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Archive for June 5, 2013

June 5, 2013 — A question of time and culture

In these hair-trigger days where a simple knock to the temple is assumed to be the trigger point to a lifetime of misery, brain-swelling, and death, I bring before you examples of people who actually turned out OK in their real lives after stepping off the athletic field for the last time.

These were two people who I had a chance to talk with last weekend. One is a male ice hockey player, one is a female lacrosse player. Both had wonderfully successful careers in their respective athletic lives, reaching the Division I national semifinals more than once.

Both have successful life paths, raising wonderful families and have accomplished many of their lifegoals.

And both have suffered concussions during their athletic careers.

I submit that these two people, represent the majority of people who have ever played sports on a recreational or an organized basis who may have gotten a bump to the head. The so-called “epidemic of concussions,” I believe, has not lead to a phalanx of adults who are light-sensitive or whose thinking is altered through multiple hits to the head.

Certainly, there are examples in many athletic endeavors such NFL football that are much more likely to lead to players having post-concussion syndrome in their everyday lives. But so much of that is because of poor instruction and poor care of the players, making participants play hurt.

Very soon, the powers-that-be in the game of women’s lacrosse may ruin the sport forever by mandating the use of soft headgear. What the voters should be looking at is this: film of a 1975 international match between the United States and England.

Note here that there are no goggles, the goalies are not wearing helmets, and the sticks are made of wood.

Of course, when it comes to certain aspects of the lacrosse kit, the Rubicon has already been crossed; today’s sticks are lighter and more accurate than their cranberry-wood sisters.

But the way I see it, especially in the girls’/women’s game nationwide, the doubling of the national footprint of the sport has led to poor youth instruction, poor coaching, and some poor application of the rules by interpreters and umpires.

That needs to be righted before a horrendous mistake is made.