Rand: Concussion issue hits close to home

  • Updated: September 3, 2013 - 7:13 AM
hide

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, right, and coach Mark Innaimo watched players run a Heads Up Football drill. Heads Up is a comprehensive youth football membership program developed to advance youth player safety.

Photo: Jessica Hill • AP Images for National Football League,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

For $765 million, the NFL last week settled — pending approval — a concussion lawsuit with former players.

What remains decidedly unsettled, however, are the discussions in kitchens across America — including an ongoing one I was privy to this weekend.

 

My 13-year-old brother has been granted the opportunity to play organized tackle football for the first time. This came after much back-and-forth and hand-wringing, much of it having to do with what is now known about concussions and football.

He is already my size and will get much bigger over the next several years. Among his eighth-grade peers, he is one of the largest on the field and has secured a spot on the “A” team despite not playing in seventh grade. On offense, he will be a left tackle; defensive positions will be assigned Wednesday, with the first game to follow.

And away they go.

A portion of the weekend was spent chatting about the finer points of football — even though, as certain friends are quick to point out, I never played the game. We talked about rules. We talked about strategy. We talked about how he is playing the same position as Michael Oher of Baltimore Ravens and “The Blind Side” fame.

Some of this was conducted in the midst of cooperative games of Madden 25 (I always got to be the quarterback because being much older still has its advantages). Video game football is a great piece of connective tissue from generation to generation, as strange as that might sound.

Some of the discussion, though, was conducted offhand and symbolically at the kitchen table. My brother says participation in football at his school is lower than it has been previously. At the high school level, the National Federation of State High School Associations reported that 11-man football participation declined in 2012-13 for the fourth consecutive year.

Concussions and other dangers cannot explain all of this, but they can explain some. The more we know about dangers, the more we rightfully worry. The gap between what was known and what was told provided the heart of the NFL players’ lawsuit against the league, even if the league didn’t have to admit culpability as part of the settlement.

Back at the kitchen table, Dad didn’t sound completely sold. You’re playing this year, he said, but this isn’t the year he’s worried about. Next year is another story.

“I’m playing next year,” my brother said.

“We’ll see,” Dad said.

MICHAEL RAND

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Do you agree with the NFL decision to deny Adrian Peterson's appeal?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Brooklyn 109 FINAL
Boston 107
Cleveland 98 FINAL
Orlando 89
Indiana 109 FINAL
Detroit 119
Milwaukee 107 FINAL
Atlanta 77
Houston 117 FINAL
Memphis 111
San Antonio 90 FINAL
New Orleans 97
Charlotte 75 FINAL
Oklahoma City 98
LA Lakers 98 FINAL
Dallas 102
Minnesota 102 FINAL
Denver 106
Philadelphia 93 FINAL
Portland 114
Phoenix 115 FINAL
Sacramento 106
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
(15) Arizona State 1:10 PM
Duke
Miami-Florida 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters
Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon
 
Close