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Survey Asks College Athletes About Drugs and Concussions

615CFBConfidentialOne of my favorite parts of ESPN The Magazine is its “Confidential” surveys, which lay bare the realities of sports at all levels. In the current issue, the magazine asked 92 big-time college football players their thoughts on a variety of subjects, including concussions and playing with gay teammates.

Granted, it’s a small sample, but the results are revealing:

  • Nearly 50 percent of players said they had at least one teammate who they thought was using performance-enhancing drugs.
  • 33 percent believed they might have gay teammates, and 87 percent said  some players would find that objectionable.
  • 65 percent believed they should be compensated for appearing in video games.
  • 63 percent said they were playing for a different head coach than the one who had offered them a scholarship.

But the figure that jumped out to me most was this: One of every three players said he had lied about having a concussion.

“It’s pretty easy to get away with it,” an SEC player told the magazine. “You just stay away from the team doctors.”

The results reminded me of another recent survey the magazine did—”Concussion Confidential,” last August—in which the findings are worth another look.

Among the highlights from that survey, which included responses from 320 high-school seniors:

  • 53.6 percent said they would risk brain damage for a shot at the pros (up from about half of the players in a 2010 survey).
  • 49.5 percent would want a star teammate to sit out the state-title game if he had a concussion (slightly more than in the 2010 survey).

“When the adrenaline is pumping and it’s Friday night, the selfishness comes out,” one top defender said. “I’d want him to come back.”

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