Episode 8: 'The Worst Part About Our Sport'
Everybody knows football is a tough, violent sport. But the long-term consequences of playing — particularly as they relate to concussions — have only recently started to emerge. The game has gotten safer, but it still poses big risks for the young men who play it.
Football forever changed the life of Jack Kerouac, who played for the Columbia Lions in the early 1940s. It brought him to New York, where he met the likes of Allen Ginsburg and Neal Cassady and established himself as an early pioneer of the Beat movement. But, according to a New Yorker story by journalist Ian Scheffler, "Football and the Fall of Jack Kerouac," it also left him scarred — physically and perhaps even mentally.
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Jack Kerouac played football for Columbia in the early 1940s.
(Courtesy Columbia University Archives.)
Wooden crutches that belonged to Jack Kerouac, who used them after breaking his leg while a football player at Columbia, are part of the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library.
Players leave the field after Columbia's win over Yale — the team's first Ivy League win since 2012.
Defensive lineman Hunter Little with his mom, Julie Meisler, after the Yale game.