Sunday, February 25, 2018
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
Elkanah Kibet wins the menís Gasparilla half-marathon

Elkanah Kibet wins the menís Gasparilla half-marathon

TAMPA — Only a few feet separated Elkanah Kibet and Parker Stinson as they headed down the homestretch in Sunday's Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic half-marathon.Kibet made his move at the right time, surging ahead and holding off the hard-ch...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Sara Hall sets course record in womenís Gasparilla half-marathon

Stephanie Bruce returned Sunday to defend her title at the Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic half-marathon. She ran a blistering pace, shaving 50 seconds off her time from last year to finish well under the course record.Still, it was not enough to ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
On what Odorizzi has to feel good and bad about after trade from Rays to Twins

On what Odorizzi has to feel good and bad about after trade from Rays to Twins

Two things were pretty clear in talking to RHP Jake Odorizzi this morning in Fort Myers about being traded from the Rays to Twins.He couldn't be much happier than to be a new that that has legitimate playoff aspirations, and that he feels for those h...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Any deadline move wonít be cure-all for Lightning

Any deadline move wonít be cure-all for Lightning

The Lightning could very well add another defenseman by Monday's trade deadline, whether it's the bigger fish like Erik Karlsson or Ryan McDonagh, or depth piece like Mike Green.But, either way, one addition won't automatically cure some of the team-...
Updated: 3 hours ago
For starters, Rays at Twins, with Venters making first spring outing since 2013

For starters, Rays at Twins, with Venters making first spring outing since 2013

As the Rays head back to Fort Myers today for a game on the other side of I-75 to take on the Twins at 1:05, there are several spring debuts worth noting:First, that LHP Jonny Venters, trying to make it back to the majors for the first time since 201...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Ex-Rays prospect Andrew Toles working his way back from knee surgery for Dodgers

Ex-Rays prospect Andrew Toles working his way back from knee surgery for Dodgers

SURPRISE, Ariz. — Andrew Toles made a two-base error and went 0-for-3, and his team lost. All told, it was still a pretty good day for the Dodgers left fielder.In his first game since a serious knee injury last May, the former Rays prospect ret...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Florida boosts NCAA resume by beating No. 12 Auburn 72-66

Florida boosts NCAA resume by beating No. 12 Auburn 72-66

GAINESVILLE — KeVaughn Allen finally got the message. It took a scoreless game and long chats with coach Mike White and two teammates to sink in.Allen bounced back from his worst game in more than three years with 24 points, including a 60-foot...
Published: 02/24/18
Updated: 02/25/18
Winter Olympics: Sundayís viewing schedule

Winter Olympics: Sundayís viewing schedule

TV Sunday5 a.m.–7 p.m. NBCSNHockey (M) — Gold-medal game, athletes from Russia vs. Germany (replay)1968 — A 90-minute documentary, narrated by four-time gold medalist and 23-time Grand Slam singles tennis champion Serena Willia...
Published: 02/24/18
Chad Reed sets Supercross mark; Eli Tomac wins 450SX main event

Chad Reed sets Supercross mark; Eli Tomac wins 450SX main event

By JIM TOMLINTimes CorrespondentTAMPA — Chad Reed is having a down season by his standards. At Saturday's Monster Energy Supercross event at Raymond James Stadium, his home track, he needed a second chance just to make the main event.But the Da...
Published: 02/24/18
Ondrej Palat skating, likely mid-March return

Ondrej Palat skating, likely mid-March return

MONTREAL — It is an encouraging sign for the Lightning that wing Ondrej Palat (right) is back on the ice, even if he is doing just light skating.Palat is arguably the team's best two-way forward, someone who plays in all situations, so Tampa Ba...
Published: 02/24/18