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Dr. Johnny Benjamin Headshot

Gov. Rendell: You're wrong, NFL was right and Eagles Lost

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The NFL wages a fierce battle in the court of public opinion with issues related to concussions, compensation for retired and injured players, lengthening the regular season and a myriad of other player safety related concerns. But their decision to postpone Sunday's game between my beloved Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings correctly valued public safety over ratings, financial profits, the opinions of media pundits and the musings of a governor that should be far more focused on addressing the many, far more serious needs and crisis confronting the good people of Pennsylvania.

As a surgeon that loves the city, trained and worked long hours in a busy Philadelphia emergency room (Temple University Hospital), I am acutely aware of the resources that must be expended to care for the seriously injured trauma patient in that vital 'golden hour' of life; the crucial 60 short minutes between injury and potentially life-saving care that commonly makes the difference.

I am also aware of the personal sacrifices that first responders and hospital personnel make on a daily basis but far more so during times of natural calamity like hurricanes, tornadoes and blizzards.

Anyone from Philly knows what can happen when 50,000 or so properly lubricated (and maybe just a bit more than usual due to the cold weather) 'Iggles' fans attempt to navigate I-95 and the Schuykill Expressway in blizzard conditions.

How many heart attacks may have occurred while fans dug their way out of a buried parking lot using a plastic stadium cup?

How many inebriated people passed out in a snow drift would have battled hypothermia?

How many regular folks who fell ill and weren't fortunate enough to hold game tickets would have waited hours for life-saving care due to roads that were impassable from post-game automobile collisions? Those drunken fans weren't walking home.

And how many innocent people must be needlessly injured or killed attempting to provide aid to people that should have been safe at home riding out the Nor'Easter?

Few people love Eagles' football more than me but I love the good people of Philadelphia far more. They deserve a chance to go to work, give an honest effort for fair pay and then go home to their families to watch the game safely on Tuesday night.

Governor Rendell, the run-up to the 2012 national elections hasn't started yet and unfortunately the Eagles lost.

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