Thanks for all the viewing hits we took on our episode on head injuries in sport – I guess handsome football players arguing about their safety is a sure win for audience ! Seriously – its been good for us to ask if CFL should take responsibility for the long-lasting repercussions of concussions from football? The NFL’s decision to settle a lawsuit with former players over head injuries has not yet moved the CFL to do the same, despite them facing a $200 million lawsuit just weeks away from a court hearing.
The Concussion Legacy Foundation, which is one of the organizations studying the link between brain injuries and disease, has found that (CTE) “is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes… and others with a history of repetitive brain trauma… Possible symptoms include memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, paranoia, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and eventually progressive dementia. Symptoms can begin to appear months, years, or even decades after trauma has ended.”
So, why does a Christian care there could be head injuries in sport? Because we must remember that the spiritual dimension is always at play in our lives. The physical body is a gift from God, and how we treat it is called stewardship. So, whether you are a pro-athlete or just playing a pick-up game of hockey, when competition goes above human life to crush our own bodies and psyches, and maybe cause a brain injury, well, that’s a big stewardship issue. But we should not live in fear of injuries. God did not give “us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control” (2 Tim. 1:7). Knowing the risks, we should work to be change-agents.
That would mean play sports in a way that respects the body and health of all the players. Science has taught us a lot more about concussions, but the Bible teaches us about wisdom and respect. Wisdom is always fueled by personal disciplines; how you behave starts with how you think. There are many athletes who find that having a personal relationship with Jesus helps them think and act wisely. So, when you see those shots of the pro athletes thanking God, pointing to heaven, and bowing a knee in prayer, it’s a high-profile trigger that the athlete finds Jesus to be a source for power, and self-control. It’s a good reminder that even sports are an opportunity to use God’s wisdom.