Brain Trauma

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of brain trauma? or even a head or neck injury? Some may say car crash, military maybe, we mostly link brain injuries with a major accident that has happened in our lives. When did football, something we have been doing for decades, find its way into this conversation? I have a strong opinion on the topic but I encourage you to give me yours because I don’t know if there is a one answer to my next question. Is football really as dangerous as the media has said it is?

So have major injuries really skyrocketed or is it all in our heads? If you follow the NFL then you know that they went to court and settled with a number of players from the 80’s and 90’s for millions of dollars(I think ballpark 6700 million). To me I cannot believe the players won this court case.Basically, a review of this case is the NFL agreed to pay all medical bills, research, and pain and suffering to over 18,000 players. I understand some of these retired players suffer from dementia, depression, and Alzheimer’s and they are claiming it’s completely the NFL’s fault. They had accused the NFL of hiding the dangers of concussions and teams rushing players back from these injuries because they were making a killer profit from all the crazy hits and “highlight reel” plays. The NFL has denied these accusations from the start saying that safety is their number one concern and always has been. Some of the bigger name athletes involved in this case include Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett, Jim McMahon, and the family of Junior Seau who recently committed suicide. The settlement agreement made it so the max a player could get was 5 million and that was if they had Alzheimer’s disease, 4 million for players who were diagnosed with a brain conditioned called chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Also any player diagnosed with dementia would be awarded 3 million. One condition the NFL had under these agreements was that they would not have to disclose internal files about what they knew, and when about concussion-linked brain problems.

So recently the NFL has made rule changes about kick offs, and where you can hit a player, and protocols to make the players and coaches more aware. Which is great and I am glad they have but let’s be honest, are you saying the players had no idea what they were doing to their bodies? You had no idea that these absolutely massive hits that bring you to the ground and cause you to see stars or go limp were actually doing long term damage? When you as a player in the NFL decided to sign a contract, which is worth MILLIONS of dollars I think you are completely aware of all the risks involved. I understand everyone wants to play and the doctors can give you their expert opinion but who knows your body better than yourself? Nobody. So when you’re sitting there hurting and can’t think straight maybe you should listen to the doctor and not play. Nobody is putting a gun to these players head saying you must absolutely play or you’re dead. Each and every player has a choice and our surrounded by the best personal trainers and doctors we have to offer in this country. I guess my point I am trying to make is that once you sign the contract, that is showing you understand the risk and you need to tell the team when you’re ready to go and when you’re not ready. While your a player I do believe you should have full medical coverage,but to say the NFL is at fault for about one third of the 18,000 retired players medical problems I think is silly. Unless the NFL made them play, or hid X-rays or medical information from these players I think it’s not their fault.

What do you think the rule should be? Do you think what I am saying is right? Or completely off and idiotic? We all love the sport and are glued to the television every year, and I absolutely hate seeing players go down with injuries, but at the same time they do know the risks and opted to play. It’s a touchy subject, and I am interested in learning more! That’s all for now, I look forward to hearing from you!

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NFL Draft: Gems, Busts, and Risks

The NFL draft is like the lottery, you lose a bunch but you win enough to keep coming back. There are gems like Tom Brady and Russell Wilson that you find past the first day of the draft, but more times than not you end up drafting someone like Matt Leinart or JaMarcus Russell.

Every year since 1936 there has been an NFL draft, back then it was mostly here say and print media and by the 1940’s teams were hiring full time scouts to travel the country looking for athletes. It wasn’t until 1980 when ESPN first broadcasted the draft ,and then in 2010 the NFL switched to a 3 day format so day 1 was the first round, day 2 was 2-4 rounds and finally day 3 was 5-7 rounds.

Now on to the good stuff, why is the draft so important? So many NFL insiders say that the best teams use the draft to build a championship team rather than free agency. Lets start with a comparison of two quarterbacks drafted in 2010, Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck. Both got max contracts of 4 years and about 22 million each. Andrew Luck has been consistent getting his team to the playoffs and winning, on the other hand RG3 was able to make playoffs in the first year but after that injuries plagued him and now we aren’t even sure he will be a starter in this upcoming year. A lot of people thought these two were identical and both would be all stars. Nope, it shows why scouting is so important and even when you think a player is going to be your best player he can turn out a BUST! Okay so back when Drew Brees became a free agent when the Chargers didnt resign him it made sense to throw him a max deal because before 2010 it was smart to go through free agency because you were given these rookies millions and millions before they even proved they belonged in the league so every year you were taking a MASSIVE risk. In 2010 the NFL changed the rules so now the max a first round rookie can get is 4 years and about 22 million dollars. That changed everything because now if you were to pick up Jay Cutlers contract you could be in the hole 16 million a year if it doesn’t work out but if a rookie doesn’t then your only in the hole 5 million. It would be cheaper for a team to miss on a quarterback 3 straight years in the draft instead of picking up a quarterback in the league already. To me the logic makes sense and if my team needed a QB I would never be mad at taking a gamble through the draft. You see a lot of players for example Peyton Manning this year and Tom Brady last year, absolutely first ballot hall of famers taking pay cuts to help their team. Well guess what, they aren’t really losing money. So by reconstructing their contracts they get less money at first but after year 3 all that money is guaranteed and they get it on the back side of their contract. Its smart, honestly it really is, they get their money and the team gets better free agents.

