Something needs to change. And quick.
Ray Easterling, a former Atlanta Falcon, just committed suicide a week or two ago. Wade Belak, Derek Boogaard, and Rick Rypien, all NHL enforcers, committed suicide during this past offseason.
Today, Junior Seau was found dead in his home due to a self inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.
There's something that all of these men have in common, and that's numerous concussions and/or head injuries during their playing days.
Now, I'm not looking to completely change the landscape of professional sports. The NFL is looking to completely eliminate kickoffs in the coming years. The NHL is considering outlawing fighting entirely. While both of these aspects of their respective sports are important and, quite honestly, fun to watch, this is getting ridiculous. These men put their bodies on the line for their teams, coaches, families, and fans in what is, in all actuality, a game. Unfortunately, they're apparently putting their lives on the line, too.
What does this have to do with MMA? It's only a matter of time before this starts happening with MMA fighters. Sure, every knockout does not result in a concussion, some assuredly some of them do. I would hate to see Chris Leben, one of my favorite fighters, and a man who we know already has issues, cut his own life short due to his fighting style.
I think that frequent CT scans should be required for all professional athletes who participate in a contact sport (and yes, that should include baseball and basketball) and once a certain level of brain damage is detected MANDATORY RETIREMENT is implemented. Not just a 90 day precautionary no-contact ruling.
Maybe 20 years from now when I'm in my 40s and the age of many of these retired athletes, I won't have to read about the players I grew up watching killing themselves...over a game.