NFL Player Paralyzed, Video Games Get Slammed… Huh?

When Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett suffered paralysis on Sunday following a big hit, it was a personal and professional tragedy.

But football injuries are common – that’s why the NFL maintains an Injured Reserve List – and even crippling ones such as Everett’s are not unheard of (see: Darryl Stingley, Dennis Byrd and others). In fact, in the early part of the 20th Century, President Theodore Roosevelt threatened to outlaw the sport due to the number of deaths among college players. Ultimately, helmets, other equipment and rule changes helped make football less deadly.

So GP was surprised to see Virginia Pilot columnist Bob Molinaro drag video games into a discussion of Everett’s injury under the headline Video-game generation may be desensitized to NFL injuries:

I imagine there’s a large segment of NFL fans that envisions pro football to be the embodiment of the video games they love to play.

…I’ve got a feeling that a certain percentage of males, those whose senses have been bombarded by video violence all their lives, are attracted to pro football by the slickly edited TV images that are a variation of their virtual-reality experiences.

This makes me wonder if the catastrophic injury to Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett will make any real impression on the desensitized adolescents and adults raised with the cartoon violence of “Madden ’08” or “NFL Blitz,” or the absurd blood-and-guts scenarios associated with other Xbox games.

…I wonder if any of this hits home with the very large and growing demographic that comes to football through the make-believe violence of video games. In that world, jacked-up players always bounce back, returning as good as new when the game is switched on.

GP: The invention of American football preceded that of video games by roughly 100 years, and it’s always been a dangerous sport. Participants opt in knowing that they risk injury. Relating what happened to Kevin Everett to folks playing Madden is simply ludicrous. Molinaro comes off looking like just another guy who doesn’t get gamers.

Meanwhile, the latest reports we’ve seen indicate that Kevin Everett is doing much better and we wish him all the best.

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