The most important thing a team can do is STAY YOUNG!! I can’t stress that enough, and the best way is to draft 20,21, and 22 year olds in the draft instead of 27,28, 29 year olds on the market. For example the Seahawks who have been to two Super Bowls in a row now have starters on both sides of the ball drafted on the backside rounds. They also have back ups who would start on other teams because they keep their young players. It is always better to get rid of someone maybe a year or two early then keep them a year or two too long taking money and talent away from your team. Well this is it, I hope you learned something from this and can it be football season yet?? Thank you for reading!

The madness of Sports in March

So here it is, my first blog! So how about March so Far? We are almost half way through the month and already so much in the sports world has happened! Whether it has to deal with the NFL, or college basketball,  NBA, or spring training for baseball. 

               I’m going to touch base on a few major points amongst these topics but before that I want to give a brief sports history of myself so you can better know me! So since I was knee high I had my foot in the door in multiple sports, with my favorite being football. I started playing when I was ten years old, my favorite childhood memory I will never forget is when I was ten years old my father had bought me a field goal post about ten feet high made of plastic and I had it set up in my yard for about three years straight. I would go outside sunshine, rain, or snow and would play by myself throwing the ball in the air and catching the ball and running to score touchdowns for hours. Sometimes I would make the games exciting by “dropping” the ball and having some crazy fourth quarter comebacks. I would even be broadcasting the game out loud, just having so much fun. Thats where my love for sports started, and I went on to play three sports in high school and then joining the military, now I am at college for my first semester. My favorite sports teams are the San Diego Chargers, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Dodgers, North Carolina Tarheels, and the New York Rangers. I know what your thinking, why am I a southern California fan when I live in Western New York? Well thats because of the family I grew up in, my father has been a fan of each of these teams since the 70’s and he picked them based mainly off of their jerseys. So i followed in his shoes and became a fan as well, but now to the sports section of this blog.

               So how about NFL Free Agency?? It started on Tuesday and there has not been a shortage of headlines that’s for sure! I have an opinion on signing players through free agency and I want you opinion. If it comes to a major name especially at the Quarterback then I understand dropping 100 million in a contract. However  I am a strong believer that good teams build through keeping their star players more than one contract and building through the draft NOT free agency. You often spend way more money through FA and end up over paying because of a bidding war and more times than not you get a dud. If you going to sign someone then I think the smart moves come in that second wave or the tier 2 players. You get them at a great price tag and they usually give more effort because less money is guaranteed and there are more playing incentives. Also there are those players who need a fresh start or are trying to recreate themselves and they tend to play harder as well and are less likely to be cancerous to the locker room. So with that being said what in the world are the Eagles doing? I hope Chip  Kelly really has this masterful plan because right now he just looks crazy, getting rid of your teams best qb, rb, and wr? all in one week, that’s absolutely unheard of. If this doesn’t work out then he just bought himself a ticket straight back to Eugene and the world of college football. I also wonder what is going on up in Buffalo. I totally get bringing in Lesean McCoy even with losing your best defensive player it still is good in my book. My question is Matt Cassel, do you think he is the future of this playoff hungry football team? If he becomes the starter then I think he becomes the leagues worst starter, I have watched more than a dozen games the past two years where Cassel was the starter and to be nice, he was god awful. So I hope he is just there for competition and they have a plan to bring in someone through the draft.

              My last topic I want to hit on briefly is Championship week in college basketball. What a fun time, some teams have no chance of making the dance without winning their respective  conference championship but every year there is a couple who win and “steal” a spot from an at-large bid. I love this time of the year! Does anyone else remember the Syracuse vs UCONN six overtime game back like 6 years ago I think? That might be the greatest college game EVER! I just love and buy into the whole cinderella story, or the underdog and especially if your team needs to win 5 games in 5 nights to make it into the tournament? Oh yeah that happens a lot too! I wonder though if anyone is going to take out Kentucky, it’s amazing what they have done this year by going undefeated so far and it looks like they are on a crash course for the title game next month. 

No matter what your favorite sport is, the month of March is going to be a lot of fun! The best part about sports is the element of surprise, the fact that you never know what is going to happen makes it just that much better.I am pretty excited to start this blog and hopefully get a few people on here who are mutually excited and want to talk the game of sports with me. A lot of the information I am going to post has a slight bias and is opinion based, but you cant be a freelance writer and not have some sort of bias! Well for those of you who read my blog thank you!! More stuff to come, I will mainly post once or twice per week with the exception of a major event that I just cant wait to talk about. Until next time!

-Jeremy