(Mental) Health, Poetry, and Media

Here’s what was important this week…

The Super Bowl was this past weekend, as you probably know. With the Olympics starting it’s old news, but one of the big topics in journalism in the lead-up to the event was how football (both the sport and the NFL) handles concussions. Football isn’t the only sport with a concussion problem– hockey and soccer are two other notables, and many more can be assumed (rugby, anyone?). But what makes football different is both its presence in the American consciousness–it’s a truly American sport–and the prominent deaths and deteriorations of former stars. In the LA Review of Books, a devoted football fan reflects on the sport and injury risk, while an essay in The New Inquiry sheds light on the reactions of the NFL. At one point, the essay sardonically quotes a co-chair of the NFL Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee (MTBI):

““Anecdotes do not make scientifically valid evidence,” he stated, thus reducing evidence of CTE in former football players to the status of that story you tell about your cat. “

Both essays draw heavily from the “League of Denial” documentary and book, but they take slightly different perspectives and analyses, and are both worth the read.

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Higher Education, Interns, and IT Security

Here’s what was important this week…

Former University of Michigan kicker Brendan Gibbons has been expelled from U-M for a sexual misconduct case dating back to 2009. The Michigan Daily has more information about the expulsion, while Washtenaw Watchdogs posted about the entire case in 2011. Both The Michigan Daily and the Ann Arbor News are attempting to gain more information about both the disciplinary action and why Gibbons is only being expelled now, after having spent the last few years playing on U-M’s football team.

In more unfortunate higher education news, the Chancellor of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Phyllis Wise, made the decision not to cancel classes on Monday. Run of the mill, except for the outcry from students who stormed social media, expressing their anger about the decision with #FuckPhyllis. From there it spiralled into sexist and racist comments about the Chancellor herself. The Chancellor responded to the comments, taking them not as personal offense but as a sign that the university has work to do, especially given the diverse community at UIUC. Now UIUC is sponsoring an event open to the campus and the public where they aim to “move beyond digital hate”, which seems to me like an effort to promote feel-good feelings rather than acknowledge and handle endemic issues that allow racism, sexism, and harassment to exist and proliferate on campus. We’ll see how their event goes.

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