Guest post by Daniel Fahrner
Bio: Marketing Man @SmallBox by day, underground strategy board game enthusiast and music business professional by night. Proud papa to be.
Don’t hate the player, hate the game. Not sure I’ve ever actually used that adage in my life, but let’s roll with it... In the case of 'American Man', or 90’s NFL star Kevin Turner (nicknamed KT), hating the game isn’t quite so black and white. After all, it gave his entire life meaning and purpose.
This emotional documentary follows KT’s journey through the middle stages of ALS, commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS is a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that causes muscle tissue to break down over the course of a few years and ultimately renders sufferers completely stationary. It’s a personal prison.
The cause for KT’s debilitating case of ALS can be traced to his 8 season run in the NFL, where, similar to his peers, he suffered dozens of severe concussions. KT could easily view this diagnosis as death row, but instead embraces the intense card that God has dealt him and uses his disease as a platform to raise awareness. Humanity at it’s finest, I tell ya.
OK, enough with the setup... let’s talk about how this disease changed the game for KT, the NFL and for me. The ALS phenomenon in pro football is a direct result of our culture’s appetite for brutality. We simply can’t get enough. Every year the hits need to be bigger and the players need to recover faster.
However, this inspirational film gives us hope that additional diagnoses of sports-related diseases such as ALS can be prevented with education. The work of KT and other ex NFL players affected by ALS has since resulted in tougher regulations on tackles and reminds fans like myself that these players are no more than human.
All of this said, the question I was left with was: now knowing the outcome, would KT have chosen a different path? Would he decline an opportunity to make an impact on the world through sacrifice? You tell me.
Jon Frankel 2012
Categories: Matter of Fact Features
View the trailer:
The 9th annual Indianapolis International Film Festival features more than 100 films in 10 days. July 19-29 at IMA and Earth House. See the entire 2012 line up!