ABC has run a very extensive story about head injuries in sport (see football) in light of the Duerson suicide. The article is good but what is striking are the videos associated with it. Not only the embedded video on the first page, but the sourced videos below it, mainly about Mike Webster (Driven Mad?).
Neuropathologist Bennet Omalu, MD, who was the first to identify the condition, told MedPage Today, “There is no reason, no medical justification, for any child younger than 18 to play football, period.”
As we should know Omalu is the godfather of CTE, he first found it with Webster and subsequently other former NFL’ers, once called a “doctor of Voodoo medicine” Omalu has some of the best perspective on this injury.
“People said then, and still are saying today, that when former athletes deteriorate into depression, drug abuse, and even violence and criminality, it’s because they don’t compete well on the field of life after competing well on the field of football,” Omalu said in an interview with MedPage Today.
“I did not think that was a correct assumption. I think football was a high impact sport that could result in repeated blows to the head and brain damage,” he said.
And when Omalu published his finding in 2005;
The National Football League reacted with outrage, demanding a retraction of the paper. “They said I was Nigerian — what I was doing wasn’t science, I was practicing voodoo medicine,” he recalled.
Getting back to the opening quote from Omalu, he clarifies this by saying;
“The brain is not fully developed until about age 18. Impact to the head in younger people may not cause any obvious damage that could be seen on CT or MRI, but on the cellular, epigenetic level there is damage,” he said.
It is good that more and more attention is being brought to this cause. As we discover more information more changes can be made and we can all protect the brains of those playing sports or did play sports.