Concussions in Sports- Tragedy of Jr Seau’s Death
Concussions in Sports- Tragedy of Jr Seau’s Death. A few days ago Jr Seau, former NFL linebacker (19 years) shot himself in the chest and died. I rarely jump ahead of formal news reports, but the evidence is suggestive and because it is, awareness is important.
I have pulled some statements from football super agent Leigh Steinberg’s blog. You can read his full blog at How Many Deaths Will It Take? → I wanted to help players, coaches and parents understand that we are all part of the problem and the solution. Don’t get me wrong. As a sport psychology consultant, I’m a tough guy. I love contact sports. I love aggressive behavior for both males and females in sport, but I believe in teaching sportsmanship, good technique and common sense. I also believe that we need to be aware of the issue and our awareness will keep players safer. This is not about scare tactics. It’s about protecting are players and our sport.
Leigh’s statements are in red.
Normally, speculation as to causation would be premature, but these are not normal times. The specter of head injury and the disastrous lifetime ramifications call for emphatic action. There is a largely undiagnosed health epidemic which has surrounded contact sports at the youth sports, high school, collegiate and professional level and it is a ticking time bomb.
What are the long-term ramifications? How many head injuries are too many? How long should a player sit out after suffering the hit?
The players themselves were in a state of denial concerning physical health. They had been taught since Pop Warner to ignore pain — hide injury so as to not lose their starting position or jeopardize their status on the team. They didn’t want to be known as “training room” players and be stigmatized and isolated from their peers.
I just wrote about this for juniorhockey.com because ice hockey is no different; in fact hockey has a reputation of believing hockey players are tougher than football players. My previous post here was about SHAME. It contributes to the problem.
In conjunction with the Los Angeles based Concussion Institute we helped facilitate another series of Concussion Seminars seven years ago. This time there was concrete data presented by researchers like Dr. Julian Bailes, Dr. Robert Cantu, Kevin Gusciewicz and Dr. Robert Hovda that seemed to indicate that three (3) was the “magic number.” Three or more concussions apparently raised exponentially the post-career risk of dementia, Parkinson’s and depression.
A pattern developed in which the repetitive head injuries produced chronic traumatic encephalopathy, permanent brain damage. Player’s such as the Bears’ Dave Duerson developed depression. Often loss of job and family would occur. And in some cases, suicide. Dave Duerson shot himself in the chest last year and left a note asking that his brain be left to science to help solve this problem..
I’ve worked with 6 youth players in the last year that had concussions. First step for parents is making sure they see a head trauma specialist. Your GP may not be the right person.
A cognitive test is given prior to a season and in the case of concussion is followed by a second test. This is an objective way to measure the degree of damage and ensure that players are asymptomatic at rest, on an exercise bike and at practice before they are cleared to play. This is something that every parent should insist on for their “collision sport” children. Pro football may be most visible, but the risk is present in many other sports and at the collegiate, high school and youth levels. The adolescent brain may take three times as long to recover and it is still in formation.
Now he is dead at only 43. As Peter, Paul and Mary sang “How many deaths will it take til we know that too many people have died.” We need to find the answers; they can’t just be “blowing in the wind.”
I am an advocate for players and coaches. Players need to be forthcoming when they are injured. Coaches need to focus on their player’s health. If a coach takes away status of a player because of head trauma, the next player that has their bell rung will keep silent. We’ve had 50+ years of silence. It’s time to make some noise.
I’m a sport psychology consultant. I work with athletes and teams from the pros to youth levels in all sports. I consult in person and via SKYPE. Please check out my web site. I need some hits. Not the kind to the head. You’ll find interesting programs if you take the time to explore.
By the way, I’ve had 4 concussions that I know of. One playing flag football, took one play off. One playing college football, took no plays off. One playing college soccer; did not leave field. And one from a car accident; the only one where I didn’t continue doing something. They wouldn’t let me drive the ambulance.
This is some text prior to the author information. You can change this text from the admin section of WP-Gravatar Mike Margolies: Sport Psychology Consultants ; TheMental-Game.com Mike Margolies is a Sport Psychology Consultant, Certified Mental Trainer® (CMT), Author, and Professional Speaker. When you want to be the best that you can be and the one thing you might be missing is the right mental game - what can you do? Well, athletes from all over the country have been seeking out Mike Margolies for over three decades to help them reach their potential. His clients include professional, elite, colligate and youth athletes in every sport. They have sought his counsel and unique teaching style to learn about the game within the game, or what mental training can do to help them become the athlete they want to be. He has trained professional and elite athletes and helped guide many to world championships and even the Super Bowl. Mike has trained more than 2000+ athletes. He has taught at four Universities and completed research at the United States Olympic Training Center. His new book is called The Athlete within You- A Mental Approach to Sports and Business. He currently works with individual athletes, teams and businesses around the world, both in person and via SKYPE. Mike is based out of the Pacific Northwest. Let him encourage you to play the game within the game. The Athlete within You is waiting to come out play. Learn the rules to the mental game to help realize your potential. Read more from this author