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Published by: Chris Kohl on Dec 05, 2012
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Chris KohlAnnotated BibliographyWriting and RhetoricIn this paper I plan to show how public awareness of head trauma in football will begin toundermine the superiority of football in the American sporting world. The science world and themedia are really beginning to build up steam when it comes to highlighting the lifelong affects blows to the head have on football players. Stories of the lives of NFL retirees have becomecommonplace on sporting networks like ESPN and even major television programs like
60 Minutes
. As a result, people, even those who may not consider themselves sport fans, now haveknowledge of what happens to a person’s brain when one plays football. Consequently, peoplewill begin to look at football less favorably, and possibly become more interested in other sportsthat do not risk the health of the brain.I find this topic very interesting because it is a combination of two of my greatestinterests, namely football and medicine. Although I do not want football to fall to obscurity inAmerican sports, I still find it interesting how leagues like the NFL will combat this growingconcern of the sport’s risks. In addition, this topic also intrigues me because I feel it is very prevalent. It really has only been in the last 5 years or so that this issue has really come to thespotlight, and I feel much research on this topic still must be done.In order to successfully support my thesis I feel I will need to answer three mainquestions. They are as follows. How will the NFL (and football in general) be able to cope withthe increasing awareness of the severity and quantity of concussions resulting from the sport?As awareness of the head injuries intensifies will football be able to survive?How detrimental are concussions in the long term for the human brain?Carroll, Linda, and David Rosner. The Concussion Crisis: Anatomy of a Silent Epidemic. NewYork: Simon & Schuster, 2011. Print.This book evidences many of the long term health concerns stemming from multiple headimpacts, especially those suffered in football. Its writers both specialize in sports health andmedicine. The book is targeted towards an audience that may not know a great deal oboutneuroscience and so attempts to speak in layman’s language. The book itself really does not tryto prove a point but rather simply states a number of examples of concussions and symptoms. It begins by giving examples of many football players, both young and old, who suffer fromdebilitating diseases. It specifically mentions the story of a high school student named BrandonScults who was virtually crippled from multiple hits suffered in football(23). Moreover, it givesmany examples of retired professional football players who suffer from debilitating diseases likeAlzheimer’s and dementia after retiring from football. It claims that many of these diseases aredirect symptoms of the head impacts suffered in football. Moving on the book gives the “rubsome dirt on it” attitude that runs through the NFL all the way to youth leagues (46-50). Nextthe book moves on to the latest scientific discoveries on concussions, and notes that concussionsare a result of the “stretching” and ultimate rupture of the axons in the brain (155-165). The book next moves on to the NFL’s regulations regarding concussions, and specifically points outthat many of these regulations are a farce that the NFL employs, not to protect its players, but
 
