Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rub Some Dirt In It

There have been, and continue to be, lawsuits filed against the National Football League and equipment manufacturers over player injuries. Specifically, head injuries sustained by now-retired players that have caused all sorts of health problems. They contend that the league and manufacturers are in cahoots to hide the truth concerning these types of injuries. As a person who entertains the occasional conspiracy theory, I will not comment one way or the other the truth of those claims.

While sympathetic to the plight of injured former players, who should have their full pensions and health benefits paid by their former employer, my sympathy only goes so far. Did gladiators of ancient Rome sue the Empire over its failure to warn them about the dangers of the games and traumatic limb loss? No. For any participants of contact sports, there should be a certain understanding that injuries will occur. To think otherwise is to be naïve, if not stupid.

My grandfather and his brother played semi-pro football in the 1920s, back when they wore leather “helmets.” It was nothing more than a skull diaper, designed more for collecting your brain matter than for protection. Both had served during World War I as well, sustaining injuries from mustard gas attacks. Neither ever complained about it or gave a thought about suing someone for it, because these were their choices. (They also, allegedly, split a bottle of Wild Turkey – no chasers, no mixers – before my parents wedding, though you would not have known it.) I just guess these two stout Irishmen came from a different generation. A generation when men were men, who took a lick and kept on ticking. 

©2011 Steve Sagarra

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