Death of high school footballer re-ignites safety concerns

16 year-old Tyrell Cameron lost his life on the football field last week in a high school game while covering a punt in the 4th quarter.

16 year-old Tyrell Cameron lost his life on the football field last week in a high school game while covering a punt in the 4th quarter.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

An unfortunate injury caused during a high school football game resulted in the death of 16 year-old player Tyrell Cameron on Friday September 4, 2015. Cameron died later that night after breaking his neck during a routine punt coverage in the fourth quarter of a Louisiana high school football game.

Johnny Ogden, an investigator with the parish coroner’s office told USA Today Sports that “Life-saving measures were performed and CPR was performed, but he was pronounced dead (at the hospital).”

De'Antre Turman, 16, also lost his life on the high school football field in 2013.

De’Antre Turman, 16, also lost his life on the high school football field in 2013.

As Cameron’s family, coaches and teammates mourn the loss of a young life, Coach Barry Sebren expressed his team’s grief, saying: “It was a routine play. It was such a tragedy, so unfortunate. We’re gonna miss him. He’s a great player and even better person. That’s what we’re going to miss most about Tyrell.”

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The tragic accident mirrors an eerily similar incident in 2013 where De’Antre Turman of Creekside High School in Union City, Georgia, died while playing in a scrimmage game after he tackled another player. Dr. Daniel Sciubba, an assistant professor of Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University, called Turman’s death, “a very freak accident.” Sciubba added, “It’s just the fact that people are hitting each other as hard as they can and [the neck] area is not immobilized.”

Concussion. a Sony Pictures film starring Will Smith, will be a story about a doctor who uncovers the potential harm from concussions and the difficulty the doctor had in sharing his findings.

Concussion. a Sony Pictures film starring Will Smith, will be a story about a doctor who uncovers the potential harm from concussions and the difficulty the doctor had in sharing his findings.

These incidents are extreme examples of the inherent danger of playing such a violent sport, but the larger question is how are players being protected? Youth football is one of the most popular activities provided to youngsters but questions persist about player safety. Sport neurologist Dr. Anthony Alessi commented recently on the subject stating, “We know that the brain is not fully developed at the youth level. The most successful players in the NFL did not play youth football.”

While officials at all levels of football have been asked to address concerns from fans and participants, expectations increase that the NFL take the lead on player safety. As the NFL continues to deal with lawsuits from former players who maintain that the NFL did not do enough to protect them during their careers, the league has issued the following statement recently:

“We are encouraged by the ongoing focus on the critical issue of player health and safety. We have no higher priority. We all know more about this issue then we did 10 or 20 years ago. As we continue to learn more, we apply those learnings to make our game and players safer.”

Adrian Coxson announced his retirement after suffering the affects of a concussion this NFL off-season.

Adrian Coxson announced his retirement after suffering the effects of a concussion this NFL off-season.

The regular season has begun for high school and colleges across the country and the NFL regular season will begin this Thursday. While there is plenty of excitement for the game, there are some who are having a difficult time balancing their desire for entertainment from this collision sport as more information surfaces about the potential for serious injury for those gifted players. Sony Pictures’ upcoming film, Concussion, featuring Will Smith, will depict the hazards of concussions uncovered by a doctor with access to NFL players and the uphill battle he faced in getting the issue addressed.

Hopefully these tragic stories of aspiring NFL players and other young football players like Tyrell Cameron can inspire changes towards a safer but equally entertaining game.

It is unclear if  tragic stories of aspiring NFL players and other young football players like Tyrell Cameron can inspire changes towards a safer but equally entertaining game.

Meanwhile, this past Labor Day, former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Adrian Coxson, announced his retirement from football. Coxson expressed grave concerns for his health from a concussion he sustained in practice three weeks earlier. Coxson made this statement to the National Football Post:

“I’m retiring because I’m still having symptoms, and my health is more important to me than the game of football,” Coxson told . “It’s been recommended to me by two neurologists and two doctors to retire from football. This last [hit to my head] could be life-damaging. It has taken a great toll on me. This concussion was a bad one. A Grade 3 concussion is real serious.”

