Mind Over Sports

Posts Tagged ‘Chewing Tobacco

A few years ago, before chewing tobacco was banned in college baseball, I had the opportunity to walk inside a Division I college baseball team’s dugout and couldn’t (at first) understand why the floor of the dugout was so sticky. Then it hit me: Spit from chewing tobacco. But there’s a reason chewing tobacco should be banned in MLB that’s much more important than sticky dugout floors: Cancer. There’s no question that chewing tobacco damages healthy cells in the body and causes them to become cancerous. Normally, the immune system would be standing by to gobble them up Pac-Man style. But when a ball player experiences stress in is life (and make no mistake about it, playing major league baseball is a stressful business) the body gives off hormones such as Cortisol that impair the immune system and the cancer cells begin to multiply at a rate faster than they can be devoured. Just ask Tony Gwinn, Sr. Unfortunately, you can’t ask him because he passed away June 16, 2014 of salivary gland cancer. And before he died he attributed his habit of chewing tobacco to his being diagnosed with cancer.

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