The latest cover story for Time magazine is, ahem, particularly well-timed. My snail-mail version arrived the day before the NFL Pro Bowl game and on the eve of the excesses of Super Bowl week.
The story is ostensibly about football injury but focused almost exclusively on concussions: injuries suffered when the skull abruptly stops but the encased brain continues moving and is damaged by cranial impact. Sensible reforms are offered by author Sean Gregory and others.
It'ês a story of Northwest interest if only because it quotes from the anecdotes of a young Port Angeles player and also notes the Zackery Lystedt Law, passed last year in Washington state. The law requires that young athletes suspected of sustaining concussions sit out football until licensed medical providers trained about concussions clear them to play. Interviewed is Seattle attorney Richard Adler, a primary designer of the law.
The author of the not-oppressively lengthy piece dwells almost exclusively on head trauma. The fact is that myriad other injuries are incurred as part of the spectacle of football, the nation'ês fan-fave sporting attraction.
A few years ago I asked a well-known, Seattle-bred athlete and decade-long NFL player to recite for me briefly the injuries he incurred during his pro years. He started with the top of his body and eventually, about 10 minutes later, had worked his way down to the ankles (sprained) and toes (broken). Then he observed that football would continue to get more dangerous if only because of the inevitable consequences of physics: bigger, faster athletes in constant contact.
The thought of this occurred to me an hour after finishing the Time article, as I met with parents of a prized high-school player thinking about coming to the University of Washington and becoming a major in the Department of Communication, where I teach. He was among perhaps two-dozen potential recruits. Virtually all of them appeared as big and perhaps as strong as guys I see in the Seahawks locker room, even though the visitors obviously are all still in high school and no doubt getting bigger and faster all the time.