koi and swan, sepia

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Pigskin Perversity

Football is to America today what feeding the locals to the lions was to ancient Rome. I must confess that I have largely lost my taste for it.

Did you see the report last fall that revealed that autopsies performed on 76 of 79 deceased NFL players showed evidence of the brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy?
...Researchers there have now examined the brain tissue of 128 football players who, before their deaths, played the game professionally, semi-professionally, in college or in high school. Of that sample, 101 players, or just under 80 percent, tested positive for CTE.
Now comes news that even mild concussions have significant long term cognitive repercussions and the problems are exacerbated when football players start playing in their youth.
Researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine studied a group of 42 retired National Football League players between the ages of 40 and 69 years old. The players were matched by age and divided into two groups: those who were first exposed to tackle football before age 12 and those first exposed to the sport when they were that age or older. The researchers then ran the players through a battery of tests to measure how each of their brains functions when it comes to reasoning, concentration, problem solving, and memory. What they discovered should end the argument about whether kids should be playing tackle football.
According to results of the study published in the journal Neurology, retired NFL players who started playing tackle football before they were 12 years old performed about 20% worse on the tests than those who started playing when they were older. That outcome was more than enough for the researchers to suggest there is a link between participation in tackle football before age 12 and brain-related impairments later in life.

The human brain in kids as old as 12 years is still in an important stage of development. It is still not even halfway through the process of connecting its circuitry. So, as the researchers suggest, that’s squarely in a period of time when the repeated impacts to the head that are common to tackle football could decrease brain functions and increase the risk of problems down-the-line.
Seems a bit barbaric to me, if not cannibalistic. Young gladiators sacrificing critical thinking skills every sunday for your armchair entertainment. Real men can't count to five or tie their own shoes anymore and rah rah rah.

I love sports, caught the Aztecs basketball game last night, we won, had a great time down there. I played baseball and soccer in school, later competed in the martial arts. Just find it perverse to watch a bunch of steroid fed animals try to beat each other into stupidity or worse.

The birds are at it again in the valley. A bit early. Saw a red tailed hawk inspecting the breeding nest yesterday, the one perched high in the sycamore that they come back to year after year, but only use for one purpose.

This morning I saw an osprey high on a telephone pole. Didn't have my camera.  I will take it as an omen. Seahawks win.

Osprey, Santee Lakes


Kent Borsch said...

Weren't gladiators slaves, as opposed to freemen ?

Blue Heron said...

I actually read something about them recently that contended that they tended to be the poor and marginalized of Roman society. Like inner city kids turning to football as there way out.

Blue Heron said...

from able media:

In general, gladiators were condemned criminals, prisoners of war, or slaves bought for the purpose of gladiatorial combat by a lanista, or owner of gladiators. Professional gladiators were free men who volunteered to participate in the games. In The Satyricon, Petronius suggested that Roman crowds preferred combat by free men over that of slaves. For example, the character of Echion is excited about games in which free men, "not a slave in the batch," will fight. Though low on the social scale, free men often found popularity and patronage of wealthy Roman citizens by becoming gladiators. The emperor Augustus sought to preserve the pietas and virtus of the knight class and Roman senate by forbidding them to participate in gladiatorial combat. Later, Caligula and Nero would order both groups to participate in the games.

Romans citizens legally derogated as infamus sold themselves to lanistae and were known as auctorati. Their social status was neither that of volunteers nor condemned criminals, or slaves. Condemned criminals, the damnati ad mortem who committed a capital crime, entered the gladiatorial arena weaponless. Those criminals who did not commit a capital crime were trained in private gladiator schools, ludi. At these private and imperial schools, gladiators became specialist in combat techniques that disabled and captured their opponents rather than killed them quickly. Criminals trained in gladiator schools fought with the weapons and armor of their choice and could earn their freedom if they survived three to five years of combat. Though a gladiator was only required to fight two or three times a year, few survived the three to five years.

As a gladiator, a man gained immediate status even though the gladiatorial oath forced him to act as a slave to his master and "to endure branding, chains, flogging, or death by the sword" (Petronius Satyricon, 117.5). Gladiators were required to do what their lanista ordered and therefore were revered for their loyalty, courage and discipline.

Max Hall said...

CTE is a very serious issue that unfortunately, at this time, can only be confirmed by a post mortem autopsy. I see Junior Seau was voted into the NFLHall of Fame on his first ballot this week. My son and I surfed Oceanside with him numerous times. He always treated us with much aloha. I'm very happy for his family to see him receive this honor, especially after losing him to suicide. I suffer from cluster headaches and migraines as the result of a concussion that I received in a automobile accident. At age 55 ( hey that's Junior's number!), anytime that have I trouble remembering something that I used to be able to recall immediately, I find myself worrying if I have CTE. I'm quite sure that there are countless others that have CTE from concussions caused by all sorts of accidents and activities. Fortunately at this point, a little medical mj and nap allow me to manage my headaches without the use of strong pain medicines that Md's prescribe for this condition.