by Irvin Muchnick
What the sports-reform movement still lacks, but may soon acquire, is its equivalent of MADD – Mothers Against Drunk Driving. We can call it PUNT – Parents Under Neurological Trauma.
Though you’d never know it from the mainstream coverage of this season’s crop of sentimental tales of brain-damaged teenagers who were wheeled out weeks later to drink in the roar of the crowd, public high school football is going down.
As this story was being filed, catastrophic injury monitor Matt Chaney was still finalizing the new edition of his list, but it’s clear that across the country in 2011 there are already more than 30 cases of brain and spine injuries to young players.
What fans and others have yet to process is the fact that almost every one of these is a potential seven-figure lawsuit against a school system – and that the emergence of “concussion awareness,” along with the marketing of phony band-aids like National Football League and World Wrestling Entertainment doctor Joseph Maroon’s “ImPACT concussion management,” make such litigation more, not less, viable. In case after case, we’re learning that understaffed, bloodsport-pandering athletic departments are using ImPACT to clear kids for return to play; they then experience not only ongoing cumulative brain damage, but also specific vulnerability to “second concussion syndrome.”
CONTINUED TODAY AT BEYOND CHRON, THE SAN FRANCISCO ONLINE NEWSPAPER: