January 12, 2012
“Look, most of my players aren’t going to play ball for a living,” [Bruce Rollinson] says. “I know they don’t want to hear that, but it’s the truth. So there’s really no reason they should risk messing up their brain.” Rollinson is the head football coach at Mater Dei, a Los Angeles-area high school with an extraordinary record of success at football.
Rollinson is quoted in an essay about the frequency of concussions in the sport of football by Jonah Lehrer in a Grantland blog post. Lehrer lays out what we know about the horrifying frequency of concussions, and the even more horrifying news about how much damage they do — damage that can last a lifetime.
Lehrer’s post is sobering. He wonders whether football as an amateur sport should wither and die. I certainly have growing doubts about whether we should continue to sponsor football at colleges and universities, whose mission is to grow brains, not damage them.