Super Sunday

rachel nichols

Some of the media absurdity, and social media fun, in the run up to the Super Bowl

Why is Marshawn Lynch not talking?

Will #DeflateGate show up in the next edition of Webster’s dictionary?

Might Richard Sherman be in a hospital labor and delivery room rather than the stadium on Super Bowl Sunday?

The two week period between the NFL conference championships and the Super Bowl is at last, blessedly, over and it’s time for the real deal, the big kahuna, the game itself:  #PatriotsVsSeahawks.

There is so much room to fill in this fortnight that the media gets a little loopy, and many of the questions being asked with bated breath are, as the above sampling would indicate, fairly ridiculous.

One redeeming dimension to this tempest is that some clever folk get the opportunity to emphasize the absurdity of it all: I especially enjoyed the Jimmy Kimmel spoof of the DeflateGate controversy, “I am the locker room guy,” for which I owe Rachel Nichols a big thank you:  her tweet first made me aware of this hilarious video.

There has been the opportunity, as well, for what I think are intelligent analyses of the current state of the NFL, and of American football itself.  Mother Jones–a magazine not typically paired with, say, Sports Illustrated–recently ran an article entitled “The NFL’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year” and which began with a statement which sounds like the NFL apocalypse is nigh:  “From domestic violence and concussions to racist team names and angry cheerleaders, 2014 was a rotten year for pro football.”  Katy Perry–the singer who will perform at halftime this Sunday and the person with the largest twitter following on the planet–made what I think was a particularly concise evaluation of the multiple domestic violence issues occurring this season:  “It wasn’t an image problem–it was a problem.”

Many of the articles I’ve been reading in various periodicals have direct relevance to those of us in the universe of sports medicine.  The New York Times has done a great job in the past several days profiling the increasing awareness of injury risks associated with football; examples include an article on NFL outreach to mothers to assure them of football’s relative safety (and ensure for the league a pipeline of young talent coming their way) and an article profiling the recent study in Neurology purporting to demonstrate the long-term cognitive effects of initiating contact before the age of 12.

The Guardian even stepped into the fray with a very interesting piece on the potential for a measles outbreak in Arizona:  the massing of large populations; the recent outbreak of the disease in nearby California; and the relative lack of herd immunity (thanks to historically low rates of vaccination), contribute to a ‘perfect storm’ of contagion. The most deadly of childhood febrile exanthems–according to the CDC–may make for a post-Super Bowl hangover that won’t go away.

Like many of us who go into sports medicine, though, I do love sports, warts and all.  I am looking forward to a good game between New England and Seattle…..and a respite from the silly stories.

I am looking forward, too, to the research that will eventually come out of the NFL Player’s Association $100 million dollar grant to Harvard looking at player safety.  That’s a 10 year project, and so much of what will be found is still years away.  I am confident, as the evidence comes in, that some of the manuscripts to be published will be found in the pages of CJSM.  I am eager to discuss that research with you along the way.  Super Bowl L (actually Super Bowl 50–the NFL is dispensing with the Roman numerals for a year) will surely have more medically relevant stories seen in a new, evidence-based context…..and, of course, more inanity.

For now:  good luck to both teams.  May the players stay safe on Super Bowl Sunday. And….one last question:

Will Marshawn Lynch grab his crotch in celebration?

See you all next week.


The Safety of Artificial Turf vs. Grass as a Sport Playing Surface

Mo soccer

Safety aside, soccer and a muddy, grass field: a boy’s idea of heaven!

The World Cup has arrived, at last, and brought with it already the first controversy of the tournament: did Fred flop?
But in the world of football/soccer, there is another, older controversy: turf vs. grass. We revisit this issue by looking at a previous blog post (it is very difficult to write while watching Mexico vs. Cameroon!).
Turf vs. grass: which is safer? Take a read, and let us know what you think.

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine Blog

I was interviewed last week for a newspaper article which looked at the debate over a local school’s intention to transform a grass playing surface to artifical turf.

Among the controversies in sports medicine, the turf vs. grass wars are not the loudest nor the meanest, but they have been among the most persistent ever since 1966, when the Houston Astros first introduced a synthetic turf playing surface in the Astrodome, and dubbed it Astroturf.

Picture_of_Reliant_Astrodome Reliant Astrodome

The history of the Astrodome makes for interesting reading:  of note, the original intention was for the surface to be natural grass, and the makers of the dome had installed traslucent skylights to allow for grass to grow on the indoor surface.  Alas, not enough light made it to the playing surface, the grass died, and Astroturf was born.

The progress of science and technology have seen Astroturf give way to…

View original post 1,378 more words



The iconic Empire State Building:
Super Bowl in view.
Photo: Daniel Schwen

After all the talk about Manning’s comeback, Sherman’s rant, the NYC vs. NJ rivalry, and the weather….we have come at last to Super Bowl Sunday. The high holiday of American football.

The collision, not just of two football teams but also of a vast sporting event and the NYC/NJ media megalopolis, has created predictable fireworks.  For example, you can tweet a prediction of who will win the game, with the hashtag #WhosGonnaWin, and determine the lighting color of the  Empire State building itself.

The power of the pen?  No, it’s the power of the tweet!

Getting back to the weather.  It has been frightful, both in North America and Down Under.  The Australian Open almost had player defections over the intense environmental conditions they faced from an uprecedented heat wave.  At the same, a polar vortex swept down over most of Canada and the USA bringing fears of hypothermia, frostbite and other assorted ills to outdoor exercise enthusiasts, sportsmen, and, possibly, spectators.  When all is said and done, however, it appears that Sunday’s Super Bowl game will be played under cold, but tolerable and dry conditions:  the most recent prediction I have seen suggests game time temperature should be just around freezing, and the skies should be clear.

I suspect the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell may have sought some help from Timothy Cardinal Dolan in supplicating the higher powers to ensure the Super Bowl would avoid becoming an Ice Bowl… the last time the NFL championship occurred in the NYC area, in 1962. Read more of this post

An NFL Owner Wants to Know What YOU Think!


My wife suspects I’m more proud of this piece of paper
than I am of my M.D. diploma…….

I had an enjoyable weekend, and I hope you all did as well.  Friday night I was on the sidelines covering an American football game which extended into the late hours because of an extended lightning delay, but after that I had my first relatively free weekend in a while.


The author, circa 1968,
in vintage Packers gear.
There’s a reason he went
into sports medicine rather
than football.







I don’t think I’ve ever shared my bona fides with the readership, but besides being a licensed physician I am, ahem, an owner of a professional sport team*:  the Green Bay Packers,   It was with pride that I attended their game on Sunday…..but it was with sadness that I drove away from the stadium, ‘my’ team having snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Humor aside, it was with real sadness that I wrapped up my weekend, as I caught up with the Sunday newspaper late last night on my return from the game.  I came across this headline:  ‘Auto Accident Claims Life of Football Student-Athlete, Three Others Injured.’

I had just blogged about the new study published ahead of print in CJSM on the subject of motor vehicle accidents in collegiate athletes:  they are the number one cause of death in this population.

I haven’t posted a poll in the blog or on the CJSM main website in a while, and so I thought it was time to do so using this blog post and the study, ‘Motor Vehicle Accidents, the Leading Cause of Death in Collegiate Athletes.’


Here’s what a REAL Packer looks like:
the Hall of Famer, Bart Starr

Without further adieu, then, take a moment now and test your knowledge (hint:  answer is both in the blog post and the study itself; but I’ll also post the answer with in my next blog piece).

*one of 364, 122 shareholders of the Packers as of this writing! Roman Abramovich I am not!

%d bloggers like this: