I learned this season that I just don’t enjoy watching football anymore. It started as a love/hate relationship with the sport and as more science has come out, has become more and more of a disgust with it. The ethical dilema — watching men destroy their bodies and brains in the name of entertainment — has simply become too much.
Data artist Josh Begley edited together the above video documenting concussions suffered in NFL games this year. It’s a rough watch. I’m glad they decided to run the footage in reverse, it’s a little jarring at first but I agree with Greg Dorsainville, run forward it’s just another “big hit” reel for 2017.
If it was in forwards it would be like any big hits package you see in an espn highlight show where we celebrate the football and hit and not mourn the result of the moment: a human in pain, disorientation, and slowly killing themselves.
— The Fire This Time (@sciencelifeny) February 1, 2018
There’s a good article about the video over at The Intercept:
The NFL has done a masterful job at mainstreaming the violence of the game, so that fans and spectators don’t feel too bad about what’s actually happening out there. No single word has protected the NFL from the true costs of this violence more than “concussion.” That word puts a protective barrier between us and what’s really going on out on the field.
It’s not a headache. It’s not “getting your bell rung.” You don’t have a bell. It’s a traumatic brain injury. Every single concussion is a new traumatic brain injury. In addition to the torn ACLs and MCLs, in addition to all of the horrible broken bones, the NFL diagnosed at least 281 traumatic brain injuries this season. And no document has ever quite displayed the horror of it all like “Concussion Protocol,” a film by Josh Begley and Field of Vision.