90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
AOL's Kevin Blackistone on Football Hits, Young Players & Safety

The Minnesota Vikings’ Brett Favre after a hit to the chin during an NFL game, Oct. 31, 2010. (AP)

As the controversy over hard hits and new safety precautions continues at the NFL level, there is also increasing scrutiny at the lower levels of football, where younger players may be even more vulnerable.

On Point took a hard look recently at the NFL debate – link here to the show audio — with three former NFL players, as well as AOL Fanhouse national columnist Kevin Blackistone and a prominent medical researcher.

After his appearance with us, Blackistone followed up with a column calling for stricter measures for younger players who suffer head injuries. “A good precaution for the youngest group of players who suffer a concussion,” Blackistone writes, “may be simply to call it a season.” We’ll excerpt a bit from his article below, and here’s the link to the full article:

Dr. Ann McKee, the Boston University School of Medicine expert on football and brain injuries, said Monday on a radio program I participated in that medical science suspects of concussions on the football field what most of us are certain of intuitively:

“Is it more dangerous for a 13-year-old to experience these hits than a 25-year-old?” she asked on National Public Radio’s On Point hosted by Tom Ashbrook from Boston’s WBUR. “We think that the earlier in life that you experience these hits, the more detrimental they are.”

[I]f medical science believes younger brains are more susceptible to catastrophic injury, it might be time to consider a measure for young players as severe as boxers who sustain knockouts. Don’t let them play again for 60 or 90 days. Don’t wait for historically very low mortality rates for young football players to rise. Act now.

After all, youth players have not only the most at stake when it comes to their health, but the least reward to be gained from chancing it.

They are still growing. Their minds are still developing. Yet, they are playing at most for a scholarship to bang their heads some more at the college level into other survivors of high school football who are a little bigger, stronger and faster. It is only if they escape more choreographed violence, while excelling at it, that they may be granted an opportunity to make a living playing football.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Sep 1, 2014
This Friday, Aug. 22, 2014 photo shows a mural in in the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago dedicated to the history of the Pullman railcar company and the significance for its place in revolutionizing the railroad industry and its contributions to the African-American labor movement. (AP)

On Labor Day, we’ll check in on the American labor force, with labor activist Van Jones, and more.

Sep 1, 2014
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Jarvis Jones (95) recovers a fumble by Carolina Panthers quarterback Derek Anderson (3) in the second quarter of the NFL preseason football game on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 in Pittsburgh. (AP)

One outspoken fan’s reluctant manifesto against football, and the big push to reform the game.

RECENT
SHOWS
Aug 29, 2014
Beyoncé performs at the 2014 MTV Music Video Awards on Sunday, August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California. (Getty)

Sex, power and Beyoncé’s feminism. The message to young women.

 
Aug 29, 2014
Ukrainian forces guard a checkpoint in the town of Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko called an emergency meeting of the nation's security council and canceled a foreign trip Thursday, declaring that "Russian forces have entered Ukraine," as concerns grew about the opening of a new front in the conflict.  (AP)

War moves over Syria, Ukraine. Burger King moves to Canada. Nine-year-olds and Uzis. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: August 29, 2014
Friday, Aug 29, 2014

On hypothetical questions, Beyoncé and the unending flow of social media.

More »
Comment
 
Drew Bledsoe Is Scoring Touchdowns (In The Vineyards)
Thursday, Aug 28, 2014

Football great — and vineyard owner — Drew Bledsoe talks wine, onions and the weird way they intersect sometimes in Walla Walla, Washington.

More »
Comment
 
Poutine Whoppers? Why Burger King Is Bailing Out For Canada
Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

Why is Burger King buying a Canadian coffee and doughnut chain? (We’ll give you a hint: tax rates).

More »
1 Comment