Football, TBI and the “gladiator syndrome” in the U.S.
After suffering a terrible fall from my bike five years ago, I experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI). From that perspective, I find the present attention on injured NFL players interesting.
First, as a culture, we do our best to convince young men that playing football is the best way to become an American hero.
Being out on that field with all of that adulation and testosterone must be quite exhilarating.
And how many kids in their 20s would sit and consider the long-term consequences of following their NFL dream, when every one around them is telling them to go for it?
We all believe it can never happen to us, especially in our teens and twenties. But twenty years later, those decisions made in haste can often come back to haunt us.
Please note the NFL is taking no responsibility for hyping up these kids and our entire nation to watch our very own form of ‘gladiators’ go at it every weekend in the fall. We all love a good competition, but at what expense?
I know for certain my brain will never be the same. My brain injury made my cognition that much slower and difficult, and greatly raised my chances of further brain challenges as I age. I would not wish this fate on anyone, especially a young person with so much unrealized potential.