‘And the NFL Band Played On’ … today at Beyond Chron

More From Matt Chaney: ‘Research of NFL Brain Trauma Sputters Along’
June 23, 2011
Former San Francisco 49er George Visger Comments on Today’s Article at Beyond Chron
June 24, 2011

And the NFL Band Played On: Concussion Crisis Destined to Become Sports World Counterpart of AIDS Saga

by Irvin Muchnick

The absolute power of the National Football League has corrupted our sports culture absolutely. In his recent intemperate email to me, The New York Times’ concussion reporter, Alan Schwarz, complained that I have failed to credit him with uncovering a “conspiracy” in the marketing of flawed helmets to youth football players. But, as I see the larger arc of the story, there was no conspiracy. Rather, I see how Schwarz’s choice of a safely domestic investigative target exposes the diminished ambition behind institutional journalism’s insincerely overheated rhetoric.

Since at the very latest 1994, the NFL has been served ample forensic notice that the sport it markets was growing out of human and medical control. These are not ACL’s and torn shoulder capsules we’re talking about, people; they are the brains of frighteningly large numbers of American males who have participated, in organized fashion and from very early ages, in an activity that is a staple of adult approval and social status.

And what did the league, its fawning media, its co-profiting sponsors, and its frat-pack fans do about it? As little as they could get away with.



1 Comment

  1. Irvin
    I agree with you, but think Ellenbogen is trying to do the right thing. I played DT for the 49ers in 80 & 81 when I developed hydrocephalus from numerous concussions, and underwent emergency VP Shunt brain surgery at age 22. My shunt failed (in Mexico fishing) just 4 months after we won Super Bowl XVI and my brother brought me home in a coma. I under went 2 more brain surgeries 10 hours apart and was given last rites. I was also given the hospital bills, and had creditors on me for nearly 5 years till I successfully sued the 49ers for WORKERS COMP! I am now on brain surgery # 9, multiple gran mal seizures and currently taking my 6th different seizure med since starting on them over 25 years ago. The side effects have been catastrophic on my everyday life.

    Ellenbogen called me ~ 1 1/2 years ago when I called him out on Dave Pear’s blog immediately after he was hired. He and I correspond regularly now. He asked I submit suggested rule changes which he would present to the NFL Rules Committee. Many of my suggestions have been implemented today (much to the chagrin of players). Only difference I had was I wanted all fines for head to head hits levied at the owners not the players.

    I was one of 4 ex players and 5 NFL Hall of Fame players asked to speak at a press conference in Washington DC last Monday, prior to the Carl Eller vs NFL lawsuit.

    We need more folks like you not afraid to air the NFLs dirty laundry.

    George Visger
    SF 49ers 80 & 81
    Survivor of 9 NFL Caused Emergency VP Shunt Brain Surgeries
    Benefactor of ZERO NFL Benefits

Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick