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The Pro-Concussion Backlash

Congress has announced it will be holding another hearing on the effect of brain injuries in football, this time in Texas. The rationale for the location:

The committee member Linda T. Sánchez, Democrat of California, said in a telephone interview that Houston was chosen largely because of the popularity of the sport in Texas, which was also one of the first states to pass legislation addressing brain injuries in youth football.

Maybe so. There's another good reason, though: Texas has turned into the epicenter for the backlash against efforts to protect players from brain injuries.

Last month, Texas Tech player Adam James, son of ESPN analyst Craig James, reported a concussion. His coach, Mike Leach, confined James to an equipment shed where he was not allowed to sit or lean for two hours. After refusing the administration's demand that he apologize, Leach was fired.

The reaction shows how little new information about concussions and long-term brain damage has penetrated the football fanbase, of which I am an avid member. The general reaction is that James is a crybaby who should tough out a ding to his wittle noggin. This column, "Daddy's Little Girl," captures the essence of the reaction. Even Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post declared in a horrifying column, "Texas Tech Coach Mike Leach has lost his job and his reputation because he didn't treat the subject of concussions with the appropriate cringing political correctness, or the son of an influential TV star with enough soft deference."

Softness. Political correctness. That's the reaction to medical evidence showing a high risk of long-term brain damage. Good luck with your hearing, Congress.

Meanwhile, here's a fan rant against Leach's firing that's making the rounds: