OK, Texas Panhandle football fans. Your favorite time of the year is just about upon you.
But let’s be aware of something associated with this rite of autumn. Our cherished young men are going to be banging heads — quite literally — and with that head-banging comes a dreaded fear of concussion.
To that end, Frontline — PBS’s award-winning documentary series — is getting set to premier an important two-part special on football-related concussions. It will air on consecutive Tuesdays, at 9 p.m., Oct. 8 and 15, on KACV-TV.
Frontline is working with Boston public TV station WBGH and ESPN in producing this important documentary. It focuses on the National Football League, which has seen a tremendous spike in concussion injury in recent years. The league has sought to tighten the rules governing “helmet-to-helmet” contact in an effort to curb the incidence of concussion.
Two years ago, all-time NFL great Junior Seau committed suicide — by shooting himself in the chest. It is now believed widely that Seau, who played middle linebacker for the San Diego Chargers and New England Patriots — took his life in that manner so that medical experts could examine his brain for signs of concussion-related damage. Seau suspected serious head trauma to be the cause of serious mood swings.
They found it in Seau’s brain tissue.
But let’s not be coy about the danger posed to athletes at all levels, even in high school.
It is there. Have you seen the rosters of some of West Texas’s 5A and 4A football squads? They contain some mighty big and strong young men capable of hitting other big and strong young men with tremendous force. And let us not forget the size of the young men playing for West Texas A&M University, many of whom come to WT on full-ride football scholarships.
Yes, the threat to our own boys is real.
The Frontline-ESPN special is titled, “League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis.” I’m betting it will be worth your time this fall.