To date, there has been a debate between the NFL and certain members of the medical community regarding whether and to what extent the repeated blows to the head suffered by football players might cause long-term health problems.
So where’s the NFL Players Association in all of this?
“The NFLPA has some responsibility here too,” one source with knowledge of the dynamics between the league and the union said. “Recall the congressional study that
was highly critical of the NFLPA for failing to monitor or maintain any records
regarding the risks associated with head trauma, leading at least one person to
call the NFLPA a one-issue union.”
It’s a great point. And with the NFL and the NFLPA currently in the early stages of working out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, this issue should be one of the more important issues to be considered.
Still, it shouldn’t be a point of contention between the two sides. Management and labor should have an equal incentive to address the problem.
“If you accept the NFL’s position that one of the primary reason for the steroid
program is its concern for the health of the players, then there is no
legitimate basis for that concern not to extend to the long term health risks of
playing the game,” the source observed. “Disciplining players to protect against the debatable health
risks of some PED’s or diuretics cannot be reconciled with putting its head in
the sand when it comes to the long-term impact of repeated head trauma.”
Amen again. And we’re hopeful that the NFLPA will commit itself to keeping the league from ignoring this potentially important issue to the quality of players’ lives in the many years (ideally) they’ll be living after their football days are over.