Melissa Segura's article on the dementia often suffered by retired professional football players (The Other Half of the Story) highlights what we in the medical community have known for decades about concussions and brain trauma. So well-known are the effects of repeated concussions in the boxing world that old-timers use the term pugilistic dementia to describe the early degeneration of cognitive function seen in retired boxers. While medical science is making progress in early diagnosis and therapy for these conditions, the reality remains the same: If you smash your head over and over again, the damage lingers long after the lights have dimmed and the crowds have gone home.
J. Mark Fulmer, M.D., Dallas
Unfortunately, the more violent the hits in football the more likely a player is to make the highlight reel. Still, while my sympathies go out to both the suffering players and their caregivers, it should be noted that no one forced any of these guys to play a game that is so violent that you have to wear a helmet to protect your brain.
Bob Cushing, M.D., Carmel, Calif.
The O's Have It
I think it is a delicious irony that Bobby Valentine was not interested in managing the Orioles in 2010, apparently feeling that the Baltimore job was too big of a challenge for him to take on. Now it is Valentine who has the project on his hands trying to manage the Red Sox' failures (Fall of the Red Sox) while the Orioles could make the playoffs for the first time since 1997.
Paul R. Schlitz Jr., Baltimore
Steve Rushin was right on the money about there being almost no reason to attend NFL games (SCORECARD). It costs a fortune for tickets, parking, food and drinks. Plus, with the three or four hours of tailgating before the game, many fans are drunk and looking to start trouble or a fight. I love the NFL, but these days it's cheaper and much more fun to stay home.
Thomas Mandes, Annapolis, Md.