Let's force our beloved pros to wear pillow ballon helmets!
In October of 2009 the National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell was called before the United States congress to answer questions about the League being potentially negligent in its protecting its players from concussion and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
A lawsuit by ex-NFL players was filed in 2011 that was settled in 2013 for $765 million but a federal judge overturned the deal on the grounds that it would not be nearly enough to provide for the players covered under the suit. In 2015 the cap was expanded to at least $1 billion.
The Will Smith film Concussion also opened in 2015 and dramatized the true story of Dr. Bennett Omalu who fought the National Football League’s alleged suppression of his CTE research.
The scandal is ongoing and may someday cost the NFL multiple billions.
Which brings us to the World Surf League (WSL).
Owen Wright’s brain bleed from what he says was a duckdive out at plus-sized Pipe, coincidentally in 2015, puts the WSL in massive potential danger. Owen said in a recent interview, “If you try and duckdive a 15-foot second reef Pipe wave, you’re only going to be a foot under water with 15 feet of wave coming down on you. Something is going to give… and I gave.”
Pipeline is not the only heavy reef wave on tour breaking in shallow water or featuring shallow sections. The Box, Cloudbreak, Teahupo’o are all very dangerous and Kelly Slater claimed he nearly drowned at the last Bells event due the exposed rock shelf on the inside.
Are the professional surfers on today’s tour, plus all the tours since professional surfing has been a thing, due billions of dollars for potential brain bleeds?
Should the professional surfers on today’s tour probably wear helmets?
Owen Wright never claimed to hit his head on either board or reef. It is a truly unprecedented injury. The sort of injury that a helmet is not known to prevent. But wouldn’t a helmet help dissipate the shock of the duckdive? Or couldn’t a helmet be developed, maybe larger like an oversized pillow or ballon, that encapsulates the professional’s head?
I think our surfer’s head health is worth the unfortunate aesthetics! But maybe it’s cool to wear a pillow ballon on the head while surfing! The Inertia published 5 reasons why surfers should wear a helmet in 2013. When the original NFL concussion lawsuit was settled.
Does the WSL have multiple billions to give potential brain bled surfers?
I will be following up with the World Surf League when offices open Monday.
I am the new Ralph Nader.