Yep, it’s big news today. The Number one quarterback in the NFL, Big Ben, smashed his face into the side of an automobile.
You might notice that I am in Cincinnati, and the category of this post is in Cincinnati sports. Let me assure you nothing I have to say has anything to do with me being a Bengals fan in any way. To wish ill of Ben would be in extremely poor taste for anyone. For any Bengals fan who thinks this is a blessing you should be embarrassed and ashamed.
Ben hails from this region. From Miami University in fact, but that also has no bearing on what I’m about to write.
I’ve been listening to the media reports all day, all the good, the bad and the ugly.
I’ve heard enough “Motorcycles are evil”
Here are the facts:
Motorcycles are dangerous (duh) so is playing football and so is driving or riding along in your car. Check this link if you don’t believe me.
As the saying goes; “You roll the dice and you take your chances.”
I’m not about to debate motorcycle vs. car death statistics, they are what they are. Yes motorcycles are more dangerous or can be. That’s a whole other post and debate and not what this is about. Fact is they are dangerous but so is life in general, and there are things you can do in any endeavor to reduce your risk. You can take precautions. With motorcycles; you can choose where and when to ride, what you ride, how you ride, and of course what you wear for protection. If you think people can’t survive motorcycle crashes. Check MotoGP and watch guys crash at 150+ mph and get up and walk away.
Ben on the other hand is a Professional football player, an elite athlete getting paid millions of dollars. In a sport where nothing, not even the money, is guaranteed. That’s right NFL money is NOT guaranteed.
To risk that to look “Cool” not wearing a helmet is asinine. To risk all of that because it’s uncomfortable is imbecilic. To risk all of that because there isn’t a helmet law is beyond words.
Do helmets save lives? Yes they do. Do they always save lives? Nope, and neither do seat belts and air bags. (just check the link above again if you want confirmation that the world is not a safe place to live in).
Accidents happen. For Ben to be super safe and to ensure his career and limit his ‘window of risk’ he should in fact stay off motorcycles until his NFL career is over. All what 10 years of it?
But no, he wasn’t that smart. I truly, honestly hope he fully recovers and plays again at 100%, I really, really do. If he gets on that motorcycle again I hope he’s smart enough to wear a helmet. But I bet no club will touch him or renegotiate a contract with him that won’t have a no-dangerous activities clause in it which in his case will include motorcycles. Because he’s proven he can’t take care of himself.
From what I understand the accident was just that, an accident, and wasn’t even his fault. That’s usually how it goes with motorcycle accidents. So why take the chance? Why not give yourself the best chance you have?
Given the extent of his injuries as we know them today, a helmet sure as hell would have saved him a lot of pain and suffering. Would it have kept him injury free? We have no way of knowing for sure? Could it have made things worse? I don’t know. I doubt it, but anti-helmet advocates will probably argue that it would.
I would venture to guess, he’d still have his teeth, would not have broken his nose or jaw. But that’s just a guess. I have nothing other than the times I’ve slammed my head on the ground in a dirt bike helmet to gauge that on. Again, that is only my opinion, nothing more nothing less.
Ben owes his family, Pittsburgh, his fans and everyone an apology.
Helmet use does NOT need to be legislated. It regulates itself. Those too stupid to wear them do not and that’s the point.