For many years the “government” has kept its collective mouth shut about happenings in sports. Occasionally they will make statements regarding the health of players in sports; case in point steroids and PED’s. The highest football league in the States and world has often had little resistance from “government” while doing business, until now.
The Department of Health and Human Services along with The Center for Disease Control and The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health have released an NFL Notification about brain and nervous system disorders. The NFL Notification can be found by clicking on the jump above. Here are the highlights;
- In general, brain and nervous system disorders were more than 3 times higher among players; 17 players died with Alzheimer’s, ALS, or Parkinson’s compared to 5 men in the U.S. (see graph).
- More speed position players died from these disorders compared to the non-speed position players.
- ALS was 4 times higher among players; 7 players died with ALS compared to fewer than 2 men in the U.S.
- Alzheimer’s was 4 times higher among players; 7 players died with Alzheimer’s compared to fewer than 2 men in the U.S.
- Parkinson’s was not increased among players compared to men in the U.S.
This is not “old” news rather, it is confirming what has already been known, but kept in the background. Granted the numbers are not staggering, 7 of nearly 3,500 subjects, it however is significant. I would be quite interested if they can develop a similar study involving CTE, perhaps that can be done and may be in the works (looking toward Boston).
This information is coming on the heels of an interview with President Obama where he made his first statements on the issue at hand (via Bloomberg);
President Barack Obama expressed concern about violence and injuries in professional and intercollegiate football, saying he would “think long and hard” if he had a son before allowing him to play.
Obama, an avowed sports fan and the father of two daughters, said in an interview with The New Republic magazine that the National Collegiate Athletic Association in particular should consider rules changes in view of emerging evidence on long-term health consequences of head blows suffered by players.
He said he is “more worried” about amateur college players than professional National Football League players who are “grown men” represented by a union and paid a salary.
And here lies the dichotomy of the issue; adolescent/youth/non-professional vs. professional football. Should there be a whole different set of rules and standards for those that are not monetarily compensated for the sport? Certainly, we should have different expectations and management for those that are not even adults, right? Will this “kill” the game? (yes, yes and no, IMO BTW)
What we know is what we see and what we are seeing is nothing that we – as a COLLECTIVE group – cannot handle. There are answers to all the issues at hand, some are things many don’t want to hear. But acting like my 5-year-old and putting your hands over your ears and saying “la-la-la-la” will not make the problem go away.
Would love to hear comments regarding this…