Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
Baseball is no longer America’s pastime. It’s football, with incredible popularity.
Football is like a religion, entrenched in the fabric of American society, from Pee Wee level all the way up the professional ranks.
And yet there are those who want to kill the sport. Daniel Flynn writes about the attack on the beloved game in The War on Football: Saving America’s Game .
Flynn spoke to Tom Hawkins who runs the blog, Right Wing News. Here are excerpts from the interview:
“There was a widespread belief in the popular press in reading columns by people like George Will that football players die decades before the average American men. Because of the suspicion the NFL Players Association petitioned the federal government to do a mortality study on NFL players. So the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health did a study on every player who played between 1959 and 1988, every player who played five or more seasons, pension vested players.
“What they found was really shocking to some of the folks at the Players Association. They expected to find an 18 percent death rate and instead they found a 10 percent death rate. So the players are living longer than their peers in society. Their rates of heart disease, their rates of cancer and respiratory illness are dramatically reduced and I think what shocked people the most is that the rate of suicide is 2 1/2 times greater amongst the players’ peers in society than it is amongst the players themselves.
“Last year one academic article claimed that there were 300,000 sports related concussions every year. Another one that I read said that there were up to 3.8 million sports related concussions a year. So, if the doctors can’t get concussion counts right within a factor of 12, if their counts are all over the place, it gives you an indication of how little we know about not only concussions, but chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerate brain condition that just within the last decade has been found within some football players.
“Football hasn’t grown especially hard, society has grown really, really soft and football clashes with our culture that is obese and passive/aggressive. It’s an indoor, antiseptic culture and football goes against all of that. Football is a muddy, rough game where the primary activity is physical violence and because it’s so different from our culture, that’s why we love football. But it’s a double-edged sword. It’s also the reason why there are so many people that have it in for football.
“We constantly hear that the players are bigger and they’re faster and they’re stronger and intuitively we think, ‘Well, that means the game is deadlier,’ but the reality is the game isn’t deadlier. It’s much safer. You know more kids died last year on American football fields getting struck by lightning than getting struck by other players. I think that puts things really into perspective for people that are fans of the game.
“There’s a crisis among American boys now where they’re placed in front of screens and they play video games, they do Facebook, but you rarely see them outdoors playing stickball, touch football, hide-n-go seek, any of the type of games that we would play with neighborhood kids when we were young. That’s something that has gone missing in American culture.”
Food for thought as you enjoy a ballgame this weekend.