In an interview with ESPN, Bob Costas — a long time broadcaster for NBC Sports — we learn that he was forced out of his job because he spoke out against the NFL and their lack of action to better protect players against concussions.
NFL has a concussion problem. That’s not breaking news. The men who are playing the game at its highest level today might not even be able to feed themselves 20 years from now. But for the NFL, this is a PR issue, not a health matter. It’s a big money league and if people stop watching, the money starts to dry up. And there’s a note of self preservation to the NFL’s concussion spin machine: if parents stop letting their kids play gridiron football, then the game slowly, but surely, dies.
Cricket has a concussion problem too.
The injury isn’t as widespread as it is in football, but they still happen — and are happening even more as the big hit T20 format increases in popularity — but the issue instead is that they are lagging behind other sports in how they affectively deal with head injuries. Allowing concussion substitutes, requiring teams to have team doctors and instituting a standard injury assessment protocol are three things that the ICC should implement at the Test level immediately.
Because here’s the thing: the NFL’s black eye when it comes to concussions creates an opportunity for other, safer sports. And one of those sports could be cricket. Make the game safer, and the game will grow. In America and everywhere.