Frequently, former Bradshaw UK Football Athletes contact this reporter, because of my promotion of Athlete Safety 1st and advocacy for the prevention of Child and Youth Athlete Abuse, research and my medical profession.

In response to a former Bradshaw UK Football Athlete, who was a terrific player and likewise abused, and who, after 57 years continued his Bradshaw UK Football ‘nightmare’ and which continues for many former UK football athletes, this reporter responded:

Dear……, I feel your pain about UK Bradshaw Football deep into my bones. I am so sorry you have suffered from his torment and mistreatment.

Recently, someone asked me why loud noises shake me; make me flinch, jerk and react. I explained, that even though I am 74 years old, I remain ‘shell-shocked’ from Bradshaw UK football. I am still a ‘punch-drunk Joe Palooka’, to some extent. ‘Punch-drunk’ from both psychological and physical jabs and hooks, With age both inflictions ferment and worsen, if  not confronted.

Like your team, my teammates and I were physically and psychologically conditioned like ‘Pavlov dogs’, drilled and repeatedly concussed and dinged-on-the-head to ‘fire-out’ at the ‘drop of a hat’, an instant signal or usually humiliating, derogatory scream. Some, who were singled out to be “ran-off” (sic) the screams were often followed by coaches’ kicking or head butting the player’s nose (face guards were one bar or no bar), knocking out or loosening a players’ teeth and several coaches jumping the unsuspecting athlete and then with fists beating him.

And like you, tough football didn’t bother us. We grew up in tough football. Injuries sustained from the legal play of football were often ‘sucked-up’ and ‘played-through’, but, emotional and physical mistreatment, which crossed the line and emotional and physical abuse did bother us; particularly watching our buddies, horrifically mistreated.

The coaches’ abnormal behaviors confused us players. Our mental concepts of how the game of football should be properly played, as mentored before Bradshaw, was altered. The fundamentals of sportsmanship were cast aside. The disregard for players’ safety and well-being were bewildering and shocking.

The ‘win-at-all-costs’ to eager football athletes and lack of concern for us human beings was horrific and scandalous. We football players in those days were too disciplined and traditional to complain to anyone, particularly our parents, about our struggles. That wasn’t done in those days. ‘Total commando football’, absolute control, manipulation designed for ‘lesser players’, not student athletes, was Bradshaw’s modulus operandi. As a result, the nightmares form Bradshaw UK Football has plagued all of us with PTSD for our lifetimes.

There are 2 persistent messages derived from Bradshaw UK Abusive football:

1. Coaches should not Physically and Psychologically (Emotional) mistreat and abuse their Athletes

2. Athlete Victims who suffer from Physical and Emotional mistreatment, and everyone who suffers Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), no matter the cause or culprit, should:

• Come to grips with the causes of their Abuse and Trauma
• Come to grips with their persistent recurring symptoms
• Become Educated about their Physical and Emotional mistreatment and PTSD
• Employ Anxiety Management; seek advice and instruction.
• Explore ways to cope with the emotional and physiological reactions that occur secondary to re-experiencing the Trauma that is stored in their memory, other internal and external persistent injuries, reminders and situations.
• Revisit the Trauma
• Don’t bury the Trauma in your mind
• Discuss the Trauma with you Teammates, others and professionals
• Pray about the Traumatic Events
• Write a letter to the perpetrator, wad it up, throw it in the garbage and move on
• Personal Forgiveness of the Perpetrators is different from Reconciliation
• Reconciliation can occur when the Perpetrator Apologizes to you directly
• Realize that True Justice is for God alone
• Deal with the Trauma. Otherwise the Trauma will “eat at you the rest of your life”
• Seek professional medical and psychological help if indicated

The sobering facts about our UK football experiences are that our obligations to family, the human race, and the Almighty, as the result of our blessings, are more important, than football. You were a magnifificient football player. ……. Go with God’s Speed.

The Thin Thirty, Book, 2007 by Shannon Ragland, Set Shot Press, gives a marvelous account of the UK Football Tragedy.

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