While this toughness can definitely be an asset on the field it can also be a detriment to their longer-term health and well-being.
Athletes in Major League Baseball (MLB) on-the-other-hand come out of games or get placed on the DL for injuries that seem, well, somewhat minor for a professional athlete.
This is not a blanket statement of course as just the other night I saw a catcher get hit squarely on the jaw by a foul ball, get his bell rung and stay behind the plate. But giving in to pain or discomfort does seem to be more the rule than the exception.
To belabor the point, team trainers pop out of the dugout any time that a player hits the ground or takes an awkward step and, Wally Pipp be damned, seem to want to err on the side of taking a player out of the game rather than leaving him in.
Aficionados of the sport will try and tell you that the reason these injuries can take a player out of the line-up is because baseball is such a skill game that any injury can hinder the ability to compete successfully.
Possibly, but I suppose that part of the reason for my issue with the sport stems from commentators who invoke maximum concern over issues that to the normal 5-day and 40+ hour a week worker seem rather trivial.
For instance when a player of the age and income bracket of an A-Rod needs to sit out games to rest I scream at my T.V. that A-Rod should try spending 5 or 6 days on a roof laying down tar on 90+ degree days in order to remember to appreciate the position that he is in.
When a position player needs to sit out the second game of a double header to avoid fatigue it makes me think about how these overly pampered athletes travel first class, have clubhouse staff who take care of all of their needs, don't worry about travel or hotel arrangements and in reality don't really "work" many hours a day. And when they do put in 5 or 6 hours it's to play a kids game with a lot of standing around.
Aren't these guys supposed to be finely tuned physical machines?
And finally, what's up with the magical and mythical 100-pitch barrier at which point a starting pitcher needs to be removed? Or the 3-out limit for a closer? Don't get me started!
NFL athletes and brain injuries!
What brought me to this discussion today and comparison between sports is an article that I read in The Washington Times, "Many ex-Redskins among those suing NFL over effects of brain injuries".
These athletes were pushed, prodded and potentially even lied to in order for them to stay on the field. Others may have been concerned about losing their position and therefore played through pain or through symptoms of a concussion.
The opinion of what has gone on in football will vary from player to team, as the players suffer and the teams want to avoid any culpability for what has happened to so many of their athletes. This is an excerpt from the article but it is worth reading the entire thing:
“…One hundred ninety-two consecutive starts over 14 seasons at center for the Washington Redskins earned him a spot in the team’s Ring of Fame. He was knocked silly and knocked out and, if he could get his eyes open with help from the pungent capsules, he stayed on the field. Job security, even for a six-time Pro Bowler, meant playing. Now the 69-year-old with a gentle Georgia drawl wonders about football’s toll.
“You covered up your hurts. Is that smart or is that stupid…
…Lives once defined by seeming invulnerability on the field now are haunted by questions without answers. Some are bitter, viewing these lawsuits as an extension of long-standing conflicts over pensions, health care and use of their likenesses. Others feel betrayed. Will they succumb to depression or dementia or Alzheimer’s? Will they end up like Junior Seau or Ray Easterling, who killed themselves in the past three months…
Other complaints attempt to quantify the toll of concussions, from former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Gilbert Brown alleging he suffered 50 to 100 undiagnosed concussions during his 10-year career to Tommy Barnhardt, the Redskins‘ punter in 2000, claiming concussions left him with “insomnia, suicidal thoughts, vision issues, and ears ringing...
...Many of them cannot work, can’t hold a job,” said Thomas Girardi, whose firm, Girardi Keese, filed the first concussion-related lawsuit against the NFL in July 2011. “This isn’t something that’s going to go away…
…Mike Bass hurts. His shoulders. His ankles. His knees. His neck that eventually forced him to retire after intercepting 30 passes in seven seasons with the Redskins and, in Super Bowl VII, returning Miami Dolphins kicker Garo Yepremian’s fumble for a touchdown. Getting out of bed each morning isn’t easy…
And the league’s position on head injuries sustained by players?
A meager pension. No compensation for highlight films of his play on Yepremian. Head injuries take his frustration further. His voice rises as he mentions Dr. Ira Casson, the neurologist dubbed “Dr. No” who worked for the NFL. Casson told HBO’s Real Sports there wasn’t a link between head trauma and long-term brain problems in a 2007 interview.
“Is there any evidence, as far as you’re concerned, that links multiple head injuries among pro football players with depression?” Bernard Goldberg, the interviewer, asked.
“No,” Casson said.
“Early onset of Alzheimer’s?”
“Is there any evidence as of today that links multiple head injuries with any long-term problem like that?”
“In NFL players? No.”
Both sides can't be right! Read the full article here.
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