Sam Burnham, Curator
During the off-season we’re gonna talk about issues surrounding the game. We may discuss some historical stories as well.
I want to focus this article on the issues of TBI, CTE, and other injuries that are related to football. Concussions are typical as are tears in the tissues of knees. We’ve seen great strides made over the years in the treatment of knee injuries, including surgeries, rehabilitation, and physical therapy.
With colleges and universities raking in millions on the sport, they have a lot on the line for the sport’s survival. I’d hope this article wouldn’t be necessary. I would hope they would be stumbling over themselves to address the issue. It works for all injuries but it is coming to a head over CTE.
ESPN’s coverage of the somber anniversary of Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski is probably the most recent on the issue. The 21 year old’s suicide has been connected to CTE. This follows a pattern of former players who had similar deaths, including NFL star Junior Seau.
Schools are fielding teams and are employing trained and certified athletic trainers to provide critical medical care to student athletes. This trade is passed down through a training staff that includes students who work along professional trainers to gain practical experience to accompany their work in the classroom. This is imperative to the survival of the sport.
Schools also have staffs of equipment managers managers who bear the responsibility of issuing the needed equipment thereby each player has all the correct protective equipment and that it is fitted properly.
These two staffs need the right knowledge, tools, and equipment if football has a future.
Here’s where colleges need to step up more.
Where do doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, pharmacists, therapists, engineers, practically everyone who can have an impact on injury prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and recovery get their education and training? That’s right, at our colleges and universities. They are sitting on all the resources they need. Schools of medicine, science, and engineering located at our major research institutions have the patients on campus, they have the knowledge to begin to study this problem, not with lip service but with actual work. They have the researchers, the professionals who can deliver treatment. Every piece of the puzzle is on campus.
Schools could partner together to work on the issue. Smaller schools may not have all the components, even a larger school might be better equipped to address medical or engineering, but not both. But collaborating with a school that can offer the missing pieces could advance the cause. Perhaps if the ACC, SEC, Big 10, PAC 12, or Big 12 worked on this with their member institutions the pieces could be assembled.
While such an an effort could rescue football, it also would advance treatment and even prevention of TBI in the general population. This has ramifications for industry, transportation, and other categories. And any progress would be thanks to our favorite sport and the efforts to make sure it will be around for generations to come.
Rank Team Points
1. Clemson 50 (5)
2. Alabama 43
3. Notre Dame 39
4. Ohio State 31
5. Texas 26
6. Oklahoma 23
7. LSU 17
8. Georgia 16
9. Kentucky 8
10. Florida 7
Also receiving votes: UCF 5, Washington State 3, Army 2, Northwestern 2, Oklahoma State 2
Every once in a while you get to see a team that puts everything together in one game. Monday was one of those nights.
While Curator & Coach both picked Clemson, neither could have predicted what happened.
True freshman Trevor Lawrence found receivers who made some of the most amazing catches of the season. Sophomore running back Travis Etienne carried the ball flawlessly. Clemson’s defense stopped Bama at every turn, despite the absence of star junior DT Dexter Lawrence. The Tigers stopped the Tide twice in the red zone, including a goal line stand to start the 4th quarter.
Bama made uncharacteristically foolish errors in an attempt to make something, anything, happen. Most notably, a fake field goal attempt failed and Lawrence turned that opportunity into a 74 yard TD pass.
Dabo Swinney’s staff executed a game plan that handed Nick Saban the worst loss in his head coaching career. Most shocking of all was seeing Bama quit. In the second half, the Tide just didn’t respond. Expecting to see halftime adjustments and a rejuvenated Tide come out of the tunnel, viewers instead saw Bama’s body language slowly morph into malaise and, eventually, surrender.
Clemson beat them until they quit. And that is the concise commentary on this game.
And so it's time to say congratulations to the new national champions, the Clemson Tigers.
When we were kids we loved pro wrestling. We knew it was scripted and choreographed and the the outcome was predetermined but we still loved it. We had a theory that if it were “real” and there was no plan that Andre the Giant would have beaten everyone every time...except for one. When we saw Big John Studd come out, straddle-step over the top rope, and look Andre in the face, we knew this would be the match up Andre could lose.
That's the match up we have in the CFB Playoff finals. Bama is the juggernaut, the unbeatable giant that can crush any opponent. But then Clemson comes out, maybe not quite as big, not quite as strong, but big enough to look the giant in the face and say, “you’re gonna have to throw your best out there tonight. Your average ain’t gonna cut it tonight.”
The Tide comes into Levi’s Stadium led by Heisman runner-up Tua Tagovaiola. The Tigers are led by freshman phenom Trevor Lawrence. The match ups across the line mirror that of the field generals. Clemson might be a little less noted, a little less famous, but they get the job done. Their performance against Notre Dame demonstrates that they belong in the title game.
Bama is gonna be the favorite but don’t count Clemson out. Even with suspended players, they’re going to be prepared. Clemson's defensive front will put pressure on Tegovaiola, something only Georgia has done so far. Clemson will have the discipline and the determination to stay in the game. They won't make foolish mistakes for Alabama to capitalize on. Alabama is going to have to complete a three day run against Georgia, Oklahoma, and Clemson. Even with the breaks, that;s not an easy task. Dabo Swinney has been on this stage before. He’s stared across at Alabama before. And if anyone is gonna beat Alabama, Clemson is a team that can do it.
We're both looking for an upset.
The Curator and other knowledgeable voices...mostly Southerners... on the subject