I am doing a lot of speaking on concussions/sports/media these days, and had two things happen recently that were fascinating:
1) After a presentation at the University of Michigan’s Injury Center Concussion Summit, I was asked it we (meaning the U.S. Govt), should have a board of review in place for the media. This person, who was well meaning, thought the bad science should be stopped before it got out in the media. I answered him, wondering aloud if the First Amendment would get in the way of that strategy. He laughed, realizing he forgot about that silly thing, but then told me…I don’t believe in Free Speech. Whoa. Whoa.
Free speech is not a belief, it is a law. And a damned good one at that. Is it problematic…sure. But the good far outweighs the bad. So count me in on team free speech. Even it it lets yahoos say really ignorant stuff about concussions.
2) I next spoke, a few weeks later, at a high school journalism event where a student came up to me afterwards and said she wanted to write about her school’s protocols…because the administration stopped her. I was heartbroken.
She was trying to do a good thing, inform her audience at the school, and the reactionary fools at her schools stopped her cold. I was really sad for her…in essence, she was censored the way the first gentleman thought would be appropriate. I encouraged her to keep trying. The topic is too important not to discuss.
Science, journalism, the truth all operate the same way – they come out, they may be unpleasant, but they need to see the light of day.
Living in fear, from concussion – and even the discussions of concussions – is not a good world to live in.