LMC Trainer “Football no Problem for Kids”

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy is defined by www.bu.edu as a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes (and others) with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including symptomatic concussions as well as asymptomatic sub-concussive hits to the head.

This disease is the NFL’s worst nightmare right now, as it poses a threat to the game, and has already made several notable players in the league retire early for the safety of their health. Chris Borland and Patrick Willis were among the players a year ago to retire early citing health purposes. For Willis, he made his money, well, enough at least to go out on his own terms.

He did pass up a boatload of money to quit, but the guy has a story. If you have ever seen the movie The Blind Side, it is said that Willis had a very similar story to that of Michael Oher’s.

Borland, however, was perhaps the biggest surprise when he quit because he had just completed his first year of football a year ago, and he was amongst the best linebackers in the league already. This caused quite the stir, and the movie Concussion just kept stirring the pot. Brian Powelson, the trainer at Los Medanos College, had an interesting perspective on whether or not kids should be able to play contact football at a young age.

“I have no problem with letting kids play football at any age” Powelson said. “I have a problem with the poor coaching and teaching that is being done at the lower levels. The sport needs to do a better job of teaching and emphasizing the fundamentals of tackling and blocking, as opposed to the big hits that have been highlighted on video.”

The real problem is just that we do not yet know enough to make any conclusions or take any sort of action in the NFL. Powelson acknowledged that this was the case.

“How much football do you have to play to be at risk of acquiring CTE?” Powelson asked. “The link between football and CTE has been established, but we do not know to what extent.”

It was just the other month in March that the first NFL official announced that playing in the NFL and attaining hits to the head (repeated head trauma) provides a direct link to CTE.

According to ESPN.com, “The admission came during a roundtable discussion on concussions convened by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Energy and Commerce. Jeff Miller, the NFL’s senior vice president for health and safety, was asked by Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., if the link between football and neurodegenerative diseases such as CTE has been established.”

“The answer to that question is certainly yes,” Miller said. This admission, although it came way too late from the NFL, is the first step into a better future and a more safe future for NFL players. If you asked me though, I would just tell the NFL to make players wear leather helmets, as they would not be leading with their heads anymore.