McMahon: Memory Loss – Turner: ALS

Steve Keating of the LA Times has been in Dallas covering the event that is to unfold on Sunday.  Prior to the “big game” there are many events and outings for companies and sponsors, usually selling something.  However there was one event that was selling much more than goods and services, it was selling a heaping dose of reality in terms of concussions.

The Sports Legacy Institute held a fund-raiser event with former players in attendance, including Super Bowl XX winning QB Jim McMahon;

Super Bowl memories are meant to last forever, but former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon worried on Thursday that his could fade away like his ability to remember things as simple as why he walked into a room.

Also in attendance was Kevin Turner, not as well-known outside of the cities he played in, but a “pro’s-pro” in the game of football;

Kevin Turner, a bruising fullback who spent nine seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots, spends a lot of time thinking about his life – or more accurately the life he has left after being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

A recent study has linked ALS to brain trauma with NFL players having an eight times higher risk of contracting the disease.

“In 1997 on a kickoff I took a hit to the head and found myself asking a team-mate are we in Green Bay or Philly,” said Turner. “I played the whole time but I can’t recall ever getting treatment and I practiced and played next week.

“We need to start taking those things seriously and treating the most important organ in your body like we do our knees.”

Keating, along with Alan Schwarz have done a tremendous job of bringing these issues from the shadows and actually putting faces and noteworthy individuals front and center to make the point more clear.  Again as we run these stories it is very important to note, the concussion injury is going to happen, that is not the issue.  The issue however, in my humble opinion, is how we handle this issue from assessment, to diagnosis, to treatment, and then to return to play.  There is a MASSIVE stigma associated with concussions and brain trauma in general.  Take this information for what it is worth, information because it takes people like Keating, Schwarz, Carroll, Chaney, and Muchnick to bring information that most do not want to discuss.  (I am sure there are many, many, many other reporters and bloggers out there that are doing the same work, that is why this blog is here).

If you need further information about concussions where you are at, contact your local Athletic Trainer, as they are the “boots on the ground” in this issue.


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