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Weekend Links with Jon Marthaler: World Cup of Basketball and football-related brain trauma

Posted by: Michael Rand under Professional football Updated: August 25, 2012 - 9:32 AM


Each week, commenter Jon Marthaler bakes up a delicious batch of links for you. Other times, you can find him here. Jon?


In 2014, FIBA - the international basketball governing body - is changing the name of the world championships to the World Cup of Basketball. Rumor is, the NBA wants to turn the Olympics into an under-23 tournament - like soccer - and partner up with FIBA to create its own showcase (read: revenue-generating), quadrennial event.

I'm on board. When it comes to international competition, I'm always on board; I love the soccer World Cup and wish that every sport had a similar championship. Heck, I'm one of about four dozen people in the entire world that cares about the World Baseball Classic, and that number includes the rosters of every team in the tournament. I love it when sports - like soccer - end up too big for the Olympics; the more international championships we have, the more summers I have to look forward to.

I love international competitions because I love nights like last Wednesday. The USA men's soccer team beat Mexico 1-0, the team's first win in Mexico. Ever. 75 years, we've been sending teams to Mexico City, and not one time had the Americans won. In 24 matches, the USA had managed zero wins and one tie. That's 0-23-1, which is the kind of record you'd expect to have if you were playing your five-year-old son in chess.

Sports fans and the internet don't always mix well; no matter what team you follow, there's always someone that's a fan of a rival that's louder, ruder, and meaner. But one of the things I like about sports is that it offers a chance for me to be part of a bigger community, and international competition expands that to the entire country. I like international events because for once, we all get to be on the same team; we can all come together to cheer on Kevin Durant, or Landon Donovan. So bring on the tournaments, I say. The more tourneys, the better.

*On with the links:

*I've read a lot about the at the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, the group that's been much in the news for its groundbreaking studies of deceased athlete's brains, studies that show the horrible damage that those brains have sustained. But until I read this profile of football lover Dr. Ann McKee, the chief neurologist for the Center, I wasn't that scared. Now I'm slightly terrified that my childhood football days have done me long-term brain damage.

*Staying on the concussion topic, Deadspin made a couple of other points in the discussion. First, they point out that - "concussion symptoms" or no - there's not as much of a clear-cut line between concussion and no concussion as we'd like to believe. But secondly, they also point out - if NFL players (in this case, Troy Polamalu) don't care about concussions, then why should we?

*LSU soccer goalie Mo Isom tried out as a kicker for the football team. She didn't make it, but you should really read this Grantland profile of her, all the same.

*I really enjoyed Steve Rushin's story of his wife digging her gold medal out of the safe-deposit box.

*And finally: The NHL lockout starts soon, and the good folks at Down Goes Brown have you covered, with a list of what the NHL apparently learned from the NFL and NBA lockouts. (Short version: nothing.)


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