Saturday, December 13, 2008

NYT Pro Football section has two disability stories

The NY Times published two disability-related stories in its Pro Football section Dec. 12.

1. A feature on Jaguar player, Richard Collier, (pictured) who says, "I lost a leg, but I gained so much more already." Collier, a third-year tackle for the Jaguars, was shot 14 times and left paralyzed.

2. A story about the NFL meeting on players' retirement issues that decided to bar the wives of former players who are now disabled. Here's the intro to it:

BETHESDA, Md. — As the wife of a former N.F.L. player with degenerative dementia, Eleanor Perfetto finds herself performing the most basic tasks for her husband, Ralph Wenzel: she feeds him, bathes him and tries to explain all that is
happening to him.

She could not, however, attend a meeting Thursday night in suburban Washington between N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell and former players, the third in a series of discussions regarding the later-life care of retirees. As Perfetto tried to enter the room, Goodell told her the meeting was for players only.

Goodell said later that he had been following the wishes of a group of retired players who had requested the meetings. Harry Carson, a former Giants linebacker, confirmed that in a telephone interview Friday afternoon, adding that players felt that the presence of women could impede the discussion.

Perfetto and the wives of other players with dementia criticized their exclusion, adding their voices to a debate over the care of retired players that has been the subject of two Congressional hearings.

“We wives are the voice of players with dementia, because they can’t speak for themselves,” Perfetto said. “They are only allowing players healthy enough to attend. That means they’re getting a very slanted view of what it’s like out there.”