The Humanity of Sports

The world of sports is interesting. It’s different than the world of classical music and the world of food. But it’s also the same in a way. The world of sports is interesting.

Sports can be inhumane. When I heard earlier this week that Wes Welker was returning to the NFL with the St. Louis Rams, my heart skipped a beat. Welker has suffered numerous concussions from his playing career. So far, we don’t even know that much about the human brain; it’s an enigma that scientists have yet to figure out completely. But, from the little we do know, older athletes who suffered from concussions earlier in their careers currently have symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease. Bennet Omalu’s extensive work reveals that concussions to the brain led to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in NFL players. CTE can only be discovered upon autopsy. Andre Waters, who played for the Philadelphia Eagles, committed suicide when he was 44, and it was later discovered that he had CTE. Dave Duerson, who was a Pro-Bowler and member of two championship teams, committed suicide in order for his brain to be tested for CTE when he was 50. And with the coming release of Concussion, a movie starring Will Smith, on Christmas Day, there will be a heightened awareness surrounding the brain damage of football players. I’m hoping that the NFL can accept this serious issue and take measures to promote the wellbeing of their employees. The NFL needs to make players aware of the risks involved in long term repeated concussions, and they need to do a better job of protecting the players. There were six high school deaths this year from football related injuries. But maybe there’s no way for football to change. The fans love the biggest hits. The biggest hits get more views. The biggest hits get more advertisements and profits. In that case, maybe it’s the responsibility of football fans to finally question their dedication to teams and a league that is paying players to destroy their brains. The problem lies in that many people love football, and they choose to ignore the facts. But maybe, just maybe, if more people are made aware of the brain damaging consequences of football, this might be the end of football.

But sports can also be humane. Nothing connects people around the world more than sports, with numerous sports falling under the category of multi-billion dollar international industries. We see that whenever something devastating happens upon the world, players and fans can put down their gear and just be human. Earlier yesterday, when there were terror attacks all across Paris, France, the world of athletes came together under one umbrella. Players and fans alike prayed, paid respects, and gave moments of silence. Players, leagues, owners, and fans are human, and we saw them come together to give hope to those who suffered.

Be human. Be humane.

Je Suis Paris


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