Tag: Len Sparks

Disappearance of Len Sparks adds to CFL family’s CTE turmoil

Len and Erin Sparks

The 1960s was a time of seismic cultural and societal change and an immense sense of energy crackled in the air in all aspects of life.  And in that metric, the Canadian Football League would arguably enjoy their most golden decade with powerhouse teams like the Hamilton Tiger Cats, Ottawa Rough Riders, Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Saskatchewan Roughriders who among them, captured 9 national championships in the 60s.
Leonard (Len) Sparks, a full football scholarship star player at Wyoming, was a northern Ontario boy who came south lured by the legitimacy of play in the CFL and eventually played for four different CFL teams between 1963 and 1969.  As a solid defensive back/end, Sparks was subjected to the terrible violence of the game at a time when helmets were little more than a lightly padded plastic shell, spearing and chop blocking with a head lead were routine and “concussion protocol” was a farfetched fantasy. A ringing of one’s bell, and “how many fingers do you see and what city are you in.” “Real men” sucked it up and went back to getting their noggins knocked again and again.

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