Matt Chaney: Football-Meida Complex

Matt Chaney is a former football player and even self-described “juicer” during his time in the game.  He used his first hand experience to write a book about steroids in football “Spiral of Denial: Muscle Doping in American Football“, and now has taken his focus on the concussion issue.  Chaney is what I like to call a “pseudo contributor” to The Concussion Blog, he has helped with finding many articles and topics on this blog.  Behind the scenes Matt is one of the most profound people to spark conversation, and has very “real” views on this issue; not to mention that Chaney is a very good journalist.  (This post is part 2 of an excerpt preview for a pending analysis on Chaney’s Blog, ‘Brain Trauma Stalks Football Players, Dictates Impact Game Reform,’ which will include independent experts’ recommendations for constructive steps imperative to the sport’s survival at public schools and colleges.)

A couple of months after Matt Chaney took a hard look at Neuropsychological Testing he now looks at how the media has been handling the issue.  Matt holds nothing back as his analysis and opinion make people take a look at how things are being done.  Chaney has even given The Concussion Blog some of his feedback and we listen to every point.  Some of his points are clear but yet seem to be overlooked;

Despite the contemporary campaign of “concussion awareness” and “culture change” for tackle football, as game officials and media promote, America essentially remains insensitive to brain disorder in victims and especially athletes.

“Generally speaking, mankind does not empathize with brain diseases as well as with physical ailments; there is this negative response, culturally, for diseases of the brain,” said Dr. Bennet Omalu, the forensic pathologist who first discovered cerebral damage in an American football player, deceased NFL lineman Mike Webster.

“If you talk about having mental disorder, psychological disease, people wouldn’t empathize with you,” Omalu said. “Rather, they would stigmatize you and ostracize you. And I can see the same cultural trend in football.”

In pro football, if a player complains too loudly about head injury, or stays too long on the disabled list, he risks public stigma, ridicule and unemployment. Adding insult, irony, players are blamed most in this issue, widely presumed to disregard their own head injuries and foil detection.

The main point being that what is actually being portrayed in the public may not be what is actually happening in terms of what we are learning about concussions.  It cannot be driven home more clearly than by Omalu in the Chaney post;

“Let me make a statement here,” Omalu intoned, as a premier independent brain expert considering football context during a January interview. “Policies are made in science based on the prevailing and emerging evidence, and the evolving ways of thinking. Our understanding of brain injury has advanced in a very fast pace in the past 10 years.”

“Current policies in football are based on what we knew 20 years ago. Policy-making and policy-enactments in football are not on par with the advances in science. Why? Because the advances of science are further confirming that football is a very dangerous game.”

Click the extremely long link above and read the entire post and make a comment, Matt will respond.

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