RUSH: Snerdley, have you seen this headline in the LA Times today? Tell me if you've seen this. "Teen Athletes with Concussions Should Not Do Homework, Study Says." You missed that? That's why I'm here. I dig deep, and I find this rotgut, stupid insanity, and I tell you what's going on out there. I'm not making it up. "Teen Athletes with Concussions Should Not Do Homework, Study Says."
Don't these people know they're not doing homework anyway? Teen athletes are probably not doing homework. That's why I wrote Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims: Time-Travel Adventures with Exceptional Americans. Anyway, this story in the LA Times has been picked up by several Drive-By Media outlets. You know, we're laying the groundwork for everybody to claim they've got a concussion.
"Coach, I just got concussed out there. I don't think I can go back in the game. Coach, I got a concussion on Saturday night. I can't do any homework. Coach, I just got a concussion. I need a nurse." "What's your mom's maiden name?" "I don't know, Coach, but bring me a nurse -- a good-looking nurse." From the LA Times article: "Teen athletes with concussions should skip their homework. It's true, researchers say.
"Parents should have their concussed kids lay off high-level mental activity including homework and reading. But no video games or texting either!" Do you see how this stuff gets started? The left gets on to something, and they just don't let go of it, and they start ram-rodding it, expanding it to the point of absurdity. I got this e-mail. "Dear Rush: You know more than anybody I know. Could you explain something to me?
"Is it possible that in the NFL players could be employing a strategy of hitting opponents and making it look like concussions are happening which aren't happen in order to get their opponents taken out of the game?" You might think the question is absurd. Actually, it is happening, but here's how. It's the reverse of what you think. Players, ball carriers, pass receivers, running backs, when they get hit, will make sure it looks like they've been hit in the head.
They'll throw their head back. They'll do something with their head to make it look like they've just been creamed, even if they've only been hit in the shoulder, trying to draw flag for an illegal hit. Now, that won't result in somebody being thrown out of the game, but it will result in a penalty -- and it works, by the way.
Because the NFL has the officials so focused on concussions and so focused on illegal hits to the head, that very smart offensive players, when they get hit above the waist, are making whiplash-like movements with their heads, to make it look like they've been hit in the head, trying to draw a flag, and it has worked in many instance. I'm happy to get that question. The players are inventive and creative.
They haven't found a way to actually create a faux concussion to get somebody out of the game for suffering one.
They have to do that for real.
RUSH: Here is Kara in Ponte Vedra, Florida. She's 17 years old. Great to have you on the program. Hi.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. Thanks for having me on.
RUSH: You bet. My pleasure.
CALLER: So I heard you talking about the concussions and the study on this whole thing in California -- or it was in LA Times -- about high school athletes being discouraged from doing, like, homework 'cause they have concussions and whatnot. Well, I'm a high school athlete. I play lacrosse, and I --
RUSH: Wait, wait. Whoa, whoa, whoa. Did you say that you play lacrosse?
CALLER: I do.
RUSH: So that means your parents are rich Wall Street types from the Northeast?
CALLER: Not quite.
RUSH: Is that not right?
CALLER: No. No. But my mom actually does work in neurosurgery at Mayo Clinic, so I hear a lot about brain injuries and things like that.
RUSH: Have you had a concussion before?
CALLER: I've actually had two.
CALLER: I've never gotten one playing a sport, but I have had two, and I will say they're very, um, (garbled).
RUSH: Wait a second. You've not had a concussion playing lacrosse, but you have had two concussions?
CALLER: Yes. (giggles)
RUSH: How did you get them?
CALLER: Well, one I got ice skating and the other one I got surfing. So, yeah.
RUSH: You hit your head on the surfboard?
CALLER: Yeah. (giggles) Yeah, like it hit the bottom of the like surface and then it came back and hit me in the head.
RUSH: Did it knock you unconscious?
CALLER: Almost. (giggles) Yeah. But I was fine. I mean, it definitely... I mean, and some concussions are worse than others. I mean, I have a friend that got a really bad concussion last season, and it's different when you're in school than when you, like, receive one outside of school, 'cause for school, any contact sport, they require you to do a concussion test before you start the season. It's absolutely mandatory.
RUSH: Yeah. Concussion protocol. So give me an example. What kind of questions are on that test?
CALLER: It's kind of like a neurological-type of test. What they do is they put you in front of a computer. It's about 30 minutes long, and I've taken two of them, and they're not too difficult if you don't have a concussion. I mean, they're made so you can pass it. It's a lot of memory tests. It'll list, like, a series of like pictures, shapes, words, and then you have to recognize, like, what was part of that list or what wasn't part of that list.
RUSH: Yeah, it's not an intelligence test. It's just to check how your brain is working after you've had a concussion.
RUSH: So you take this baseline test.
