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    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    OT - Joe Montana and the perils of contact sports

    Sad story in the news today about Joe Montana. He's "only" 59 and is practically disabled from all of the abuse he suffered as an NFL and college quarterback over the years. I've always like Montana even though I'm not a SF fan. Makes you appreciate sports like cycling, which you can participate in without destroying your body (unless you get hit by a vehicle or crash). I'm 62 and have no trouble cycling about 150-200 miles a week on average, and I hope to continue for many more years.

    Joe Montana at 59: 'I can't really run or do much'
    Joe Montana at 59: 'I can't really run or do much'

  2. #2
    Assets Only Deal4Fuji's Avatar
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    From my earliest memories as a kid watching football, 2 guys I remember getting hit hard and often were Minnesota quarterback Joe Kapp and Washington running back Larry Brown ... I wonder how those guys are doing today?

  3. #3
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    I think it is worth distinguishing between pro level anything and recreational athletes. Given the horrendous crashes we see every year in the pro peloton, and the toll riding grand tours takes on the body, I suspect retired pro cyclists have their share of health problems as well.

  4. #4
    Seat Sniffer Biker395's Avatar
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    I prefer to focus on what I CAN do. With that in mind consider this ... even with all that damage, I'll bet he can still ride a bike.
    Proud parent of a happy inner child ...
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  5. #5
    Senior Member canklecat's Avatar
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    Yup, the physical abuse and lingering after effects are why I don't begrudge pro athletes every penny they earn. I'm wondering whether BMXer Dave Mirra suffered some lingering brain damage from his bout with meningitis, along with concussions and lingering pain from the sport. Seems like depression, self medicating and suicide are a recurring theme with retired athletes from high-impact sports.

    And I wish boxing was better regulated to ensure they're better protected, better paid and have some retirement protection to fall back on because the likelihood of dementia and head injury complications are extremely high. I quit amateur boxing in my early 20s after experiencing fierce headaches even when I won bouts and didn't take many head shots.

    But my worst injuries came from traffic accidents while I was driving a car or riding a motorcycle, despite the far more numerous bicycling accidents. It's still hard to beat everyday traffic for risk.
    Why not Zoidberg?

  6. #6
    Beicwyr Hapus Gerryattrick's Avatar
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    I don't know too much about American football other than it's a hard contact sport. If it's gone anything like our rugby has in recent years it has probably got harder. Players who want to make it to the top cannot just rely on skill, they have to develop a huge amount of bulk, as well as speed and stamina. The backs today (the fit, fast & skillful runners) are now bigger than the forwards (the heavy grinders up front) were twenty years ago.

    My physiotherapist treats several current and retired professional players and she tells me she worries about the futures of current professionals with the abuse they put their bodies through to maintain their position in the team - and their wages, and that's without the frequent concussions they get.

    I'm glad I ride bikes and stopped playing rugby forty years ago, although I have suffered my share of accidents and hospitalisation after cycling falls in my 60s including tendon damage, concussion and bleeding on the brain.

    Sport is dangerous.
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    Senior Member big john's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
    I prefer to focus on what I CAN do. With that in mind consider this ... even with all that damage, I'll bet he can still ride a bike.
    He can still make pizza commercials.

  8. #8
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    Did I miss something. I thought Joe Montana played for The New York Jets, not the SFO 49ers.

  9. #9
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian25 View Post
    Did I miss something. I thought Joe Montana played for The New York Jets, not the SFO 49ers.
    You must be thinking of another Joe -- Namath.

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    Biking is saving my life. I was heavy (still am) but I played basketball regularly and went on frequent walks with my dog. I thought I was being physically active. But neither of those activities helped me get and stay in shape and, in fact, left me lame and injured. Then I started biking. My stamina improved, my weight dropped, my legs got stronger, my balance got better and I (almost) never felt lame or got injured. And my game improved as well. In a few years I'll retire and look to move to a region with shorter, milder winters so I can bike more. Thank you biking.

  11. #11
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    I felt some empathy for Tony Romo last year, breaking his collarbone twice in the season. Having clavicle issues myself most of the year. In recent years he's had a herniated disk, fractured back, and shoulder injury. He should retire now - he's had some success, made some good money, and is still healthy and young enough to enjoy it. I wonder if I'm being hypocritical though having dealt with several cycling injuries at my age, and even this week hobbling around after the rabbit incident. The fact is I'm not quitting cycling and he's not quitting football. The rewards are worth the risk.

