Did you watch the Big Game? I did not.

I used some of that time to do some quick research instead, because of what I have been thinking about schools, the Pros, and the everylovin’ fans.

So: What would happen if every school PE and Health class included something like the following information? If you make it to the NFL you will have in any year a 1% chance of injury leading to permanent paralysis, a 5% chance of permanent brain damage, and a 15% chance of spinal cord injury., also permanent.

Well. The large insurance companies who are in a legal battle with the NFL might have more precise numbers. Mine are broad estimates,  based on an NFL roster of maybe 1500 players, and a study of these pro football injuries 1977-1998. (Try looking up “NFL health issues” on Wikipedia, or a broader inquiry to Mr. Google for a better picture.)

I ask this question to suggest that, given its huge audiences, football on all levels is a cultural issue– even before we look at health or education. You can imagine what howls a sportscaster would provoke, for example, if he or she broadcast my question.

Among the many counterarguments to my “football as gladiator entertainment” screed, I only want to address one: Of  those whose say something like “It’s a personal choice. The players know the risks and want the ($$$) rewards,” I would ask that they look closely at what the players — present and retired– and their representatives including the Players Association, are themselves  saying.

Some of the readers of this post may be bigger football boosters than their favorite linebacker. And for some — both players and fans — the Stupor of my title will not be metaphorical.