RSVP for Weekly Calls on The Disposability of Men
Imagine embarking on your dream career and, over time, you become unable to perform because your mind and body are invaded, ravaged by an uncontrollable force that is the invariable consequence of your doing what you love.
We all know that one day we will die and we hope that our time will come without the pains and suffering of illness or dis-ease. The organics of death is inevitable. No matter how simple or complex our lives are, genetics and other unknowns—that scientists are continually scratching their noggins over—can take us away from our loved ones too soon. We can exercise, eat right, and get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep hoping to live our best lives and be our healthiest self, yet doing so will not protect us from the dangers of a sport.
There is an assumption that athleticism makes you immune to illness; the rigorous exercise schedule, training, and an overall lifestyle built around fitness gives you access to the best of everything to keep you healthy on and off the field, active or retired. Michael Strahan, Tiki Barber, and Dwayne Johnson, a.k.a. “The Rock” are examples of retired athletes who, despite the injuries they incurred, have successful careers outside of their respective sports. However, over the years we are seeing disturbing news about athletes who have faced the debilitating effects of a lifetime of hard hits, breaks, and fractures—the physical and mental consequences of having played the sport they loved. It’s a difficult road to tow, considering that being an athlete also means that your subjection to injury is a given.
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, simply known as “CTE”, is a dark horse of the NFL and an imminent danger to its players. The rampant denial of its existence and the scientists who are hesitant to conclude that one concussion is the gateway to the disease is troubling. The quandary of research findings versus risk sheds a shameful spotlight on the disease.
Former Carolina Panthers Quarterback Rodney Peete provides a powerful juxtaposition of his life and relationship to the sport he has loved since childhood. In a heartfelt interview on Oprah.com, he speaks candidly about the numerous concussions that he received – from backyard to schoolyard, to high school to college, and then pro, and with each one deemed as “a badge of honor” and never a reason to stop playing. Peete is not alone when it comes to the affection and admiration of the rough and tumble of football. He, like others who endear themselves to the sport and the powerful strength and agility of the players, and its head crashing drama is par for the course, and worried little about any long-term damage. Fast forward to what we know now and although Peete retired from the sport in 2005, he considers what his future may hold, and the inevitability of the illness that will separate him from his identity. He has provided insight into his life and the anticipatory journey into the unknown, and recognizing the anguish that accompanies the knowing. Friend and former member of the New England Patriots Junior Seau was a casualty of the disease, diagnosed with CTE after his death by suicide in 2012.
Peete is concerned that by unwittingly taking for granted the numerous concussions that he received that he put his life in danger. He and his wife are advocates for extensive research and committed to the study, diagnosis, and possible prevention (1,2).
Former fullback for the Philadelphia Eagles Kevin Turner’s documentary-style interview with Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel began in 2010 when he was first diagnosed, ALS, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, an advanced stage of CTE chronicled his six-year battle with the disease. We saw an intimate look at his life, the highs and lows, and his fight to deal with dignity. Kevin’s vulnerability and perseverance showed us that despite his physical decline, he was dedicated to being the best man that he could be – for himself, his family, and friends, who had a tremendous amount of respect for him. He shared the details of his life and provided an honest assessment of his love affair with football, the challenges of accepting that his eldest son, Nolan, wanted to play for his alma mater, University of Alabama, and the likelihood that one day Nolan’s life may reach the same destiny. Kevin accepted that his son loved the game, just as much as he did, and by supporting his son, it brought him joy. Watching him play made Kevin smile and it was a way to bond and connect with Nolan even if physically he was unable to do so. Although the usual father/son moments were lost because he was confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak, football ironically gave them peace. Their nonverbal communication was stronger than any words he could ever utter. Football was Kevin’s legacy to his son. Kevin’s family were aware that no matter how much they supported him and cared for him, in the end, the choice to live, was Kevin’s decision – just as it was his son’s decision to play the sport that sidelined his father. Kevin Turner’s battle ended at the age of 46.
The appeal and popularity of the NFL is at a crossroads and there are reasons for pause and reconsideration. The hard truth of the connection between consistent, repetitive concussions and CTE and the number of athletes who have died from the disease is spreading like wildfire, outpacing the scientific research and development. The NFL has introduced the Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant Program (UNC) to monitor and treat players during the game and alleviate the possibility of a concussion. However, the list of players diagnosed with CTE continues to grow. There is no panacea; football is a dangerous sport.
Maybe one day the reverence for America’s favorite pastime will shift and lean more towards protecting the men who are risking their lives. What would be the outcome or backlash of sidelining football?
