Doctor has concussion concerns

November 16, 2016 12:59 PM

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – The risk of playing football is not worth the reward. So says a retired physician who has studied epidemiology, the study of disease and disability in human populations. Dr. Nick Wright says the school district has an obligation to protect the teenagers playing football from concussions – getting their bell rung – and the effects later in life of chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

"On the field and in locker rooms, they were dings and bell ringers,” Wright said. "This is, for the most part, an epidemic in slow motion."

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Wright says he had to lobby just to be heard on this issue and it was item seven before the Mount Greylock Regional School Committee Tuesday night. Committeeman Chris Dodig was first to counter Wright’s argument and says hockey and lacrosse can be violent and he didn’t mention them. Wright says he couldn’t find comparable data like there is with football.

“The NFL makes playing football cool just like Joe Camel & the Marlboro Man before them made smoking cigarettes cool and until we change that, it’s going to be very hard to change the way that people think,” said Dodig.

Wright says now that the season is over for the #2 Mount Greylock Mounties, who lost in the closing seconds last Friday to #Turners Falls for Western Massachusetts Division IVA championship at Williams College, it’s time to end football and petition the state for a flag football team. That way, kids can still learn the game but they can then learn a lot of other things later in life, Wright said.

"It is clear that return to play after concussion protocols protect the game and the sponsoring institutions more than the players,” Wright said in a prepared statement.

During comments after the presentation, Dodig said, "I understand, I agree with you but I just don't think it's a decision for the school committee to make."

Wright countered: "This is the tradition of our public schools, local control, local action, control over the education and the health of our children."

Committeewoman Wendy Penner said that after seeing Wright's numbers, if she had a son, she would not let him play football.


John Craig

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