In the new New Yorker Malcolm Gladwell takes a look at the strong link between playing organized football and brain damage, and suggests that the sport is comparable to dogfighting in its brutal destruction of its participant’ bodies for the sake of money and entertainment. Pros sometimes suffer from dementia shortly after their careers end:
Mike Webster, the longtime Pittsburgh Steeler and one of the greatest players in N.F.L. history, ended his life a recluse, sleeping on the floor of the Pittsburgh Amtrak station. Another former Pittsburgh Steeler, Terry Long, drifted into chaos and killed himself four years ago by drinking antifreeze. Andre Waters, a former defensive back for the Philadelphia Eagles, sank into depression and pleaded with his girlfriend—“I need help, somebody help me”—before shooting himself in the head. [Their] problem was with their heads, the one part of their body that got hit over and over again.