There are few people reading this by now that do not know of the crisis facing this great game of ours. This game, this killer of men and breaker of spirits, which so many millions love and celebrate every week in America. Our youth are dying and our Heroes falling and yet do we say anything? Or do we just smirk and write it off to bad luck. It didn’t happen to you right? Not your kid. Not your problem.
But across America as the injuries mount and the death toll rises more and more fans and parents are crying out for change. Because for those of us paying attention we must realize that this killer that is running wild in the game of football has come to our youth fields and our Main Streets and our NFL Stadiums. The Concussion and Brain Trauma Monster is ours…all of ours.
The body count and number of broken men and boys is rising daily. Concussion’s and Traumatic Brain Injury suffered on and the practice field and during games seem to visit every region of the country weekly if not daily. And while many of us have been fighting the fight and doing the work to change laws and implement better regimens and practices most are just waking up.
And you are needed here in this place. Here in the stands, in the locker rooms, and there at home. In the Hospital rooms and care centers and Trauma Rooms. You are needed to stop this onslaught and to help arrest this madman who assaults our game and our children.
You parents who had to stand and watch in horror as the ambulance pulled away from Lake Oswego High School with hometown boy Grant Taylor inside saw what can happen. Grant Taylor, one of the hardest working athletes in the area, gave us a terrific scare when he took a tremendous blow and then pulled his helmet off falling to the ground in seizures on the field.
You parents and fans are needed to come to the aid of all ouf our boys. Grant dodged a bullet and it appears he will be ok thanks to toughness, luck, and many prayers and blessings. He may or may not play again. But what if he hadn’t survived? Would you be forever changed?
Because as Grant Taylor lie injured and in a medically induced coma a 16-year-old high school football player in thge village of Phoenix, New York breathed in his last breaths on Earth.
Ridge Barden died after collapsing during a game suffering bleeding on his brain, apparently from a helmet-to-helmet collision. Cortland County Coroner Kevin Sharp says Ridge died from a massive subdural hematoma, a traumatic brain injury.
The lineman for John C. Birdlebough High School in the Oswego County village of Phoenix was hurt during Friday night’s game at Homer High School, south of Syracuse. Authorities say he was able to sit up after the play but complained of a headache and collapsed when he tried to stand.
The fact that Ridge Barden lived in Oswego County and Grant Taylor lives in Lake Oswego is not lost on any of us. Those things used to come across as coincidences. Now we take them for what they are; connections across borders and humanity to let us know that something is very very wrong. Read More Here
If that is not enough to get you invested then understand that Bobby Clark of Priest River High School in the Idaho pan-handle is still in Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, some 18 days after going down in a game and not getting back up. Bobby was playing with headaches according to some of his team mates and suffered a blow that delivered him to deaths door-step only to be saved by radical surgery to his skull and other drastic life saving Miracles.
Bobby is only 16 and day by day, with his family by his side and his community of thousands giving prayer, he battles for small victories. To open his eyes, to squeeze lightly on his mothers hand, or indicate he is aware of what is happeneing to him; all small steps in the fight to come back to his life.
Would you agree there is a problem if you knew that Bobby’s team has had 13 Concussions this year? Incredibly that is so and while everyone is looking for answers the issues seem to stem from too few kids playing too many downs and being out mannned every Friday. Read Bobby’s Story Here
Additionally Bobby is in the very place that Andrew “Drew” Swank was taken a litttle over 2 years ago after he was hit on the football field in Eastern Washington. Playing with an unresolved concussion, after his doctor approved that he could play, Drew was hit again and fell having seizures and convulsions. He passed away at Sacred Heart two days after being brought there for life saving surgery.
Across the mountains West of Spokane in Seattle another boy is trying to heal from a blow he took the Friday before Bobby Clark went down. His name is Junior Nuku and he played for Mount Ranier HIgh School. Junior was hurt twice this season with concussions. The first one sidelined him for three weeks and the second one happened the night he returned.
He was in pretty bad shape for a few days and had a stroke and other complications. He has been in rehabilitation at Seattle Children’s Hospital doing better after bing treated there for several weeks. His football days are over too.
And Junior is in the same place, Seattle Children’s Hospital, where our beloved Matthew Newman of Yakima, Washington was two years ago after he too went down with a brain trauma suffered in a Double OT game for his Highliand Scotties, Today Newman lives at home but struggles to have the life he once did; something that seems out of reach on most days.
Are you getting it? Do you need to see or hear more? Because despite all the laws we have passed and the leadership that we have shown here in the Pacific Northwest (Washington’s Lystedt Law #1 in the Nation; Max’s Law in Oregon #2) things are not getting better.
There is more awareness and the education of our coaches is better at maybe we have trainers or a team doctor at the bigger schools but the injury counts are increasing. That is undisputed.
So are the number of deaths.
Now if we have your attention ask yourself this.
Do I love the kids and this game enough that I willing to stand with those trying to do the work?
And am I willing to admit that we as adults are doing this to the kids?
Because if we are not the ones doing this to them then who is? The kids sure in the heck are not doing it to themselves. And this is not just a “bad year”. We say that every year and the problem at all levels are only getting worse.
Just ask the hundreds of NFL Veterans and Hall of Famers who are suing the League over this issue and to get basic health benefits.
All of this can be pinned on over exposure, helmets that are too old or too new or too heavy, on kids being played hurt and allowing themselves to play hurt, on a sport that puts winning and the Warrior-way ahead of life itself, and on Mom and Dad, Coach, Doctor, Administrators, fans, and to small minded football crazed people in general. It can be blamed on all of us.
The Media and Colleges and the NFL are to blame too. Everyone who has a stake in the game monetary or otherwise is at fault.
So are lax rules and regulations and the terrible helmet to helmet blows we see nightly on every field from Pop-Warner to Cowboy Stadium.
The game is broken. And it needs to be fixed and yet we are moving to slow.
If your ready to help then here is your chance. If your reading these words and you say to yourself that Bobby Clark, Drew Swank , Matthew Newman, Ridge Barden, Junior Nuku and the hundreds and thousands of other inured football players deserved better; well if your saying that and ready to help here is your chance.
If your ready to help save the game then you better step up.
Get involved by helping BrainChampions,org and organizations like them who are doing educational, regulatory and legal work.
If not you better find something else to do with your free time because the game as we know it is slipping away.
It looks like the end of the road is not that far ahead.
Just thought you all might like to know.
A bend in the road is not the end of the road… unless you fail to make the turn. ~Author Unknown