Like Turkey & Gravy: Thanksgiving and the NFL

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Male turkey, photo courtesy of Nordelch.

Yep, they ‘go together’ …..well, maybe not like “….rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong,” but the fit is surely as tight and traditional as turkey and gravy.

Today is Thanksgiving; I have the day off; and I’ll be sitting down for a feast, both of food and of football.

The day is loaded with gridiron football:  Lions v. Bears, Cowboys v. Eagles, and Seahawks v. 49ers. The colleges, too, have some intriguing games:  can TCU win and perhaps leap into the top 4 of the college football playoff standings?

Whether or not you are a fan of their respective teams, who can’t get interested in the rivalry between Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh, which extends back to their days at USC and Stanford.

“We bow to no man, we bow to no program at Stanford football,” said Harbaugh.  And the two men–and programs they run–continue to go after each other at the professional level. The Seahawks/Niners game should be a good one.

Yes, it will be a great day to enjoy football.

It sure has been a difficult season to do the same.

The New York Times ran a very interesting piece in their Sunday magazine earlier this month:  “Is Football the Next Tobacco?” speculating on whether NFL quarterback will go the way of, well, the Marlboro Man.  America, the magazine of the U.S. Jesuits, also ran a thoughtful piece on ‘what will become of football.‘  And going from the angels to the devils, so to speak, the journalists at Vice sports wrote what I think is a very insightful analysis of what they term the ‘concussion-industrial complex.’  The author echoes many of my concerns over the nexus of sport/injury/fear/business that sports-related concussion has come to represent in modern sport.

Even Saturday Night Live has riffed on the subject, with a very funny segment that aired last week and lampooned several aspects of the ‘concussion crisis.’

On the evidence-based, sports medicine side, we continue to contribute to the conversation over how best to diagnose and manage concussions in our athletes.  In our most recent, November journal, we have a Letter to the Editor from the former President of CASEM Pierre Fremont which addresses concerns over an earlier editorial in CJSM on whether it is time to re-think the Zurich consensus statement and guidelines on concussion.  We were able to interview the authors of that statement in our first podcast; that would make an enjoyable listen for this holiday weekend.  And don’t forget to check our “Published On-Line First” section of the journal’s website, which includes a queue of original research articles that are lined up to be published in print in 2015….but can be viewed right now on-line.  The offerings include a study with important findings on what is special about pediatric concussions by Johna Register-Mihalik et al.

The topic of concussion comes up frequently in the blog as well, of course.  Our review of the television documentary, “League of Denial,” is just one of the many posts we have written on sports-related concussions over the last few years.

Football and feast:  whether you are enjoying this Thursday as the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, or getting closer to your weekend elsewhere…..I hope you all have a restful and safe few days ahead of you.  For all of us here at CJSM, I can tell you this Thanksgiving how thankful we are to have you engaged with this journal in advancing the research into the health and safety of the athletes we al care for.

All the best.

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About sportingjim
I work at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio USA, where I am a specialist in pediatric sports medicine. My academic appointment as an Associate Professor of Pediatrics is through Ohio State University. I am a public health advocate for kids' health and safety. I am also the Emerging Media Editor for the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine.

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