Rainy day today at Giants training camp so we were inside the field house at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, NJ. The Giants practiced for just under two hours and covered all facets of the game.
After practice several players and head coach Ben McAdoo addressed the media. Besides the routine questions about the intricacies of the game; CTE was the topic du jour. Recently, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was asked about his own head injury history and said:
"I don’t want to get into things that happened in my past, certainly medical history and so forth, I really don’t think that’s anybody’s business."
This is a hot button issue in the NFL, as a recent study of 111 brains of NFL players revealed 110 of the 111 were found to have CTE. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a degenerative disease believed to be caused by repeated blows to the head.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning was asked about revealing injury history and more specifically about CTE. Eli answered the way you’d expect him to. He said guys don’t like to talk about injuries or worry about them too much, which makes perfect sense. Football is a game that requires appropriate fear. If you’re hesitant, or worried about injury, you’re in trouble. It requires a singular, laser sharp focus. Its gladiator nature and the “warrior” mentality it breeds are lauded and celebrated every week during the fall and winter seasons. It was very telling that Eli never said the term CTE. Always referred to as head injury or that situation.
But, Eli couldn’t escape the obvious reality that the game does cause long term health issues for many players. He expressed sympathy for those former players and their families and also said he understood why some current players are retiring early. For his own part, Eli said he’s been fortunate and hasn’t had any head injuries, and he hopes for the best in regards to head trauma.
Hoping for the best is not exclusive to football players, that’s how human beings make it through life. Optimism and hope are essential to your day to day existence. It provides the strength and resolve to continue on when things seem bleak. However, there is the other side. Luck plays a huge role in injury, and there are so many factors and variables at play in the game of football that are outside of a player’s control. Even if players do hope for the best, they’d be best served to also make sure they’re prepared for the worst.