The Fan’s Colin Dunlap on Concussions: Lack of Compassion or the Stark Truth?

Colin Dunlap, 93.7 The Fan Pittsburgh, sports concussions

Colin Dunlap. Photo: CBS Radio.


Let us all use some logic here. When immense men, traveling at brisk speeds, crash into each other — whether or not wearing the most state-of-the-art equipment — they run a decent risk of being injured.

And, when it happens repeatedly, over an extended period of time, are we to be surprised there’s a long-lasting, residual impact?

It seems a bunch of former National Football League players want us to believe that. They want us to be, in a way, surprised it can happen. Or, they want us to feel bad for their own naivety that they couldn’t see it could happen. Or, a combination of the two. At the very least, they want money.

Instead, I’m comfortable just circling back to this: Logic.

Logic tells us — or me at least — that your noggin will realize some lasting influence from such collisions. You see, there are more than 4,500 former players who accused the NFL of covering up long-term health risks caused by head injuries in a lawsuit filed in Philadelphia federal court in 2013.

Tony Dorsett, Jim McMahon, and Eric Dickerson are a few of the higher profile names that dot the list of guys who, from this vantage at least, are looking for a money grab even after their vocation seemingly provided them riches the common man couldn’t realize.

There is positively zero doubt that we’ve come eons as it relates to the prevention and care of concussions in the past few decades. However, even spanning back to a generation or two, shouldn’t logic have been applied by the participant when something was happening as opposed to this postscript written in the form of a lawsuit? I think so.

Let me outline something: Whether the year is 2014 or 1965, when you are playing football and you smash your head into another human repeatedly and it makes you feel worse, can’t you recognize what’s happening?

Isn’t it compulsory of yourself to say, “wait a minute, something is wrong.” But it didn’t seem to go down that way. Instead, combatants in the NFL toughed it out to a large degree, continued to get their bells rung for the sake of collecting a paycheck and now want to cry foul.

No one, however, seemed to be crying foul all that much when they were playing a game and getting paid to do so.

In addition, anyone who has ever dealt with a trainer has, undeniably, heard the axiom “you know your body better than anyone else.” What happened to some self-regulation for the players who were going through symptoms as they were still playing?

Certainly looking at it this way might come off as a lack of compassion for those who went through such head injuries — and now suffer long-term impacts — but to me it feels like the stark truth. A stark truth that many players trying to collect now ignored what was going on way back when. — Colin Dunlap

Hear more from Colin Dunlap on 93.7 The Fan’s Morning Show with Jim Colony and Josh Miller.
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