It seems that 2010 is becoming the year of the concussion in football. As we all learn more about what concussions are and the long term effects they have on those who suffer them, the world of football has begun to take the injury a lot more serious than it had in the past. Just look at the NFL this weekend, as two big hits in two seperate games have the league wondering if it should start suspending players who make head-to-head contact while tackling.
While the long term effects of concussions like chronic traumatic encephalopathy -- CTE -- have included depression and suicide, what about the short term effects? There's no question that a concussion could lead to some dramatic behavior changes in a victim, like perhaps that person suddenly decides he wants to text an ex-girlfriend that it's "time to die." That's what some are wondering in the case of suspended Florida receiver, Chris Rainey, who suffered a concussion only a few days before his arrest.
Even the victim in the Rainey case thinks his concussion had something to do with the events of that night.
Since the arrest, the victim has maintained that Rainey's threatening behavior that night was out of character. According to state attorney's records, the victim told police Rainey "has been acting strangely since receiving a head injury in a game played on 9/11/10."When reviewing the text messages between Rainey and the victim that led to the infamous "time to die" message, the victim pointed to Rainey's concussion that very night.
The Gators played USF on that day, and coach Urban Meyer told reporters two days later that Rainey had a concussion.
"He got dinged pretty good," Meyer said on Sept. 13.
Text messages exchanged between Rainey and the victim that night indicate she thought Rainey's concussion was affecting his behavior. "U want to act a fool so im gonna act a fool too and im here," Rainey texted the victim.
She responded, "I'm not opening the door. It will do no good. Go back home and cool off. U have a concussion chris. Ur acting ridiculous."
Now the question is, is the concussion an excuse or a reason? It's not easy to answer, but Dr. Robert Cantu of the Sports Legacy Institute says that injuring the brain, which a concussion does, changes behavior and can cause people to act bizarrely. Of course, Cantu also says that bizarre behavior changes don't normally include "irrational or emotional behavoir, or loss of impulse control."
Which there's no question Rainey displayed on that night. Though whether it was love or a concussion, we'll likely never know.