I'm from Buffalo, NY (go Bills/Sabres!) and I love football and hockey. However, the more information I read about concussions and contact sports, the harder it is for me to watch and support football and hockey.
I've always hated seeing people get hurt, no matter what team they play for, but lately I've been feeling a lot more empathy for the players. Maybe it's that they're no longer all superheroes who are years older than me but that they're more like my peers. And in Buffalo, you don't just see people playing sports on TV. You see the players at the grocery store, the donut shop, the mall. It's something I love about Buffalo. When I was younger and we would go trick-or-treating, we would go to the neighborhoods where our favorite players lived in hopes of seeing them.
More recently, I've actually felt sick to my stomach when I've seen someone get hurt. I think of these players who I've seen at the store, who have wives and kids, and I worry that sure, now they're getting $4 million a year to play a game, but are they going to know their own names when they're 40 years old? I feel better about the NHL than the NFL because it seems like they're making more of an effort to protect their players. And I know it's just a game that they make a choice to play but they choose to play it because I'm willing to buy tickets for the game and people like me are willing to buy tickets for the game.
Rick Martin was a player for the Buffalo Sabres who died recently of a heart attack and when they studied his brain, they found evidence of chronic traumatic encephelopathy. The thing was that they've seen this in players who were fighters but he wasn't even a fighter. I don't even like Sidney Crosby but he's a great player and a young kid who had a concussion in January and he's still not 100 percent. And that's not even mentioning players like Kevin Everett
who suffer injuries that are catastrophic or truly freak accidents like Clint Malarchuk
Part of me used to dream of coaching a little kids' football team (a very small part of me). I've wanted to buy my goddaughter hockey skates because I would love to see her play. I know athletes get hurt in every sport but it seems like the consequences of head injuries in hockey and football in particular are just devastating. Am I taking this too seriously?