rather simply to uphold its image. This source will be the source I most rely on since it givesdirect scientific evidence.Wier, David R., James S. Jackson, and Amanda Sonnega. “National Football League Player CareFoundation.” Institute for Social Research University of Michigan (n.d.): n. pag.University of Michigan, 10 Sept. 2009. Web. 11 Oct. 2012.This document is based of a poll of approximately 1,500 retired NFL players. It attemptsto gain an understanding of the differences between the average upper-middle aged man and NFL retirees. In doing so, it does not solely focus on the impacts on head trauma in football. Nonetheless, the study does provide statistics differentiating NFL retirees from the common person. The most intriguing statistics mentioned in this article are the differences in the rate of mental illness including Alzheimer’s and dementia between NFL retirees non-NFL retirees (30-32). Many of these statistics support those mentioned in
 A Concussion Crisis
and bolster the books arguments. Nonetheless, the book does find that playing in the NFL does not increaseones risk for other diseases like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. This article seems to aim at providing a reader with an un-biased opinion about the risks of playing a contact sport likefootball. As a whole, I plan to use this source as a direct source of unbiased statistics aboutconcussions.Bartholet, Jeffrey. "The Collision Syndrome." Scientific American 306.2 (2012): 66-71. Academic Search Premier. Web. 31 Oct. 2012.This article primarily focuses on the link between repeated blows to the head and ALS or Lou Gering’s Disease, or at least some condition that resembles the disease very closely. Likethe other sources this source is written in language that people without medical backgrounds canunderstand. To make its points the article highlights the stories of football players, specifically a player named Kevin Turner, who contracted mental diseases that very closely resemble ALS.One of the main questions the source answers is whether or not this impact related disease is infact ALS or not. It notes that this question still remains unanswered. This is the source I plan onusing to provide direct evidence between head impacts and a specific disease that may resultfrom these impacts. It provides the most detail about the relationship between concussions andmental illness than any of the other sources.King, Peter. "CONCUSSIONS. (Cover Story)." Sports Illustrated 113.16 (2010): 34-40. Academic Search Premier. Web. 31 Oct. 2012.Since this article is contained in a major, popular, sports publication this article is tailoredto the average sports fan. In doing so the article focuses less on the real science behindconcussions, however, it does support many of the points the other sources mention.Specifically, it gives examples of players suffering from severe mental diseases after retiringfrom football. Moreover, this source provides many of the statements NFL commissioner Rodger Goodell made on concussions in the last few years. These statements evidence the NFL’s recent stance on concussions, a stance which seems quite weak when reading the article.The primary purpose of including this source is to provide a popular media position onconcussions today. As a result, this source will be crucial in highlighting the media’s overall
 
opinion on the NFL’s concussion regulations, and therefore very crucial for the overall argumentof this report. Furthermore, this report also highlights a counterargument to be rebut in the finalreport. Namely, the article mentions the player’s position that they understand the risks of football and still decide to play anyway. All in all, I plan to use this source to provide amainstream opinion of the prevalence and dangers of concussions in football.Kluger, Jeffrey. "Headbanger Nation." Time 177.4 (2011): 42-51. Academic Search Premier.Web. 31 Oct. 2012.Kluger’s work focuses on the risks and symptoms of concussions in a number of differentsports, and attempts to inform his audience of these very risks. Kluger’s article is written at alevel a reader without any real science background can understand. The article specificallyfocuses on the specific risks children and young adults are at when they suffer a concussion. Todo so, Kluger both references stories of young adults suffering through debilitating brain injuries,and gives some background data on the latest scientific evidence linking concussions to braindisease. Furthermore Kluger also gives some of his personal thoughts about the “recklessness”of some football coaches when it comes to playing players who were recently concussed. (TheScience of a Hit) My report will use Kluger’s beliefs regarding youth coaching, and link these beliefs to the lack of overall awareness of the dangers of concussions in all levels of football.Many of the points in Kluger’s article are supported by my other sources. However, this articlemore on youth concusions than the other sources. Furthermore, unlike many of the other sourceswhich are primarily comprised of scientific facts and studies, Kluger’s article gives a personalopinion about the risks of concussions, that the other articles simply do not.Katherine, Chretien. "Risk a child's brain for football?." USA Today n.d.: Academic SearchPremier. Web. 31 Oct. 2012.Chretien’s article focus’s on a parent’s perspective of football after being informed of thedangers of the sport. Although Chretien was a football fan in the past, Chretien explains why shewill not allow her two boys to play football. After being informed of the dangers of the sport,Chretien evidences why she thinks it is in her sons’ best interests not to play football. Thisarticle will be very crucial in my final essay, because it shows how football has already beenloosing its popularity since the neuroscience has progressed. Moreover, since this article waswritten in USA today, this article gives primary evidence of how the media is treating the topicof concussions in football today. This we be crucial in showing how the media will ultimatelylead to the decline of the popularity of football if leagues like the NFL and NCAA do not react tothe crisis they face today. As a whole, Chretien’s article is written at a level anyone canunderstand, and unlike the articles, it could spark some emotion in a parent with children.
Robert, Lipsyte. "Only we can save the NFL from itself."
USA Today 
n.d.:
 Academic Search Premier 
. Web. 5 Nov. 2012.

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