I Always Called it Dumb-Ball

Football lovers beware, this post will offend you.

I have never liked football, in fact I have always called it dumb-ball. Why? Because I could not, and do not, understand the appeal of watching big dudes, many of them grossly out of shape, run into each other with their heads. I never saw this as sport, and recognize that in a three hour game, each player actually moves for about 6 minutes. How athletic (I mean pathetic).

Okay, okay, simmer down. I can see that some of them are sweating under those helmets, and to be honest I don’t even understand the game. I should not knock something I have not tried, take no interest in, and don’t get, but alas I will continue.I think the recent NFL player award of $765 million for those with brain injury resulting from football proves my point. According to one article, “under the settlement, individual awards would be capped at $5 million for men with Alzheimer’s disease; $4 million for those diagnosed after their deaths with a brain condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy; and $3 million for players with dementia”. They indicate that there are 18,000 players affected (

Other articles talk about this as a “drop in the bucket” and an award very unlikely to have any impact on the NFL at all. I know that the economy lives on supply and demand, and it somewhat saddens me that there remains a “demand” for this type of sport via spectators that pay big bucks and derive pleasure from watching this idiocy.

I love this article from Grantland: What Would the End of Football Look Like? ( In this, they speak of pending football lawsuits and that the end result is that “more and more modern parents will keep their kids out of playing football, and there tends to be a “contagion effect” with such decisions; once some parents have second thoughts, many others follow suit.

I can tell you that I work with people with brain injury, Alzheimer’s Disease, concussions and post-concussion syndrome. These are not easy injuries to live with, or to treat. Dizziness, visual disturbance, excessive fatigue, cognitive difficultly, physical and emotional challenges…not fun. Why as a parent would I sign my kids up for that, or the likelihood of that, when there are other sports like tennis, volleyball, swimming, baseball and golf that are more classy, often more athletic, and clearly more safe?

What is interesting is that a few years back I was at a conference on Spinal Cord Injury. At my table, there was a researcher from the US. He was talking about impact data being collected from sensors inside football helmets. He said they were astonished at the high velocity of impacts being measured, and said the numbers were so severe they “could not even release the data as the outcome would result in public outcry and a drastic change to the sport”. Well, we wouldn’t want an outcry, would we?

The bottom line is that society’s values are changing. Parents are going to be less and less interested in exposing their children to sports that are more likely to cause injury, and to have long-term disabling effects. Sorry dumb-ball, I think your days are numbered. Golf anyone?