Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Two Perspectives: Part One

Interesting articles in the recent press:

First, we have an essay by Carl Ehrlich, former Harvard football captain, on the suicide of his friend and opponent, Owen Thomas, from Penn.

Carl clearly shows his knowledge of the situation:
Concussions and other brain trauma on the football field do not cause someone to commit suicide. What they do cause are metabolic alterations that can lead to depression and contribute to changes in a person’s outlook and decision-making — with the most disastrous and undoubtedly complicated cases perhaps ending in suicide.

And also, the effects of hear trauma:
To be around recently concussed football players is to know that this is serious brain damage. Their eyes seem glassy. They have trouble retaining short-term information. They appear tired and glum.

Having played football for the past 10 years, I’ve seen what a compilation of brain traumas can do to a person.

However, he feels the focus should be in identifying depression:
This should be the jumping-off point for changing the culture around depression and sports. If concussions can lead to depression and depression can lead to suicide, then even old-school football needs to be as vigilant in identifying and treating depression as it is with concussions.

We must create an environment where a football player — or any athlete — can walk into a training room and tell someone that something is wrong and that, no, this injury doesn’t just need ice or a rubdown.