The fans of football and family members of players like Cameron, Turman, and Coxson will continue to support a sport they clearly enjoy. As millions more continue to enjoy football going forward, it is likely that greater safety measures will be implemented to allow  players to avoid  more tragic outcomes.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a senior writer and a licensed insurance professional partnered with HealthMarkets. Follow me @GloverIsGood on Twitter.com. Check out www.HealthMarkets.com/cglover for your free health insurance and life insurance quotes.

Revisiting NFL playoff predictions for insight, context, perspective

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By Charles Glover, Jr.

As the final week of the regular season for the National Football League(NFL) approaches this weekend, this writer will revisit predictions made about the playoff teams at the start of the season. Most of the playoff spots are currently unsettled coming into the final weekend, bringing greater excitement and interest in the season finale for NFL teams.

Peyton Manning has led the Denver Broncos to the best record (12 - 3) in the AFC so far.

Peyton Manning has led the Denver Broncos to the best record in the AFC so far.

In the American Football Conference (AFC), the four divisions have already been decided. The winners of those divisions are:

AFC West – Denver Broncos (12 – 3)

AFC East – New England Patriots (11 – 4)

AFC North – Cincinnati Bengals (10 – 5)

AFC South – Indianapolis Colts (10 – 5).

One of the two Wildcard playoff spots is going to the Kansas City Chiefs (11 – 4), while there are several teams vying for the final playoff opening in the AFC. The Miami Dolphins (8 – 7), Baltimore Ravens (8 – 7), San Diego Chargers (8 – 7), and Pittsburgh Steelers (7 – 8) all have different scenarios in which they can make the playoffs if they win their last game this season.

Russell Wilson has led the Seattle Seahawks to the best record in the NFC so far.

Russell Wilson has led the Seattle Seahawks to the best record in the NFC so far.

In the National Football Conference (NFC) only three teams have clinched a playoff birth and none of the divisions have been decided yet. The current division leaders at this time are:

NFC West – Seattle Seahawks (12 – 3)

NFC South – Carolina Panthers (11 – 4)

NFC East – Philadelphia Eagles (9 – 6)

NFC North – Chicago Bears (8 – 7).

Based on conference records, the three teams that have clinched playoff births are the Seahawks, Panthers, and the San Francisco 49ers (11 – 4). The New Orleans Saints (10 -5) or Arizona Cardinals (10 – 5) can clinch the final Wildcard position with a win this weekend. The NFC North division winner will be decided on Sunday afternoon when the Bears face the Green Bay Packers (7 – 7 – 1). The winner of that game makes the playoffs. The same applies to the winner of the NFC East division deciding game between the Eagles and Dallas Cowboys (8 – 7) on Sunday night.

This writer was very wrong in predicting the Houston Texans (2 – 13) and Washington Redskins (3 – 12) would make the playoffs this season as they have the two most dreadful records in the NFL this season. However, there is still a chance that 10 out of the 12 predicted teams will make the postseason this year. The final playoff spot will be decided in the final game of the NFL regular season.–OnPointPress.net–

 

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training specialist. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.

The NBA could achieve talent, economic parity, if it embraces the NFL’s draft model

 

 

Andrew Wiggins (l) and Jabari Parker (r) are the two highest ranked prospects for the 2013-14 NBA draft if they declare themselves eligible for the next NBA season.

Andrew Wiggins (l) and Jabari Parker (r) are the two highest -ranked prospects for the 2013-14 NBA draft if they declare themselves eligible for the next NBA season.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The popularity of the National Football League (NFL) has grown over the past twenty years, while the National Basketball Association (NBA) has seen peaks and valleys in its television interest, fan loyalty and attendance. The NFL has been able to generate greater parity and excitement for its teams in more small market cities compared to the NBA equivalent because star players from college football teams are guaranteed to go to the NFL teams that performed the worst in the previous season but the opposite is true in the NBA.

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was drafted #1 overall in the 2012 draft.

Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck was drafted #1 overall in the 2012 draft.

