Doak Walker Care Case Study

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For five years I had the pleasure of working at the Doak Walker Care Center in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Doak Walker was a running back for SMU and was awarded the Heisman Trophy in 1948. He then went on to play professional football for the Detroit Lions and was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1986. As a nightshift caregiver one of my duties was to provide assistance to residents who were characterized as “Sundowners”, a common term referring to those who suffer from Alzheimer’s and Dementia disease. Fading lights or as the sun sets can be a trigger symptoms that include; agitation, mood swings, yelling disorientation and depression. This portion of the task requires tremendous patience, flexibility and empathy. Alzheimer’s is devastating…show more content…
Accountabilities of these burdens fall short for many former players as it is not always easy to prove the injuries occurred. Financial compensation for head injuries acquired decades earlier will only reflect the salaries and benefits at the time they played. Even when benefits are paid out, the care and expenses of CTE can outweigh resources available. In 2007 after many years of research the NFL granted former players a disabilities plan. Nevertheless, many former player are misdiagnosed or misguided in their efforts to find the source of their condition. On occasion former player’s actions such as aggression or depression are blamed on addictions or lifestyle and disguised from the actual crisis at hand. In the case of Mike Webster, he began to have violent outbursts, isolate and became harmful to himself and others. His diagnosis only came after his death. His family suffered for years in silence and guilt all the while watching mike deteriorate before…show more content…
The NFL has a moral obligation to acknowledge and implement changes so that the players and the public are educated on the effects of CTE can have. With this knowledge it is then up to the individual athlete to weigh his options to continue to play contact sports. CTE can be prevented in athletes by simply by not playing. I have seen a decline in my friend’s mental state over the last ten years. He attributes this to years of full contact football. He was never told blows to the head could cause long term damage nor has he asked for compensation for injuries sustained. One of last questions asked at the end of frontline’s interview asks the pathologist who has studied the brains of deceased football players and the findings. “Would you allow your child to play football knowing what you know now”? Her answer,
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