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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I think he’s right


Several young men were in a heated discussion at the gym.  The subject was concussions, long term effects and how to protect the brain from damage when it makes contact.  I listened over my headphones, back and forth between the fellows and Jacqueline Kennedy’s recorded discussions with Arthur Schlesinger. Mrs. Kennedy was a thoughtful woman, her discussion insightful and difficult to ignore.

I hate my little MP3 device.  It must come out of its carrying pouch, taken off hold and paused with a delicate touch.  Touch the wrong spot and it gratuitously returns to the beginning of the track or goes to the next book.  I don’t mind re-listening to Jacqueline for half an hour, but it’s very annoying on most recorded books.  So, I paid attention to the concussion argument with one ear while I worked through chest presses, pecs and delts, biceps and triceps.  Somewhere around abdominals, which was so far away from the concussion/helmet discussion that my attention was back on the second Cuba crisis, a loud and sharp clicking came from the front.

The last comment I heard about concussions concerned football players of the past who might have been protected from concussion with modern helmets.  Now the clicking had everyone’s attention.  The young fellow who is the shift manager held his drink bottle up high.  They’re always mixing powder and drinking fountain water into drinks.  He shook the drink bottle quickly from side to side. The mixing ball clattered. 

“This cup is your skull.  The drink mix is the padding.  The crack, crack crack is  your brain bouncing against your skull, because it’s not attached to anything.”  In his opinion, there isn’t a lot of protection in a helmet.  The little group dispersed and I went back to Mrs. Kennedy.  She was just saying the President and his team went nose to nose with the Kremlin over the missile crisis, and they didn’t crack.  Caroline Kennedy’s early release of the tapes is a commendable gift.

As for contact sport, I’ve never seen much point. 

17 comments:

  1. My, you were at extremes in your MP3 and the youngmen. Was that book good, or was it just well promoted?

    Junior Seau (the NFL football player they were discussing) was a local boy, from a local high school. Was a hero to many generations. I wish football (and boxing) was outlawed.

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    1. I read Walter Cronkite's description of Mrs. Kennedy's voice as whispery and tremulous, so I had preconceived notions. There are two brief forewards, one by Caroline Kennedy, then hours of the actual tapes. Mrs. Kennedy's recall of people and events is beyond my imagination, and her characterization of people I find fascinating. And, you can just download it from our library.

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  2. And which sport has about an equal number of concussions (some studies say just less; some just more)? Cheerleading!

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    1. And your father's only objection to cheerleading was a short skirt on his daughter!

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  3. I've never had any interest in sports and even less interest in getting a concussion. Seems to be working for me.

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  4. My! You do entertain yourself well at he gym, don't you?

    Both my kids were athletes in high school and college but no football -- we were delighted when our son displayed no interest in football and played soccer instead. That said, we spent a lot of money on proper protective equipment for soccer, basketball, track and softball. My favorite sport for them was swimming -- and even that has it pitfalls -- my son has shoulder problems from too much butterfly. When they were just starting out in competitive swimming, I read an article on swimming as a form of child abuse that I kept to keep me focused as a responsible adult and parent as they participated in all their sports. When they were small and lost, I asked if they had fun and they'd say yes and I'd tell them that that was all that mattered. Fast forward to my son losing a big event in college and me asking him if he had fun. He said, "That doesn't work anymore, Mom -- this is for real!" Sigh. The fun goes when reality sets in. He's the coach now whose job/livelihood depends on his win/loss record. I can only imagine how hard it must be in the pros!

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  5. My son always has worn a helmet for bicycling, roller-blading and motorcycling, etc. He says, "My brain is my greatest possession, without it, I'm nothing."

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  6. Helmets do save lives and prevent serious head injuries :-).

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  7. Well first off, good for you going to the gym!!! The more I know about you, Joanne, the more I'm impressed... working out AND listening to Jacqueline Kennedy AND checking out the boys and their, ahem, helmets...

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    1. Well, thank you. I'd never go sleep out in the cold just because I could do it, though.

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  8. When sports become violent (as so many of them do) they lose any appeal for me. And, like Csthy I am impressed at your multi-skilling while at the gym.

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  9. Since I've had three concussions in my life I can attest that they are no fun. And each one takes longer to recover from. Personally, I think it has affected my memory which sucks for the most part. Or that could be the drugs.

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  10. My son laughs at me for wearing a helmet while cycling. I love my brain and the rest of me is already padded.

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  11. What a beautifully written post, I enjoyed it thoroughly and I recall the missile crises as a child, we lived in Baimbridge Maryland and my father was in the Navy and they closed the base and there was a long line of personnel being checked before they could get to work.

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  12. Interesting juxtaposition - missile crisis and sports concussions. I guess it makes the gym visit more interesting.

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  13. I like his description of the brain inside the head. Love that you listened in, and then wrote about their conversation: I do that quite often :)

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  14. Helmets for all! was our battle cry. That from someone who never wore a helmet at all her entire growing up life. (I should probably mention that they hadn't been invented yet.) We raised our kids on the stage. No helmets needed there - no matter what the play . . .

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