Sneed: Ditka on concussions: ‘You’ve got to use common sense’

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Former Bears coach Mike Ditka will be part of a City Club of Chicago panel on on concussions in the NFL. | Sun-Times library

Follow @sneedlingsHe was gonna do it.

He wasn’t gonna do it.

He’s now gonna do it.

Let’s unpack this suitcase.

Legendary Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka, whose team’s brawling 1985 Super Bowl victory brought Chicago to its grateful knees, joins a City Club of Chicago panel Monday on concussions in the NFL — a topic ostensibly sending parents to sports stores for golf balls.

“I loved my life in football,” Ditka told Sneed in a phone interview Friday.

“Football was great to me. I’d not change anything about the game in MY life. There are a——- who knock football, but it’s just a matter of telling the facts.”

Despite what appeared to be a cancellation last week because of a scheduling conflict, Ditka is now on deck to hit the luncheon at Maggiano’s Little Italy eatery Monday.

“Look, I’m not a doctor. Not a scientist,” said Ditka, who plans to stick to the history of the game and not the controversy.

Ditka, who told a sports reporter last year he was rethinking the game plan and felt “the risk is not worth the reward” because of concussion studies, has not softened his love of the game.

“You’ve got to use common sense. I’ve had concussions in my lifetime. Fortunately, they didn’t affect me. Others were affected more. What are you gonna say? You play the game. You take a risk. It’s all about using your head.

“It’s not complicated. When parts moving at a high rate of speed collide, it can rattle your brain,” he said.

“Concussions come from contact. Football is contact. When someone asked me last year what I’d tell my grandkids, I told them I’d put a golf club in their hands,” he said.

“But I tell you what, I wouldn’t discourage them from playing football. I’m not going to take a football out of their hands. The game of football is tough. Rough. That’s the game.

“Playing football means the moving parts are gonna be bigger and faster and stronger, and moving at a high rate of speed can cause a collision. It’s not complicated. A helmet? Does it really matter playing at that velocity? If that’s your stance, then take it. Go with it.

“I’m not saying anything people don’t know. I love the game. I could beat around the bush. But you have to tell the truth.”

The panel, comprised of legal eagle Tom Demetrio; Chris Nowinski, President of the Concussion Legacy Foundation; and Liz Nicholson, an ambassador of the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund — will be moderated by ESPN reporter Lester Munson.


Follow @sneedlingsSpotted!

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a bookworm who graduated from Sarah Lawrence College, dropped by the Chicago Shakespeare Theater last week for the “beam” signing ceremony on their new‎ stage.

Thus, Da Mayor shared a quote from a Julian Barnes book he read this summer, causing a gasp from the audience at Emanuel’s literary commentary.

Quipped the Rahmster: “Well, I have no idea what it means, but I do know it makes me sound smart!”

Thank you, Sarah Lawrence?

The Khan Plan . . . 

Sneed just got a peek at London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s first official visit to the U.S. next week with Mayor Emanuel.

• To wit: London’s first Muslim mayor’s three-day visit will include a stroll on Chicago’s Riverwalk, a visit with the vendors at the upcoming Whole Foods Market in Englewood, a trip to a “venerable” North Side jazz club, and an interfaith service.

The color purple . . .


Both President Barack Obama — and Philippines strongman Rodrigo Duterte, who grossly insulted Obama before the ASEAN conference meeting in Laos last week — were given shirts of the traditional Laotian silk to wear before the meeting.

The color selections were fascinating.

• Obama wore blue, often associated with depth, stability, trust, loyalty; which slows human metabolism and produces a calming effect, according to a company that analyzes color charts.

• Duterte, dubbed “The Punisher” for his anti-drug crackdown resulting in 1,000 murders due to reputed death squads, wore purple, which symbolizes power, ambition, independence, mystery, magic and extravagance.

• And, as an aside: Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev wore light gray, a color described as emotionless, moody, and often associated with loss or depression.

There ya go.

Sneedlings . . .

Saturday’s birthdays: Misty Copeland, 34; Arnold Palmer, 87, and Karl Lagerfeld, 83. . . .  Sunday’s birthdays: Taraji P. Henson, 46; Harry Connick Jr., 49, and Shaun Livingston, 31.

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