The first alternative featured an X-ray-like illustration from behind with an emphasis on the brain and spinal cord. We blurred the masthead as an effect, representing the blurry vision that could come as a side effect of a concussion. Ultimately, we figured, this image focused almost too much on the brain and did not address other areas at risk of injury in lacrosse — like the knees, chest, ankles and hands. (Did you know the thumb is the most commonly injured digit in lacrosse?)
The second alternative features Brad Ross, whose bout with persistent post-concussion syndrome anchors the Sports Science and Safety package, and the powerful quote Corey McLaughlin used to lead the story: “I’m 28 years old, and I’m worried about long-term brain issues.” It certainly grabs you, but it felt more like a public service announcement than a cover.
The third alternative was the best of several options where we depicted high and blind-side hits in men’s lacrosse — the biggest offenders in causing concussions. It’s a great photo by Kevin Tucker from the 2012 NCAA tournament game between Maryland and Lehigh. But would it be fair to single out one team or one player and make it or him the poster child of foul play? That did not seem right, especially since we do not know what consequences came of this particular hit.
What do you think? Did we make the right choice? Sound off in the comments. We are gluttons for punishment.