RUSH: And what's happening in the NFL, a lot of players, however they're doing it, are dumbing down the baseline test, meaning it's easier to pass it after they've had a concussion to get back on the field.
CALLER: Mm-hmm. Well, the way that our tests are set up, it's, like, impossible to pass it if you had a concussion, 'cause they know that kids... I mean, kids are not slackers. Like, if they're playing a high school sport, they're pretty devoted to their sport. So they want to make it really difficult and pretty much impossible for kids that do have concussions in order for them to not to go back on the field. I mean, other kids that might want to slack off and be like, "Oh, yeah, I have a concussion. I can't do my homework." There probably are some. But that means if they can't do their homework, they certainly can't get back on the field.
CALLER: So they're going to be extremely motivated to recover as fast as possible in order for them to play. I mean, maybe they don't care about their homework, but they definitely care about playing.
RUSH: But there's nothing you can do to recover quicker than normal from a concussion, right? I mean, there's nothing you can do.
CALLER: Well, that's kind of where there's a lot of gray area, because there are a lot of studies that have been coming out recently like the one about not doing your homework. Yes, maybe not doing your homework, but that also applies to, like, basically staying in the dark. You're not watching TV.
RUSH: Right. No Beyonce, no Jay-Z, no P Diddy.
RUSH: Maybe some Timberlake, but nothing beyond that.
CALLER: Yeah, exactly. I mean, very low-key.
RUSH: Justin Bieber might be okay, but you're going... Yeah, yeah.
CALLER: Yeah. Yeah. No One Direction or anything like that.
CALLER: Yeah. I mean, I think they're starting to realize how serious concussions are because what a lot of kids do -- and especially before they had the baseline testing -- is they would get out on the field a lot quicker than they were supposed to because they're saying, "Oh, yeah, I feel better! I don't have a headache anymore," and then they would get hit again, and your risk of getting a second concussion is much higher, and the symptoms are much worse and they can actually progress significantly beyond what a normal concussion would give you. I mean, it can be almost impossible to recover from. I think the NFL thing is kind of dumb because any kind of like second concussive syndrome has been like disproven. Once you're like over a certain age. But in teenagers it's extremely, extremely risky to get back on the field.
RUSH: Well, you know, by definition, in the NFL, you could make the case, I would think, that a concussion is happening on every play just on the interior line.
RUSH: I mean, those guys are banging the helmets. It depends on, you know, how lax or how strict you want to be in defining what a concussion is. Kara, just so you know: My point here is that a concussion is a medical thing. It is a real thing. It's a medical thing. It's defined in specific ways, and it's treated in specific ways, and it's now become political. Because the left has gotten hold of it, the concussion is becoming a political thing.
It's being attached to a political agenda of leftist activists who are trying to effect change in areas of life they think are unsafe and people are being exploited and so forth, and that's the danger. So a lot of things that are not concussions are now being labeled could be, might be. "We gotta err on the side of safety," and this kind of thing, and it's not about safety with these people. It's about control and dominating things.
It's, I think, getting a little bit out of hand with the left. Leave it in the hands of the medical people, fine. But keep them insulated from the political people, and it's very difficult to do that when you got the media involved in it. Now, let me ask you. You've had two concussions, Kara. I mean, you sound extremely bright. Obviously you are. You're very cogent, so you've obviously recovered from yours. Do you fear future concussions? Is it affecting the way you live your life?
CALLER: Not in any way.
CALLER: Like, I mean, I've seen it happen to people, but there are certain things that, you know, you can do to be careful. But if you're an athlete and you're playing a contact sport, I mean, there's always a risk involved. But, I mean, it's something that you've chosen to do. So, I mean, no one's forcing you to play a contact sport, like lacrosse.
RUSH: Well, that's just it. Just be upfront with it. I don't want to be an alarmist here. In fact, I'm not the alarmist. But I'm telling you, there are people out there, Kara, who are trying to take the risk out of everything, and in the process they are impeding opportunity. There's risk in everything. You're taking a risk. You've already had two concussions, and you've mentioned successive concussions, particularly if they happen close together, are problematic.
There are people, give 'em half a chance, who will sit you down and they'll tell you you're too at risk, shouldn't be allowed to play, blah, blah, blah, blah -- and they'll be doing it for your own good. You're gonna run into this throughout your life, as long as you continue to play competitive contact sports, and it's even gonna expand beyond that. That's the problem with all this. But, look, I'm really glad you called. I appreciate it and I wish you all the best. What do you want to do? Do you want to keep playing lacrosse in college?
CALLER: Yeah, I think so. I really enjoy it.
RUSH: You know, Duke has a good team.
CALLER: They do. They have a very good team. Yep. I don't know. I'm thinking about maybe the University of Florida. So we'll see.
RUSH: Well, all the best to you. I'm really glad that you called.
CALLER: Thank you so much.
RUSH: It's great to have you out there. That's Kara from Ponte Vedra, Florida.