Former Green Bay Packer, Dorsey Levens, is educating football players and their family’s through a documentary that he wrote called, “Bell Rung; An Alarming Portrait of Professional Football”.
I recently attended the Atlanta screening and was blown away by the very personal on screen testimonies provided by former players, current players, and regretfully, spouses of deceased players who have suffered concussions. As a parent of a son who absolutely loves the sport and happens to be an allstar on the field, I wanted to make sure that I was as informed as possible about the potential dangers and drawbacks he faces as a little league participant. As of late, more kids seem to be playing football, regardless of the fact that they are at major risk for injury or even worse, death.
MommyNoire sat down with Dorsey to see what turned his private plight into a public documentary – that he hopes will make a difference and possibly save lives.
What inspired you to write Bell Rung?
A high school friend of mine, Nick Basta, knew I wanted to get started in film making and suggested that we do a documentary on concussions in the NHL. Since I know absolutely nothing about hockey, I suggested we do a documentary on concussions in football.
What advice do you have for mothers who are facing opposition from their own husbands about the safety concerns of little league?
Football is an inherently dangerous sport. The best way to minimize injury is to make sure your children are being coached properly. Insist that ALL of your son’s coaches have been certified by the league. There are lots of well meaning coaches who are teaching kids the wrong way to tackle, because they haven’t been taught the proper techniques themselves. Also insist that someone on the staff has a CPR certification and that there are EMT’s on site for all of the games.
What do you hope to achieve by bringing this epidemic to light?
Awareness. All of the information available about Traumatic Brain Injury was not known until recently, and now that we know how devastating these injuries can be, we feel it is imperative that we inform each and every individual who puts a helmet on.
What can a mother do to keep her son as safe as possible on the field? If your child gets a head injury and he doesn’t seem like himself do not let him go back in the game. Dr. Mom knows her son better than anyone else. In addition, cheer for him with all of your heart and take him to get his favorite food after every game
If you had it to do all over again, what would you have changed over the course of your NFL and football career in general?
Knowing what we now know about head injuries. I would have come out of a few games when I had – what we now understand was a concussion. I probably would have been a little less aggressive as a runner when it came to imposing my will on what I considered to be weaker players.
Interview and Words By: Sid Powell