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Lights Out
Can contact sports lower your intelligence?

By Barry Yeoman

Some 20 years ago, in front of a frenzied and antagonistic crowd, Harry Carson hurled his entire bulk—240 pounds—into an equally massive human body racing toward him across the field at Washington’s RFK Stadium. A middle linebacker with the New York Giants, Carson was a celebrated defensive football player, smart and agile, selected for the Pro Bowl even during years his team couldn’t eke out a winning season. Above all, he was known for aggression. Once, walking off the field after a game, Carson felt a tug on his jersey, turned around, and found himself eye to eye with O. J. Simpson. “Man, I’ve been hit by some of the best,” the running back told him. “But I’ve never been hit as hard as you hit me today.”

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