By Mick Holien
You have probably read reports that former Bobcat Corey Widmer chose not to participate in the recognition accorded inductees to the Montana Football Hall of Fame in Billings last week.
Full disclosure, even though I was unaware of his decision until I arrived in Billings last Friday I am a member of the fledgling Hall’s selection committee.
An All American middle backer at Montana State and an eight year pro for the New York Giants, there is no question he has Hall of Fame credentials.
But his explanation for refusing recognition sends a strong message on quite a visible platform.
Visible because the story, first reported by the state’s newspapers broke nationwide even as far as the New York Times.
According to an editorial in the Billings Gazette, Widmer estimates he sustained 400 to 500 football-related head injuries leading to CTE, chronic traumatic en ceph alop athy, a degenerative brain disease.
And again he told the Gazette after he learned of a Belt High School football player suffering paralysis because of a concussion he decided in lieu of accepting Hall recognition to instead speak not just of the dangers of the sport but advising parents not to allow their children to play tackle football.
In My Opinion, which is exactly what the Gazette story renders “Opinion” while of course it is a family’s decision as to whether allow a son to play football it is their responsibility to acquire as much information they can garner to aide them in their decision.
Corey is not the first member of the state Hall of Fame that suffers from such a condition which not only is possibly paralyzing but affects mood swings, speech and depression which in the cases of San Diego linebacker Junior Seau may have led to him taking his own life.
This is personal to me. A Missoula family I am close to lost a son and promising athlete a few years back when he died on the field after sustaining a concussion.
And I have sustained up to three concussions, at least that I can remember, but to this point at least show no adverse symptoms.
My granddaughter concussed during a recent volleyball game and while she sat out for a short period I questioned at the time whether the concussion protocol she participated in was sufficient but like all athletes she wanted back on the floor
Other players have shared with me heir concern about their own condition while like most are not interested in being public about it.
I am not telling anyone to make a decision to hold a young adult out of contact football but again IMO make all the available information part of your decision making process
Football is a great game but is it worth the risk. Just sayin’