands, working with brain injured individuals due to a variety of other causes, then I would think medical authorities and experts would long ago have been seriously investigating this situation.

Rummuser said...

No, I would not be interested in seeing it either. How he must have suffered!

Anonymous said...

I have always thought football to be a barbaric athletic venture, even though the seahawks won the super bowl here in Washington state!!! Also we lived in Denver many years ago and witnessed the first time they tried to go to the super bowl and lost..I have always thought of playing football like boxing a sport that uses up men and women in brutal ways..I will not see the movie, I don't enjoy Will Smith anymore he was good in the movies with the odd creatures the name escapes me but now he is just a character type actor, not really that entertaining..We enjoy Matt Damon and I would like to get a dvd of The Martian that made me laugh and my hubs tooo, now that was a great movie! Movies that glorify violence and man's inhumanity to man are not for me and my hubs, we are baby boomers we are well aware of the injustice and crap that lots of men and women endured during the Vietnam war and civil rights and the women's movement we don't need to spend $15.00 plus dollars to see its depiction in black and white and horrible color, no we like happy films..Happy fa la la today and in the new year peace and joy!

PiedType said...

I've been a football fan since high school and I always hate to see anything reflect badly on the sport. But the mounting evidence about concussions is undeniable. I suspect with all the money involved, there will be great foot-dragging before anything meaningful is done, if it is done at all. And can anything be done that won't destroy the sport? I'd hate to be stuck with basketball and baseball.

Anyway, Merry Christmas, gabby!

Concordia Hoffmann said...

Keep on with the Geezer comments.

schmidleysscribblins.com said...

I agree with you on the concussion thing. But what can you do when your grndsons spend their Christmas money on Soccer helmets?

Dick Klade said...

Dianne . . . think I'd cheer the grandsons on. Soccer is an excellent sport. Risks are minimal compared to football, and probably even basketball and baseball.

schmidleysscribblins.com said...

Yes, but Jacob uses his head to hit the ball. Also both boys play baseball.

Dick Klade said...

Heading in soccer is nothing like a helmet hit in American football where the other guy also hits you at full speed. Baseball hits to the head are bad, but helmets pretty much negate them. Keep rooting for the grandkids. They're doing the right things.