The recent discovery that head injuries from American sports can cause permanent brain damage reminded me of the radical difference in potential injuries between American football which I played as a student here and Rugby which I did as a British exchange student the next year

Here I had badly injured my wrist. A plastic cast was put on it and I continued to play along side a teammate with a similar injury. With those hard casts we were a menace to those playing opposite us.

In Rugby I played center of the back which did risk rubbing one’s ears against the butts of those with whom one was pushing together against the opposite side. One of my ears was slightly bruised for life by this. One of the things I had to learn to do differently was tackling. In the U.S. we hit people as hard as we could. In Rugby one goes for the lower legs simply to bring someone down who is carrying the ball. I had to be told not to use the American tactic which was hurting people.

I had some good British medical care, too, getting my wrist back in shape. None of our sports were harmful to people. We played a version of field hockey similar to that of American girls. No hitting people with our hockey sticks.

I for one would favor banning our sports that injure people — particularly their brains. We could live with baseball, basketball, and soccer and do without boxing and football.

What do you think?

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THE CATALYST
Redirecting the Debate on Brain Injuries
By ALAN SCHWARZ
Representative Linda T. Snchez, a Democrat of
California, redirected the debate surrounding brain
injuries in football.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/27/sports/football/27sanchez.html?th&emc=th

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent [blind copies]

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