The Birdmen segment was awesome and gave me goosebumps imagining myself jumping into the abyss. However, the prior 60 Minutes segment, "A Blow to the Brain," reporting on the recent study showing high rates of brain damage/dementia in retired football players that suffered concussions during play gave me even bigger goosebumps. Having suffered two concussions on the mountain in the past two ski seasons, my head ached just watching the segment. I don't want to revive the "helmet threads" from last season
, but I am a little nervous getting back into the trees this season, even with my replacement helmet strapped on tight.
Here is the link to the segment. You may not want to watch it if you have a weak stomach or are a tree skier.
Do you think it was a coincidence that 60 Minutes showed the football and Birdmen segments back-to-back? I don't think so. In the Birdmen segment, where most viewers were probably thinking to themselves, "man, that is extremely dangerous; those guys must be crazy!", no injuries are depicted (other than the very brief mention of Shane Mconkey's death). In contrast, in the football segment, a sport where most people disregard the risk of injury because football is part of our culture, numerous head collisions (some involving kids) and their horrible consequences are graphically displayed. Notice too how in the Birdmen segment, the participants exclaim that they are having the most fun in the world. You do not see any of that reverence for the sport in the football segment.
This reminds me of the theme in my favorite ski movie, Steep
"What's worse - a car accident or falling off a mountain? I think a car accident is worse. At least when they are falling off the mountain, they love what they are doing." Doug Coombs, Steep