by Irvin Muchnick
Like many of us, Chris Nowinski, the sports concussion advocate, is more likeable when hes droll than when hes earnest and brand-building. Maybe more effective, too.
Earlier this week, Nowinski, aka @ChrisNowinski1, tweeted: Hey football, everything is safer than its ever been. War is also safer than its ever been .
Nowinski, the founder and executive director of the Sports Legacy Institute, was referring to all the new measures that are being directed toward reversing lower participation levels in youth football. The problem and this is me talking now, not Nowinski is twofold. One, the New Safety is found more in the breach than in the observance. Two, the New Safety is the Old Safety, and it doesnt work.
Go ahead and rejigger your helmets and embed them with sensors and tabulate hit counts. Blab on about headless blocking and tackling. Pay to put athletic trainers, neurologists, and Navy Seals medics in the stands on the sidelines hell, in the huddles. Youre not going to change the essence of tackle football.
Americas parents are waking up to that reality. Too slowly, and in fits and starts, but inevitably.
The too slowly, and in fits and starts part is what I call Concussion Inc.: our wacky, All-American transitional ecosystem of alternating wake-up calls and solutions. These are driven by funding, which in turn is driven by industry. Safer cars? Sure, bring em on; autos are a staple of transportation and modern life. Safer football? Well, that one is as discretionary as it is elusive. We should be finding better ways for the flow of capitals winners and losers.
All this is the subtext here and there, the actual text of my forthcoming book, CONCUSSION INC.: The End of Football As We Know It. (You can pre-order at http://amzn.to/1yQNPXY. Buying, too, is safer than ever!)
One of the biggest and most conflict-crazed players in Concussion Inc. is the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the subject of my 2012 ebook short UPMC: Concussion Scandal Ground Zero (also, at http://amzn.to/A0Hq2g,the safest buck-forty-nine youll ever fork out!).
It so happens that Dr. Joseph Maroon and his merry band of traumatic brain injury pranksters are also the subject of a feature in Sundays Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, UPMCs concussion efforts grow, http://www.post-gazette.com/business/healthcare-business/2014/12/07/UPMC-concussion-efforts-expand/stories/201410270144.
In the article by reporter Bill Toland, we learn that:
A couple of the things youll learn only here, thanks to the crack staff at ConcussionInc.net LLP: