As the NFL begins to reverse its stance on the seriousness of concussions – also known as traumatic brain injuries – the difficult experiences of afflicted players and their families have witnessed an increase in media and legal attention. Garrett Webster, son of Pittsburgh’s football great Mike Webster, has become an outspoken advocate for brain injury research, changes in legislation, and new approaches to concussions in the NFL, a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article reported.
Garrett said he still enjoys watching football, and even loves seeing players take devastating blows during the game. He told the Tribune-Review, ‘We’re not trying to take that out of the game. We don’t want to change the game. We don’t want to eliminate football.’ What Garrett does want is for players to receive proper care, acknowledgment, and compensation when they suffer from concussions and the long-term effects associated with sustaining multiple head injuries.
Garrett and his family won a lawsuit against the NFL in 2005 and received over a million dollars in damages and disability benefits for the suffering his father went through after a hard-hitting 17-season football career. In a video interview, Garrett told reporters that his father once asked him to use a Taser to knock him unconscious so he could have a few moments free of the pain and suffering in his head. Other times, Garrett said, his father suffered from dementia and could not find his way home.
If Garrett has his way, television announcers will no longer glorify violence during NFL games and players, coaches, and fans alike will take concussions and head injuries far more seriously than they currently do. He told the Tribune-Review, ‘I’d rather have my dad alive and him be considered a pansy than to have him dead and considered an Iron Man. I understand announcers would rather hype it up when there’s a big hit’¦ but they don’t have to replay it 15 times and talk about what a bad-ass someone is.’
Gorman, Kevin. (February 7, 2010) ‘Gorman: Focusing on the brains in big game.’ Retrieved on February 11, 2010 from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Web site:https://triblive.com/
Isaacson, Melissa. (February 10, 2010) ‘Processing the aftereffects.’ Retrieved February 10, 2010 from the ESPN Sports Web site: http://sports.espn.go.com/chicago/nfl/columns/story?columnist=isaacson_m…
WTOV9 News Staff. (February 8, 2010) ‘News9 Special Assignment: The Brain Vs. The Game.’ Retrieved on February 11, 2010 from the WTOV9 News Web site:http://www.wtov9.com/news/22477179/detail.html