Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast, the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog, and a senior contributing editor at the ADCC News.

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Sunday, May 06, 2012

No Holds Barred: Coach George Hero; Suicide of Former NFL Star Junior Seau and the Combat Sports 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman speaks with Coach George Hero, the legendary coach and founder of the Midwood High School wrestling team in Brooklyn, New York.

At MidwoodMania III on April 21, the 54-year-old Coach Hero returned to the mat once again and scored a third-period pin over an opponent three decades his junior, former NYU wrestler and current high school coach Mark Shirian. We spoke with Coach Hero right after his victory.

We open with commentary on the suicide this past week of former NFL star linebacker Junior Seau. Just 43 years old, he was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. The actual reasons for his suicide are not known at this time. However, according to news reports, his family has agreed to donate his brain to researchers who are studying the links between blows to the head in contact and combat sports, concussions, and the degenerative brain disease CTE, chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

With more of these tragedies and suicides of former athletes in contact and combat sports becoming publicly known, and with the science of understanding what head blows do to the brain becoming more precise, what will this mean in years to come for these sports? We lay out some historical analogies to how dueling and smoking have become socially unacceptable and even banned in whole or in part, and ask if these may provide clues as to the future prospects of these sports. We also note how the combat sports without striking, such as the various styles of grappling and wrestling, need to promote themselves better in light of what may happen to these other sports.

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