Welcome back, everyone. This week we go into the power void at the head of the N.C.A.A. and the long-term risks of concussions suffered while playing sports.
With the death of N.C.A.A. president, Myles Brand, comes the inevitable power void and the potential bidders to claim the power. At the forefront of the issue is the concern of the over-commercialization of collegiate sports, specifically in college football where the N.C.A.A. does not have control over the bowl games. The new president will have a heavy burden trying to pull back on the reins of collegiate commercialization.
The new president will also have an effect on what happens to many sports teams at schools throughout the country and throughout each division. The new president may pick up the Title IX initiative and cut down on "minor" sports. This has a huge effect on a majority of collegiate athletes who play in these minor sports. Current high school players also need to be concerned and aware that the school they commit to may lose its program.
It seems like more and more football players are leaving games for the emergency room and a concussion diagnosis. It begs the question of whether the N.C.A.A. is doing everything it can to resolve this dangerous issue. I know this isn't a new question, but for players coming up and playing through the sport it is an important one. There are several great articles on this blog that have discussed the concussion concern and how it's leading to higher percentages of Alzheimer's disease, dementia, and other disorders (AWS 8/22/08 and AWS 1/31/09).
Take care of yourself and your life. Maybe down the road, more protective helmets may become available and this won't need to be a thought in your mind when you're making a tackle, but for now it should be right in the front of your mind. Don't lead with your helmet and take precautions to keep yourself in the game. Remember, coaches can't scout and recruit you from the hospital; you need to be on the field to have an impact. A form tackle leading with the shoulder is just as effective as a spearing tackle with the helmet.
As always this blog is for you, so any comments or questions send them my way at firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck everyone and enjoy this week's games.