Friday, October 25, 2013

LEAGUE OF DENIAL: The NFL and Concussions

Barbaric (adjective): Savagely cruel, exceedingly brutal, as in "He carried out barbaric acts in the name of war." Who was it that said football was war minus the weapons? A former football player. And now there's the book LEAGUE OF DENIAL: The NFL, Concussions, and the Battle for Truth, written by (of all people) two ESPN reporters, Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru (who won a Pulitzer Prize for his investigation into the U.S. military's reliance on private security contractors.) Private interviews and previously undisclosed documents go into this exposé of NFL politics and its war on science. Like the tobacco industry, the NFL makes so much money and has such huge numbers on its side that is doesn't fear lying to fans and players alike, while bribing editors to cover up the facts about what the game does to the human brain---not just in individual incidents where players are stretchered off the field---but in regular and consistent game to game cumulative trauma. (This also goes for young kids playing tackle football.) There is no violence without victims, and contact sports like football are violent--especially on the brain, which is jostled by every tackle regardless of helmet protection. The NFL has been in denial about it for decades. The money is just too good. Like boxing and cage fighting, the fans demand it. So will anything change? Narrated by David H. Lawrence, this audiobook is a well told earful of stats and case studies, including players who thought they'd become announcers in retirement only to face life in a wheelchair or on a slab at the morgue, some the result of suicide after losing memory and/or motor control. Powerful and shocking, the Fainarus show, once again, that no matter how big and popular you are, you can still be dead wrong about the costs. (Random House Audio)

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