RSVP for Weekly Calls on The Disposability of Men
We are proud of our SOCIAL INTEREST GROUPS—WEEKLY PHONE CALLS to help discuss and help solve some of the most difficult challenges the world has today. Calls are for Members Only (although you can join the first call for free). Not yet a member of The Good Men Project? Join now!
What Now? Participate. Take Action. Join The Good Men Project Community.
The $50 Platinum Level is an ALL-ACCESS PASS—join as many groups and classes as you want for the entire year. The $25 Gold Level gives you access to any ONE Social Interest Group and ONE Class–and other benefits listed below the form. Or…for $12, join as a Bronze Member and support our mission. All members see the site AD-FREE!
Please note: If you are already a writer/contributor at The Good Men Project, log in here before registering. (Request new password if needed).
Your ANNUAL PLATINUM membership includes:
1. Free and UNLIMITED ACCESS to participate in ANY of our new Social Interest Groups. We have active communities of like-minded individuals working to change the world on important issues. Weekly facilitated calls that lead to execution of real world strategies for change. Complete schedule here, with new ones starting all the time. We now offer 500 calls a year!
2. Free and UNLIMITED ACCESS to ALL LIVE CLASSES. Learn how build your own platform, be a better writer, become an edit or create social change. Check out our training sessions. As a Platinum member, you can take them all.
3. Invitation to the MEMBERS ONLY Good Men Project Community on Facebook. Connect with other members, network and carry the conversation no one else is having one step further.
4. Access to our PREMIUM MEMBER LIBRARY with our recorded ConvoCasts and classes. ConvoCasts are a new form of media—and you are in them! Only Platinum Members get access to our recordings. And recordings of our classes are really valuable for those who do not have time to take the live classes or just want to review.
5. An ad-free experience. No banner, pop-up, or video ads when you log in.
6. Weekly conference calls with the publisher and other community members. Our weekly calls discuss the issues we see happening in the world of men in a friendly group setting.
7. PLATINUM member commenting badge. Your comments on our website will appear with a platinum member badge, signifying you are a part of our core community.
Price for ANNUAL PLATINUM membership is $50/year.
Your ANNUAL GOLD membership will include:
1. Free access to any ONE Social Interest Groups.Try them out! We have active communities of like-minded individuals working to change the world on important issues. Weekly facilitated calls that lead to execution of real world strategies for change. Complete schedule here, with new ones starting all the time.
2. Free access to any ONE of our live classes. Each month, we have the following: Learn how to be a Rising Star in media, build your own platform, become an advanced writer, become an editor or create social change. Check out our classes here. RSVP for any one class—if you want to take more, just upgrade to an Annual Platinum Membership.
3. Invitation to the MEMBER-ONLY Good Men Project Community on Facebook and all Weekly Conference calls with the Publisher and community. Connect with other members online and by phone!
4. An ad-free experience. No banner, pop-up, or video ads when you are logged in—as long as your membership is active.
5. GOLD commenting badge. Your comments on our website will appear with a gold member badge, signifying you are a part of our core community.
Price for ANNUAL GOLD membership is $25/year.
Your ANNUAL BRONZE membership will include:
1. Invitation to the MEMBER-ONLY Good Men Project Community on Facebook and weekly conference calls with the publisher and community. Connect with other members, network and carry the conversation no one else is having one step further.
2. A listing on our Friends of The Good Men Project page. Your support of our mission is noted and appreciated. See the page here!
3. An ad-free experience. No banner, pop-up, or video ads when you are logged in—as long as your membership is active.
4. BRONZE member commenting badge. Your comments on our website will appear with a bronze member badge, signifying you are a part of our core community.
Price for ANNUAL BRONZE membership is $12/year.
We have groups and calls 7 days a week:
We have pioneered the largest worldwide conversation about what it means to be a good man in the 21st century. Your support of our work is inspiring and invaluable.
Price for ANNUAL BRONZE membership is $12/year.
“Here’s the thing about The Good Men Project. We are trying to create big, sweeping, societal changes—–overturn stereotypes, eliminate racism, sexism, homophobia, be a positive force for good for things like education reform and the environment. And we’re also giving individuals the tools they need to make individual change—-with their own relationships, with the way they parent, with their ability to be more conscious, more mindful, and more insightful. For some people, that could get overwhelming. But for those of us here at The Good Men Project, it is not overwhelming. It is simply something we do—–every day. We do it with teamwork, with compassion, with an understanding of systems and how they work, and with shared insights from a diversity of viewpoints.” —– Lisa Hickey, Publisher of The Good Men Project and CEO of Good Men Media Inc.
Photo credit: Getty Images