THE WORST THING WE READ THIS WEEK™
An article "about" a 24-year-old who, evidently, had been playing through brain-damaging injuries for weeks opens with five grafs on how his presence in an upcoming game would effect the gambling on that game? Just neat and cool, gambling on the performance of horrifically injured athletes so young they could still be covered by their parents' health insurance definitely feels right.
"There was never going to be any reckoning from this.": That's a general theorem, for practically every value of "this". Humans collectively learn almost nothing. Many humans individually learn almost nothing past the age of 30 or so. To the extent society progresses, it generally does so funeral by funeral.*
Besides, team sports are ritualized tribal warfare, none more so than American football. And in war, there are casualties. It's expected and accepted.
*With apologies to Max Planck or Paul Samuelson, both of whom have been credited with remarking, "Science progresses funeral by funeral."
Sorry, not finished. Young athletes suffer cardiac arrest from far more common causes: congenital cardiac disease including abnormal conduction pathways, positional blood pressure disorders, electrolyte imbalances (sometimes seen with doping). Damar reportedly had extensive testing before being released from the hospital, but we don’t know the results. At the primary school level we have debated for decades what cardiac screening is appropriate before signing off on school sports, knowing we can’t find every risk factor. To me the most telling event around Damar’s cardiac arrest will be if he, his family, his team and the NFL let him return to football. Imagine something abnormal is found - would a team ethically and financially want him back? What if nothing is found, should anyone take the risk it could happen again?
The distinction between Tua’s concussions and Damar’s cardiac arrest is just as you say, with one extra caveat: we know how sudden cranial deceleration injuries produce concussions and that will always be a factor in the risk/benefit of football and any sport that isn’t completely sedentary. We don’t not know to what extent, if any, the preceding tackle played in the cardiac arrest. This wasn’t an event consistent with the history of prior episodes of commotio cordis.