  12. #12
    Senior Member koolerb's Avatar
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    So many retired pro football players have come forward with brain injury it's effecting the way I look at the sport. It's a fun game to watch, fast paced, exciting, I've always enjoyed it. But now every time I watch a game the thought is lingering in the back of my mind that all these guys are sacrificing their futures for short term fame and fortune.

  13. #13
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tarwheel View Post
    You must be thinking of another Joe -- Namath.
    Who also had his knees destroyed via football. Back in '66 I fractured my ankle playing football in college. I was the starting QB at the time and the coach wanted me playing. So, he told me I had a bad sprain. Played two more games on that ankle before I finally got to the team doctor. I said, "Doc I think this is more than a sprain." He said, "I know. It's fractured. I told the coach that." That afternoon I went and found the coach. Told him he was an ******* and quit. This was at a Division 2 school. Imagine what they play with in the NFL.

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    I am not 50+, but played organized football from 6-20, which included some college before injuries made me a shell. I felt for Montana as I have for other former pro football players. It's a brutal and violent sport. I miss playing even after the toll it took on me physically.

    3 knee procedures, torn rotator cuff, couple of busted fingers. I am 34 and already have degeneration and arthritis in one of my repaired knees.

    Also, 3 confirmed concussions, but I saw "stars" more than that. THAT is the part that worries me having played so long and during brain development years.

    i am still active, and fairly fit. I am glad I stopped when I did. Cycling is great for lower impact and to keep my overall fitness manageable.

    I personally like the changes they are making on reducing some of the unnecessary violence/head blows. The sport will never be safe. But neither is rugby or hockey, or combat sports.

    Finally (sorry about the rambling rant like post), I too am 100% ok with athletes and their salaries. They are entertainers. They make ownership and leagues money. They are no different than actors or musicians in that sense. Plus, specifically with the nfl, they DO NOT have guaranteed contracts. They can be cut at any time, without further pay. They deserve whatever the market will bear when it comes to their salary, just like any other entertainer.

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    When these stories pop up about ex-pro athletes I am always reminded about Sammy Sosa and his back injury. The story was he sneezed and threw out his back. He was out of the line-up for 10 weeks. I figured out that in those 10 weeks he made more money than I will make in my lifetime. I deal with back pain daily. I have a physical job. When my back is giving me fits I may take a day or two off, but that's all I can afford. I work plenty in great pain. My thoughts about these ex-pro athletes who worked a dozen or so years and retired with no financial worries....screw um.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
    The rewards are worth the risk.
    Does Junior Seau's family believe that? How 'bout Mike Webster's? And those are a couple of All time great HOFers. What about Tyler Sash - a guy nobody ever heard of who's dead at age 27 from a drug OD who suffered from advanced CTE.

  17. #17
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by D1andonlyDman View Post
    Does Junior Seau's family believe that? How 'bout Mike Webster's? And those are a couple of All time great HOFers. What about Tyler Sash - a guy nobody ever heard of who's dead at age 27 from a drug OD who suffered from advanced CTE.
    You are talking about after the fact, not risk. Sometimes the risk manifests in injuries and health problems, sometimes it doesn't. The players judge the risk to be acceptable for the rewards.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
    You are talking about after the fact, not risk. Sometimes the risk manifests in injuries and health problems, sometimes it doesn't. The players judge the risk to be acceptable for the rewards.
    Those players in years past were all making that judgment on the basis of incomplete and misrepresented information. The information available to prospective players is now increasing rapidly, and many are choosing to make different decisions - as exemplified by Chris Borland, an emerging star LB for the 49ers who retired after just one season in the NFL.

  19. #19
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by D1andonlyDman View Post
    Those players in years past were all making that judgment on the basis of incomplete and misrepresented information. The information available to prospective players is now increasing rapidly, and many are choosing to make different decisions - as exemplified by Chris Borland, an emerging star LB for the 49ers who retired after just one season in the NFL.
    So you think that pro players now are all lied to, or are too dumb to judge the risks?

    I don't believe that you right about the incomplete and misrepresented information either. CTE possibly wasn't fully understood, but the risk of brain injury was well known and there has been frequent attention to the increasing risk from larger and faster players over the years. You seem to have some issue with the sport, and I don't necessarily disagree with that because doing it over again I probably wouldn't have played even in High School. I played full out like Junior Seau, may have injured a couple of kids, and no it never occurred to me that healthy players could be at risk. But that was in the 70's.