The NFL draft model ensures that the team with the worst record in the league will receive the first pick. There is also a provision that precludes a team from receiving that coveted first pick in consecutive years. On the other hand, the NBA has a draft lottery that gives a weighted chance at the first pick in the draft according to the records of the teams that did not make the playoffs. The team with the worst record has, at best, a twenty-five percent chance at procuring the top choice in the draft. The small market teams in the NBA would greatly benefit from the NFL draft model as it would give them a better chance to land big name players from college. This would then grow their fan bases.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was drafted #1 overall in the 2011 NFL draft.

Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton was drafted #1 overall in the 2011 NFL draft.

The NFL has seen small-market teams with terrible seasons rebound quickly with the selection of the right players in the draft. In conjunction with other moves in free agency, this results in quick improvements. The Carolina Panthers drafted Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton with the first pick in the 2011 draft and the team is having its best success in several seasons this year. The Indianapolis Colts drafted second generation NFL quarterback Andrew Luck first overall in 2012 and made the playoffs the very next season. These players were big names in college and helped create excitement for the fans of their respective teams while improving the performance of those teams as well.

The New Orleans franchise drafted Anthony Davis with the #1 overall pick in the 2011-12 NBA draft.

The New Orleans franchise drafted Anthony Davis with the #1 overall pick in the 2011-12 NBA draft.

Conversely, in the NBA, the Cleveland Cavaliers won the draft lottery for the third time in ten seasons and picked Anthony Bennett first overall last season. The New Orleans Pelicans (Hornets at the time) selected Anthony Davis with the first pick in the 2011-12 draft. Those teams have yet to see their teams improve to playoff material, yet but many believe that those teams have bright futures. The challenge for the NBA is to have small market teams land stars that can help generate widespread interest which would eventually translate to more money for those franchises.

The Oklahoma City Thunder were able to draft Kevin Durant (l) and Russell Westbrook (r) in consecutive seasons; moves that helped turn their franchise into perennial title contenders.

The Oklahoma City Thunder drafted Kevin Durant (l) and Russell Westbrook (r) in consecutive seasons, moves that helped turn their franchise into perennial title contenders.

The Oklahoma City Thunder organization is the most referenced small market team, loaded with young stars through the draft in the NBA. The challenge for other NBA teams is to land young exciting players that become top-tier talent that can eventually transform a team to a title contender. Small market teams in the NBA have an additional challenge of retaining young stars they initially draft. Some of the biggest stars in the NBA change teams in pursuit of a championship. Parity in the NBA is difficult because many small market teams struggle in putting together consistent winning teams while retaining their drafted stars.

Troy Polumalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers is one of many stars from small market teams, on and off the field, for the NFL.

Troy Polumalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers is one of many stars from small market teams, on and off the field, for the NFL.

The other challenge is few small market teams draft big name stars. The Sacramento Kings, Milwaukee Bucks, Charlotte Bobcats, and Toronto Raptors stand out as teams that are in small markets, have struggled on the court, and have had a difficult time landing stars that can help their teams become playoff contenders. The NFL has big name stars in many small markets, which helps keep interest for those teams, even if they struggle with those stars on their team. Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers’ quarterback), Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings’ running back), Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers’ quarterback), and Troy Polamalu (Pittsburgh Steelers’ safety) are just a handful of NFL stars from small market cities that are regularly featured in commercials. All of these players were also drafted by their current team.

The NBA would have a better chance of achieving the parity it desires if the rules in the NBA draft are changed to decide the order of the draft, based on records. A provision that would help guard against teams intentionally losing games to get the best draft pick is to prevent teams from having the top three picks in consecutive seasons. The potential for landing top-tier talent will always be alluring through the draft because of the potential to have a young star transform a franchise to a winner. The potential draft class for the NBA includes two of the most hyped freshmen in college basketball in years: Andrew Wiggins (Kansas) and Jabari Parker (Duke). It would be phenomenal for the NBA if the best player in the draft had a chance to transform the worst team in the NBA into an exciting championship winner.–OnPointPress.net.

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant.