By Mick Holien
Yep it is that time of year when youngsters of every age and size, if they aren’t already involved, make the pitch to hit the gridiron, although they may well not know what that is.
In many families it is a bygone conclusion to play football while in others especially with the added publicity concerning injuries, there might well be a discussion.
The equipment has markedly improved but by no means don’t make the game, or any sporting event for that matter, injury free.
It is true that recent statistics indicate an increased volume of concussions for example go undetected and even with protocol developed by neurologists players are very good at masking symptoms so as to make their way back onto the field.
I can remember two concussions and interestingly neither occurred in football and in neither occurrence did I lose consciousness.
But after both collisions which occurred at home plate, I darn well realized I was goofier than usual but against the University of Washington in Seattle I caught five innings of the second game of the double header after taking a knee in the forehead in the fourth inning of the opener.
But on the bus trip back to campus in Bremerton, I had violent and throbbing headaches easily convincing me something was wrong.
But besides not having team Doc., there also was not anyone but coaches to decide if you could play and thus I was in the lineup the following week.
I heard a report recently that one of UM’s All-Conference lineman has been diagnosed with the early stages of CTE and another defender admitted to me this summer that he was at last concerned with some worrisome symptoms.
Such reports are not surprising since UM’s first batch of professionals have completed their pro playing career a couple of decades ago.
But remember it is not just football where such injuries occur and it also is not just the pro ranks making it incumbent for friends and relatives to be aware of say forgetfulness or say a difficulty concentrating or becoming reclusive.
It is all part of being a good teammate after all.