Pleasures and Pains
Sports provide us the most delirious euphorias, the pure delight of seeing the human body to do what it’s built to do. Sports also kill and maim us.
Two thousand young Americans die of sudden cardiac arrest every year, with perhaps triple the risk in athletes. When hockey enforcer Derek Boogard died at age 28, autopsy showed his brain wrenched into the bizarre atrophy of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Many NFLs veterans die early—inside—from trauma induced dementia; some estimates are linemen get 5 concussions per game. Triathletes and marathon runners have higher rates of atrial fibrillation. Huge numbers of junior high, high school and college athletes experience hip, knee, shoulder and ankle injuries that plague them all their lives, leaving many with multiple orthopedic surgeries by the time they’re 35.