  20. #20
    Senior Member canklecat's Avatar
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    Most athletes don't choose the risk because they aren't fully informed, or, like many of us regardless of age and experience, don't believe it'll happen to us. If they were fully informed and knew the consequences were inevitable... eh, who am I kidding, youth is youth and we never believe it'll happen to us. Otherwise we'd never leave the house and ride our bikes.

    And many athletes, perhaps most, don't retire comfortably with a secure lifetime nest egg. For most professional athletes it's a brief youthful fling, then it's on to the real world and regular jobs, hopefully with body and mind still intact.

    One of the unfortunate ironies of brain damage, particularly the common frontal lobe damage from concussions, is that it hinders the ability to take rational decisions and choices. This may expose the sufferer -- not just athletes but anyone with head trauma -- to become more at risk with each impact, taking more risks, suffering more consequences, in a downward spiral. It can happen to folks who've never participated in any high impact sport, just from falling and suffering concussions, or from health problems involving mini-strokes, various forms of dementia, Parkinson's, and any number of health problems. A common related consequence to the erosion of self-control from brain damage is the tendency to self-medicate with alcohol and drugs, making the problems worse. Anyone who has family members, friends, neighbors or acquaintances with these behaviors knows the drill and probably experiences the common vacillating feelings of empathy, impatience and anger as we watch them ride their roller coasters.

    I can understand resentment, or lack of sympathy, for celebrity athletes who take big risks for the potential of big rewards (not always fulfilled), but perhaps the attention on their plight may bring more attention to the same health consequences experienced by millions of ordinary working folks.
    Why not Zoidberg?

  21. #21
    Senior Member Terex's Avatar
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    There is a belief in the media that the recent suicide of 41 yr. old pro BMX'er Dave Mirra was a result of CTE. Will be interesting to see if the family tries to identify a possible organic cause of his depression.
    "It could be anything. Scrap booking, high-stakes poker, or the Santa Fe lifestyle. Just pick a dead-end and chill out 'till you die."

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
    So you think that pro players now are all lied to, or are too dumb to judge the risks?

    I don't believe that you right about the incomplete and misrepresented information either. CTE possibly wasn't fully understood, but the risk of brain injury was well known and there has been frequent attention to the increasing risk from larger and faster players over the years. You seem to have some issue with the sport, and I don't necessarily disagree with that because doing it over again I probably wouldn't have played even in High School. I played full out like Junior Seau, may have injured a couple of kids, and no it never occurred to me that healthy players could be at risk. But that was in the 70's.
    The fact that you don't believe it doesn't make your premise correct. The information available now is entirely different from the information that was out there 25-30 years ago. The info about concussions and CTE is drastically more comprehensive now than it was then. Players taking up the game then knew that they would likely need hip and knee replacements, and be afflicted with arthritis, but they did not understand the likelihood that they would lose so much of their cognitive abilities.

  23. #23
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by D1andonlyDman View Post
    The fact that you don't believe it doesn't make your premise correct. The information available now is entirely different from the information that was out there 25-30 years ago. The info about concussions and CTE is drastically more comprehensive now than it was then. Players taking up the game then knew that they would likely need hip and knee replacements, and be afflicted with arthritis, but they did not understand the likelihood that they would lose so much of their cognitive abilities.
    I haven't stated a premise, but the facts I've brought up are correct. Regardless, these pros haven't been playing pro ball for 25-30 years, so what players were told 25 years ago hasn't much to do with players now being misinformed. Even so, I know first-hand what we did know 30 years ago about concussions, because I knew it then It is not drastically different. We were very much aware of the likelihood of losing cognitive abilities from concussions.

  24. #24
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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  25. #25
    Trek 500 Kid Zinger's Avatar
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    Here's a guy suffering from Parkinson's. He's '80s American criterium king Davis Phinney. I remember him winning a crit in the now defunct Coors Classic with a broken wrist. In this instance he'd just gotten up from a crash and was probably looking down at something on his bike when he hit this support vehicle which wasn't supposed to be stopping on the road. His son races in the pros for BMC and is just now recovering from a race related broken leg.

    Dale Stetina is another '80s cycling star recovering from a head injury sustained on a common ride related crash. There is risk and danger in contact sports alright and somewhat lesser risk just getting on a bike and riding. If we start legislating these activities there's no telling where we should draw the line.

    I do agree that youngsters parents should think twice about letting their kids participate in contact sports knowing what we know now. As far as outlawing boxing goes, I imagine American fighters would probably just go down to Aruba to fight if we did so, and without the medical scrutiny that they have in the states.
    Last edited by Zinger; 02-06-16 at 06:15 PM.
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