Real sports for real men…
…I just watched Bryant Gumbels’ Real Sports episode on ALS, known better as Lou Gerhigs disease. I had already seen it before but wanted my parents to see it. What Gumbel was discussing was the discovery of a link between violent sports injuries (specifically head trauma) and the disease. Apparently, repeated head traumas coupled with overexertion can cause toxins to develop and poison the brain. In these cases, (they were quite numerous in contact sports) they were able to obtain the widow’s assent to examine the brain of the deceased. What researchers found was that those toxins were able to migrate from the brain to the spinal column resulting in slow paralysis and death. Lou Gerhigs. The length of time that each man had to live varied but the end result was always the same.
The question now is that since this has come to light, albeit via cable and not the networks that stand to make the most money from continued broadcasts, what are the various organizations going to do? And what a tough call for the players many of whom come from impoverished backgrounds. Of course there were always physical risks but the unusually high numbers of the afflicted and the cruelty of the disease is so strikingly horrific that you would have to rethink those odds and what that means.
You can watch an excerpt of it here. The entire episode aired on HBO: