Faith, Fear and Football

Source: | Re-Post Duerson Fund 3/15/2017 – 


What’s so fascinating about a deer that freezes in headlights is that its greatest strength — its excellent vision — is actually what leads to its sudden death. Moments before a deer ends up as roadkill it experiences something called “flash blindness,” which lasts just long enough to keep it from seeking survival.

So my question is, what’s making NFL players freeze in their tracks?

Suicidal thoughts, memory loss, depression, confusion, aggression, anxiety and progressive dementia.

Would you go to work every day if those were the possible side effects of doing your job?

I did.

Well, me, and the rest of the elite group of athletes that comprise the National Football League. The list above includes just a few of the possible side effects of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a disease triggered in part by repeated blunt trauma to the head. The thing is, delivering blunt force is the name of the game in the NFL. That’s what gets you paid.

Players aren’t stupid. We know all the warning signs. Many even know people who exhibit some of them.

I first met Adrian Robinson in August 2013. I had joined the Philadelphia Eagles four months earlier via a trade from the Cleveland Browns. Adrian came to Philly in late August, through a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Anyone familiar with the NFL knows just how stressful it is to join a team that late in training camp. The week he joined the Eagles happened to coincide with the final preseason game — the last job interview you get before you find out whether you’ve been hired or cut.

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