The writings of my friend Matt Chaney inspired my new book, CONCUSSION INC.: The End of Football As We Know It. In a new article at his own site, Chaney interviews me as part of his latest exhaustive study of football harm – in this case, a comprehensive historical look at deaths of active National Football League players.
See “NFL Deaths Reflect Inept Care and Record-Keeping,” http://fourwallspublishing.com/BlogMChaney/?p=578.
Below is the Chaney introduction to our Q & A at the end of the article. I’ll seek Matt’s permission to reproduce here the full text of our interview.
Football’s on-field tragedies of Howard Glenn, in 1960 at Houston, and Chuck Hughes, 1971 at Detroit, framed the period’s dangerously inferior medical planning and response for players of all ages.
During the Vietnam War era, America’s sparse emergency-care system led to more football deaths than any other factor, according to my review of severe casualties appearing in news. I’ve collected thousands of fatality and survivor cases, including about 350 player deaths from the 1960s and about 275 from the 1970s.
The subsequent reduction of football fatalities isn’t measurable in close terms, much less absolute numbers, say independent experts. Undoubtedly, however, the trend is due primarily to society’s widespread establishment of EMT crews, modular ambulances, life flights, emergency rooms and trauma surgery.
Within the game, the NFL has improved its own medical management—but not to the point of effecting “safer football” like officials claim today.
“Anyone with two eyes on a Sunday afternoon [in season] can see that’s not so,” said Irv Muchnick, the investigative journalist and independent blogger with cunning for exposing dark underbellies of sport-entertainment conglomerates.
Muchnick thoroughly dissects football ugliness, amid contemporary crisis for the game over brain injuries. He focuses on ill-resourced outback levels below the NFL, particularly the public schools and municipal “youth” leagues with millions of juveniles colliding in helmets and pads. Many American kids play tackle football on public property before they enter first grade, while they cannot legally drive a car until age 16 nor buy cigarettes until an adult.
Change looms, as Irv Muchnick chronicles in his new book,Concussion Inc.: The End of Football As We Know It, published by ECW Press of Canada. In an email Q&A for ChaneysBlog, Muchnick addresses football problems and more, notably his current co-investigation, with independent journalist Tim Joyce, of sexual assault in U.S. Swimming.