Saturday, December 16, 2017
Sports

NASCAR laps NFL in concussion discussion

NASCAR 1, NFL 0.

That's my scorecard — and should be yours, too — based on Internet chatter and developments involving protecting the greatest assets in sports:

The athletes.

The NFL seems back in denial after some preposterous statements during the owners' meetings, where several prominent faces continued to deflect the obvious link between a violent game and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay went Crazy Town, comparing the side effects of playing professional football to the possibility of a bad reaction after taking an aspirin.

Excuse me, I have a headache from typing those words.

On the flip side, NASCAR — led by signature stars Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson — is all about making this a proactive conversation. Earnhardt Jr. recently tweeted that he would donate his brain to science.

Then he elaborated this past week.

"Hopefully, they don't have to look at my brain whenever I pass away because they have learned enough science to study the brains of living adults," he said.

"Hopefully, the science has advanced enough to where they no longer need to be poking around inside my brain."

Earnhardt went on to say that he was inspired by former U.S. National Team soccer player Brandi Chastain and several former Oakland Raiders who will donate their brains in honor of their late teammate, Ken Stabler.

Stabler, a retired and once feisty quarterback in NFL lore, died last summer. Doctors discovered he had Stage 3 CTE, a neurological disease linked to head collisions in football and other contact sports, causing debilitating and degenerative memory and mood problems.

"I will be donating — or pledging my brain, is what they like to say — to the Concussion Legacy Foundation," Earnhardt Jr. said. "They are in partnership with Boston University where the brain bank is. I was a donor already for many years, as my driver's license would attest. It seemed like a reasonable thing to do for me. Anything that I can do to help others."

And like any good teammate, Johnson stepped in to prove he has Junior's back. Johnson, who drives with Earnhardt for Hendrick Motorsports, alluded a situation involving IndyCar driver Will Power, who missed the season opening race in St. Petersburg last month after crashing in practice and dealing with nausea.

Further tests at the University of Miami Hospital's Concussion Program ruled out a concussion but concluded that Power probably did have an inner-ear infection.

"Whatever they have in Miami needs to be at every racetrack to make a better decision — whatever that stuff is," Johnson told reporters from USA Today and NBCSports.com. "That's the bottom line. You're dealing with someone's career — someone's life.

"The bottom line there is concern for the athlete, for the driver. I think it all stems from a good place. Unfortunately, mistakes are made. We're trying with the baseline concussion tests we now take. That's hopefully a tool to help make a better decision."

It's simple really: Err on the side of caution. Make informed decisions. Protect your stars.

It's a little more complicated than taking two aspirin and hoping the throbbing pain in your head goes away.

— Orlando Sentinel (TNS)

Comments

Boys basketball: Lakewood 45, Gibbs 44

ST. PETERSBURG — Once the lights dimmed in the gymnasium and the capacity crowd dispersed, Lakewood coach Anthony Lawrence spotted Gibbs coach Larry Murphy strolling past the the bleachers."Hey, Murph. Do we have to do this every time?" Lawrenc...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Boys basketball: Nature Coast 78, Central 29

Boys basketball: Nature Coast 78, Central 29

BROOKSVILLE – Once again supporting its place as the top program in Hernando County, Nature Coast maintained its undefeated record in a dominant win over rival Central.While the Bears were able to upset the Sharks to win the Class 6A, District ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Girls basketball: Plant 66, Steinbrenner 31

LUTZ — Here's some discouraging news for any team that has to play Plant this season or in the next few seasons: The Panthers beat Steinbrenner 66-31 Friday night. Of those 66 points, 48 were scored by a sophomore and two freshmen.Freshman powe...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Boys basketball: Plant City 79, Tampa Bay Tech 74

Boys basketball: Plant City 79, Tampa Bay Tech 74

TAMPA — Traveling to play at Tampa Bay Tech is a test for any area basketball team these days because the Titans are tough and the crowd is loud.Plant City prepared for all of the above, answered most of the questions and passed the exam Friday...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Nobody has Jameis Winston’s back more than Dirk Koetter, offensive coordinator Todd Monken insists

Nobody has Jameis Winston’s back more than Dirk Koetter, offensive coordinator Todd Monken insists

Nobody is a bigger supporter of Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston than head coach Dirk Koetter.That was the passionate message that offensive coordinator/receivers coach Todd Monken unloaded at his news conference Friday, saying that reports that Winst...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Westbrook, Embiid put on show in triple OT thriller

Westbrook, Embiid put on show in triple OT thriller

PHILADELPHIA — Russell Westbrook had 27 points, 17 rebounds and 15 assists, and the Thunder and the 76ers went basket-for-basket in a three-overtime thriller before Oklahoma City pulled out a 119-117 victory Friday night. Andre Roberson scored the wi...
Updated: 4 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Dec. 15

Friday’s scoreboardGirls soccerCountryside 7, Clearwater 0Osceola 9, Bradenton Bayshore 0Palm Harbor U. 2, Plant 1Boys soccerPalm Harbor U. 0, Plant 0Lennard 4, Armwood 1
Updated: 4 hours ago

Saturday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYBoxingMiddleweights: Lemieux vs. Saunders9:30 p.m.HBOCollege basketballButler vs. PurduenoonFoxMiami at George WashingtonnoonCBSSNLouisville vs. MemphisnoonESPN2Detroit vs. MichigannoonESPNUNC-Greensboro at N.C. StatenoonFSFSeton Hall at Rutgers...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Ryan Callahan out at least 3-4 weeks for Lightning

Ryan Callahan out at least 3-4 weeks for Lightning

When Lightning wing Ryan Callahan took a nasty spill into the boards Thursday night, it didn't look good.Turns out, it wasn't. Callahan will be sidelined indefinitely with an upper body injury, evaluated after three to four weeks, per GM Steve Yzerma...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rangers hold off Pacific-leading Kings

Rangers hold off Pacific-leading Kings

NEW YORK — Rick Nash scored the tiebreaking goal with 3:27 left to lead the Rangers to a 4-2 victory over the Pacific Division-leading Kings on Friday night. Chris Kreider, Kevin Hayes and J.T. Miller scored to help New York win for the second time i...
Updated: 4 hours ago