Mind Over Sports

Posts Tagged ‘Aaron Hernandez

I just finished reading an interesting article by sportswriter Patrick Hruby in which he makes an excellent case against the NFL applying the fairly new field of Brain Injury Science, saying that “football hits pull the brain like silly putty, stretching and shearing nerve cells.”  He points out that currently more than 3,500 former players and surviving family members are suing the NFL, essentially attempting to hold the league liable.  Some players have committed suicide and the clinical symptoms of CTE are: “Impulsivity.  Disinhibition.  Volatility.  Problems with depression and emotional control.”  I’m not saying the NFL is at fault, especially since some research shows that athletes are most susceptible to brain injury while playing high school football.  Mr. Hruby points out that “Boys and young men – whose brains are still developing – are more vulnerable to football-induced head trauma.”  So it’s possible that many injuries may have been present in some of the NFL players long before they became professionals.  Or even before they entered college.  I’m bringing all of this up since it’s also possible (and I’m only saying “possible”) that Aaron Hernandez may be suffering from CTE and not even realize it.  Certainly it’s something to think about.


It’s no small wonder that more professional athletes, like Aaron Hernandez, aren’t getting into trouble when you consider their background. For most of them, it all starts when they’re about 8 years old and show exceptional talent in their sport. They are fawned over by parents and fans and as they get older, coaches and others are quick to cover for them. Before long, they begin to develop a sense of entitlement and begin to believe they can do no wrong, seldom being held responsible for their actions. And many of them have anger issues, which when combined with a sense of entitlement, can be explosive and dangerous. As was the case with Hernandez. Some come from loving, nurturing home environments and they are the athletes who seldom get into trouble because of how they feel about themselves. But there are many who need help, and help could be made available to them if general managers and team owners weren’t so locked into their beliefs regarding the creation of internal support groups. Many GMs and front office executives consider support groups “sissy stuff” and believe if you pay an athlete enough money he (or she) should be able to take care of their own problems. One-on-one counseling isn’t the answer because there’s such a stigma attached to a player seeing a “team schrink.” But when team members share their personal problems and issues with their buddies, in a controlled environment, amazing things take place, including good team chemistry and team bonding…something money can’t buy.

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