LISTEN UP! You Football Moms- watch this Video.
This is my dear friend and compatriot Kimberley Archie who is along with myself one of the pre-eminent advocates for Brain Injury Awareness, changes to the game of football, and a WARRIOR in the Battle to Save The Game of football. This is a person like me with a decade in the trenches of making the game safer. This woman battled to save Cheer Leading from brain trauma and switched to football and battled away there too. Little did she know as she and I were helping Dr. Bennett Omalu of the Concussion Movie fame and Chris Nowinski of the Sports Legacy Institute that her own son, Paul Bright, would become a major part of the story.
Paul played youth ball and High School ball from age 7 to 17; just like all my sons did. He battled and fought it out and gave his all like all our guys. And as he gave up the game and Mom took up the charge of fighting for player safety I am sure he never thought he was ill. Kim never imagined that Paul, a rising chef talent, would wreck and die in a car wreck and become a part of this story.
The young man had never had a concussion or major injury. Nope- he was BLESSED!
For you Moms I want you to understand this. Concussions do not cause this deadly disease CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopothy) that Will Smith has now brought to the forefront of American thought in the movie Concussion. Smith plays Dr. Bennett Omalu who discovered this deadly killer, a disease that has now been confirmed to have caused the death of 78 of the 81 brains of dead NFL players who are a part of this growing study.
No- what causes this disease is all the sub-concussive blows these kids and men take at practice and in games. The Damage is caused by Tau protein which is a plaque that rots or eats away at the brain from the outside in as apart of the aftermath of a scrambled brain that tries to repair itself every-time it takes a blow hard enough to jar the tiny tendrils and axons that make up the brains electrical-mechanical systems.
Paul died in a wreck after showing some bad judgement; kids 24 do that. God knows mine have. But Kim knew enough to realize that Paul was a potential target for the disease she had been trying to help stop in her NFL friends lives so she made a call and has his brain sent in to be a part of the study. I know she was probably thinking “no-way” but it is worth checking out. Then to have her own sons brain come back positive for CTE- well that was a game changer.
Paul Bright is now one of the 14 out of 15 High School brains that have been confirmed to have had Stage 1 or early CTE.
Would he have died from this later in life? Maybe- yes probably. Now his legacy must be remembered and honored as one of the stories that should forever change the way we approach and play the game of Football. Believe me when I say this – Kimberly Archie is a terror in the courtroom and as an advocate. This death of her son is going to loom very very large over the game and if I were the NFL I would consider Kim a bigger threat the Doctor Omalu ever was.
Football Moms- my favorite people – are fierce advocates. And this – Paul’s death- and the death of these other young boys is what will change the game and the way we approach it. Men play in the NFL and College. Boys play in High School and little children play youth ball.
These 14 deaths led by Paul and the ghosts of the other 13 and their Mothers will rise up and see to it that Youth Football ends as we know it.
In 2011 I had finished 11 years of youth football coaching. No matter how much fun or success we had I took myself and my youngest son out after I saw Drew Swank, a 17 year old star player from Spokane (WA), be buried from an on field death. I wrote at that time with all I had learned and researched that we had to end youth ball and move to a flag only league. Doctor Robert Cantu is perhaps the premier guy in the world on issues of football and the Brain and along with Doctor Ann McKee leads the charge for a rational discussion about these matters. His position in 2011 that children under 14 stay away from contact sports was well argued and based on the fact that the brain in young people is not developed and loose in the skull. This exposes the Brain to massive trauma – even a light “pop” on the football field can lead to a jello like reverberation and result in this damage and a protein release. At 14 or older the brain is almost tight into the skull and these effects are dampened.
Kim Archie, Dr, Bob Cantu, and I know this and so does Paul Bright. We all love the game enough to tell the rest of you to wake the hell up!
If you read this and you decide to allow your child to play you are committing child abuse. That is my position now- it is factual. You have NOTHING to Gain and your child to loose. If you do not loose them you may subject them to a life that is greatly diminished from the life they could have had,
Football is a game for men; maybe young men. NOT FOR BOYS!
MOMS- How many of you have a son who played football and after high school has been in trouble? Wrecked Cars? Committed crimes? Done foolish things? And have you ever thought this was not the boy you knew? Realize that may well be because you are right – he is not the boy you knew- he is the boy you knew with a brain disease that was caused by the sport he loved and he was or is being encouraged to play.
If you do not want to listen to me then listen to Kim Archie. The NFL is not doing anything- they want you to look the other way. Please do not. Protect your sons and protect all kids and join us in a call for the ban of Youth tackle football.
Thank you Kim and God Bless you Paul- please allow us to continue this fight and stop this process of destruction.
Watch Kim Torch the Football Inside Docs in this recent interview on Huffington Post – she just flames them-