In 2009, Kevin Turner of Birmingham, Alabama, then 39, realized he had become a pretty bad guitar player which wasn’t always so. Couldn’t hit the notes. Forgot the chords.
In 2016, Turner, now 46, has died. ALS. Do you know of Turner? Those of us who aren’t sports fans might not. So here’s a little background.
He was a star running back for the University of Alabama, a pretty lofty position considering the kinds of football teams Alabama usually fields. Then, it was eight years with the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots of the NFL.
He had a smile and a twinkle in the eyes. He had that strongman look the girls adore and the fans, male and female scream for in appreciation.
Kevin Turner could not tie his shoes.
ALS will do that.
He left professional football in 1999. He started a foundation to help his fellow players, so many in physical ruin and mental anguish. He became the name and face of the suit against the league and when players with head trouble won $765 million in a class action suit and some of the players wanted to appeal in hopes of winning more money, Kevin said “no.”
Kevin: the guys need this money now. Have you seen our medical bills? We can’t wait any longer.
This brings to mind the disgraceful Roger Goodell, commissioner. Here’s a guy who takes the “ice bucket challenge” to support ALS research. Just not when it hits close to home.
Goodell kind of writes off CTE, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. That’s a disease that comes to those who bang their head too hard and too often. You can’t diagnose it in a living patient, only after death and only if you examine brain tissue.
It’s what killed Frank Gifford. You can ask the Medical Examiner. Frank Gifford and at least 24 others.
How many kids on the football fields of the country’s elementary and secondary schools… of the country’s colleges are well on their way to early deaths? No one will tell you. Even if they knew, no one would tell you.
You take risks in pretty much any job. Career cops, firefighters, pilots, rail engineers, truck drivers, soldiers, telephone and utility pole workers, miners and lumberjacks know their risks. So now do football players and the parents of child football players.
So remember Kevin Turner. And Frank Gifford and all the others… past, present and future. And think about the repercussions of concussions, especially if you play or your kids do.
Herewith, we repost our favorite movie mini listing, clipped from Newsday in the 1970s when it still was a real newspaper:
The Clam that Ate Pittsburgh
An immense bivalve mollusk goes berserk after drinking the Monongahela River and criminally assaults Three Rivers Stadium before being turned into stone by Mr. Rogers, who has a magic horseradish. Interesting, if you check the calendar. Dubbed. Sonny Tufts, Martin Koslek, George Zucco, Lionel Atwill, Wild Bill Elliot, Sabu, Mark Damon, Iron Eyes Cody, Zasu Pitts and the entire Pirates bullpen. (2 hrs.) "
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2016