Thursday, November 7, 2013

Moffett quits pro football to protect his body and his brain

I've been writing about how football causes brain injuries which result in depression, violent behavior, even suicide in players in their later years.  I think the data is pretty conclusive, but if I look at TV it just seems hopeless for the athletes because football is a huge multi-billion dollar industry.  How will this ever go away?  It is loved by fans, by beer makers, by auto makers, by sports games makers, by TV executives, by pretty much every boy and man in the country, by football players themselves... wait, maybe not by the players themselves, at least not for some of them now, and maybe more later.

What if the football players themselves decided that they don't want to play anymore?  What if the players start to understand that it's not just their knees and bones and organs that are being destroyed so that others can make millions off of their bodies?  

What if players start to realize that no matter how tough they are, no matter how much pain they can tolerate, no matter how much they pride themselves in being able to get off the ground and come back at full speed... there is nothing they can do to toughen their brains, that blob of jello inside their skulls that gets damaged again and again and again when they block or tackle or be blocked or be tackled, even when they don't have a full loss of consciousness concussion they can start to know that they are getting brain damage with sub-concussions many times a game, a season, a career? What if they start to think even the money and glamour and fame and lifestyle isn't  worth it?

One man decided that it's not worth it.  John Moffett is walking away from a guaranteed million dollars, and from his future in pro football. What he has to say gives me hope.  

Sports radio commentator Jim Rhome had this to say today.  He says Moffitt said:

 “I just really thought about it and decided I’m not happy. I’m not happy at all. And I think it’s really madness to risk your body, risk your well-being and risk your happiness for money. Everybody, they just don’t get it and they think it’s crazy. But I think what I was doing is crazy.”
Moffitt just left a million bucks on the table and a shot at a Super Bowl run with Denver…and it’s probably the smartest thing he’ll ever do.  A million bucks is great… Quality of life is better.
And what good is the dough if you spend every single day in a dark, quiet room with a scrambled brain.  Moffitt could retire now with his mind and body intact… Or he could get fired in a few years after hundreds of more headshots, bad knees a slightly bigger nest egg.
I don’t think he’s crazy at all. I respect him for making the call.  We’d all love to have his life, and all this dude wants, is ours.
Moffett is also quoted as saying: