WNBA OR CTE?

By | June 20, 2024 | 0 Comments

When I was a kid, I loved to watch boxing. To me a knockout was simply a decisive win. But then I saw a film explaining that the brain inside the skull was like a bowl of jello. If you moved the bowl left, the jello mold lagged behind and then oscillated a few times. If you then moved the bowl right, the same thing happened in reverse. Every time I saw a good hit in boxing, much less a knockout, I thought about that jello mold, and my enjoyment evaporated.

I don’t follow basketball closely, much less the WNBA. But even a nerd like me watches Caitlin Clark sprawling on the hardwood floor, swatted in the face, or hit on the head. Yes, “It’s basketball” in the sense that it isn’t hockey. But it doesn’t need to be basketball. Because if it continues to be basketball, I don’t have to be a prophet to predict how long 22-year-old Clark’s career will last. Even if she is lucky and doesn’t tear an ACL or have some other orthopedic problem, her active career will probably be over by age 25.

A series of minor brain injuries can be as serious as one big one. We need to understand that repeated TBIs (traumatic brain injuries) often lead to CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) and then to dementia. The same thing goes for the men. But women may be more subject to TBIs. Their longer necks allow the head to move more after a given blow.

It would be good to see Clark amass a huge pro record. It would be better to see her relating to her grandchildren as an old lady. She is an outstanding basketball player. But she is also a human being. Try to remember that.

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