by Irvin Muchnick
Before there was Stephen Curry the brilliant Golden State Warrior who added to his legend in an historic National Basketball Association playoff performance in New Orleans last night there was John Gerdy. It was Gerdy whose career scoring record Curry broke at Davidson College in North Carolina.
The son of a high school football coach, Gerdy took an unorthodox path from his All-American basketball career to his current role as an advocate of music programs in schools. I highly recommend his newest ebook, Ball or Bands: Football vs. Music as an Educational and Community Investment.
Specifically: Gerdy became a legislative assistant for the National Collegiate Athletic Association and then associate commissioner of the Southeastern Conference. But when he and his wife had kids, he gravitated to his alter ego, blues musician Willie Marble, and has been an artist in residence at the New School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and is founder-executive director of the nonprofit Music For Everyone.
In Ball or Bands, Gerdy writes that while most of the public debate of footballs traumatic brain injury crisis centers on the National Football League, the significance of the issue as it applies to our nations educational system, particularly our high schools and junior high schools, is far more consequential. [We have] to give serious consideration to the question of whether the potential human costs to childrens and young adults health have become too great for an educational institution to assume.
In a new online essay headlined You simply cant put lipstick on a pigskin, http://m.lancasteronline.com/opinion/columnists/you-simply-can-t-put-lipstick-on-a-pigskin/article_c66c9c08-e45d-11e4-8a56-636b9859c933.html?mode=jqm, Gerdy argues against sponsoring and, indeed, celebrating an activity that scrambles young peoples brains.
Gerdy doesnt have a media platform equal to Stephen Currys, but he has impeccable sportsworld credibility, and hes using it in the right ways. Those of you interested in following his work should go to http://johngerdy.com.
(Disclosure: John and I have corresponded, and he wrote a generous review of my own newest book, CONCUSSION INC.: The End of Football As We Know It.)