If you have been around enough you have seen the stylings of Matt Chaney on this blog, he is someone I call a friend. In some circles that discounts me as a professional, which is both stupid and dumb. I don’t always agree with Matt, heck him and I have been known to battle via electronic and phone communications. However, his opinion is a valuable one – often his work is based in so much fact it makes your head spin as to why some of its missed. Regardless, Matt has published two recent articles on his blog, for all to consume, here are some excerpts.
Part 1, published January 7th;
Historic football excuses thrive in modern debate over brutality
Lawsuits, criticism explode and officials project blame onto individuals
Old talking points of football apology resonate yet as officials tout anti-concussion measures like trainers along sidelines, new rules for safer play, injury reduction and expert consultation—same type of promises heard from gridiron leaders during the Victorian Era
American football gets lambasted in public for maiming and killing, denounced by an influential movement of critics, and game officials pledge safer play based on their new concepts of prevention, including:
*Qualified trainers and doctors will patrol sidelines.
*State-of-art medical response will treat the rare severe casualties.
*Limits will govern length of practices.
*Injury tracking will cut rates already on decline.
*Coaches will properly train players.
*Every player will undergo medical prescreening.
*Experts will lead safety reform in rulemaking and research.
*Referees and coaches will enforce new rules of experts.
*Players will follow new rules of experts.
Sounds familiar, these steps, a practical recitation of talking points for contemporary “safer football” promoted by the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell, in face of lawsuit frenzy against the league and sport in general, along with festering disgust in the public.
Except the football rhetoric is 119 years old, from 1894, a packaged response during the game’s initial siege against formidable opposition seeking abolishment.
Erstwhile math professor Eugene L. Richards outlined the football argument in a commentary he wrote for Popular Mechanics while at Yale University, unofficial headquarters of the American game as it were then, entertainment monopoly blossoming for select colleges. Richards, a former Yale football player, was close associate of alumni player Walter Camp, who became known as “Father of American Football.”
Camp pioneered play design and rulemaking for the game, and, equally important, he established a football public-relations framework with his prodigious communication of the sport, essays, books and speeches. Notably for this discussion, Camp personally crafted and disseminated feel-good themes of tackle football that endure, like manliness, education, industriousness, patriotism and social event, to obscure the irremovable, reprehensible byproduct of mass carnage for young bodies and minds.
Richards’ essay of November 1894, “The Football Situation,” stands as original template in football apology, timeless talking points that channel Camp’s defense of the gridiron. Richards responded to period critics who alleged football “evils” negated any “good,” and his assertions resonate today for the debate renewed, continuing:
*News media sensationalize gridiron violence and injuries.
*Only football abolitionists and “timid” people see unnecessary danger.
*Football teaches teamwork, courage, while building mind and body.
*Football is part-and-parcel with a complete education.
*Football saves urban or underprivileged boys from streets.
*Football is salvation for youths everywhere.
*Football provides healthy catharsis for male aggression.
*Seriously injured players are typically predisposed, physically or genetically.
Richards also penned an introduction for Camp’s book release that season, Football Facts and Figures, “a resoundingly pro-football polemic” that began with “a barrage of football propaganda,” observes author John Sayle Watterson, football historian. “Anyone who read Camp’s book, especially the introductory excerpts, might come away wondering what all the critical fuss was about. According to the ‘facts and figures’ so authoritatively interpreted, no one suffered permanent injuries, and all but a cranky handful agreed that football’s virtues outweighed its shortcomings.”
Part 2, published January 14th;
Football ‘Freak Accident’ Myth Obscures CatastrophesMueller and Cantu Ignore 150 Grave Casualties of 2011Decades of Shoddy UNC Data Spur Public Misconceptions[…]
News writers go along, publishing official talk verbatim, as fact. Media also mistakenly interpret available injury data and minimize gridiron carnage: “There were 4.2 million high school and college football players in 2011, and only .80 per 100,000 received a serious injury–a rate lower than gymnastics and ice hockey for both men and women,” reports Annie Hauser for EverydayHealth.com, erroneously, ranging from her misstating estimated population of all football players to her relying on skewed in-house data.
Public misconception of terrible risk and outcome in American football, inspiring bogus comparisons with other activities, is rooted in decades of misleading research on “catastrophic” injuries that is funded by football itself. These so-called epidemiological surveys of football’s vast casualty realm, produced at the University of North Carolina, are beset by insurmountable limitations or faults, including: a) cases are restricted to injuries only of the skull, brain, spinal cord and/or vertebral column; and b) collection is inadequate for even those categories, missing many cases reported online.
Moreover, the in-house research ignores that impacts below neckline maim and kill players regularly, while the football environment also spurs lethal physiological conditions beyond brain and spine. Hazards to the human body are practically boundless in football, directly and indirectly.
Football impacts to torso and limbs cause or annually contribute to numerous devastating outcomes including death. Cases involve cardiac arrest, artery rupture, organ destruction, blood clots, peripheral paralysis, compartment syndrome, and more problems. Meanwhile, players are killed or hospitalized in intensive care for game-related ailments not precipitated by collisions, like heart attack, cardiac arrest, heatstroke, non-cerebral blood clots, compartment syndrome and MRSA infection, among reports available in Google banks.
See below for an annotated list of more than 150 known cases of the worst casualties in football during 2011, all passed over by the limited collecting for Mueller-Cantu reports.
And when you go to read the second article you will notice the tireless work done to catalog the catstrophic injuries that have been missed by the researchers. Chaney is a good man with a good heart, albeit outspoken and extremely opinionated, but the man knows how to do work. Give him a few minutes and weed through any hyperbole you believe is there and think – cause he is good at making you do that.
As a bonus here are some email blasts that I get from Matt, including his colorful comments (in bold, and he does not need to apologize about and has told me I can run whenever I want) about such articles/information;
–oh, yeah, football is so much safer than in the past, right, Roger? right, Scott Hallenbeck? Merrill? Grandpa?… ya know, ol’ Teddy Roosevelt back there, he sure ended football barbarity? whew, I’m so glad… yea, typical for football yak, ol’ TR was about talking big but carrying a soft stick… excellent report by ABC with assist from our guys at WWL:
“Despite improvements in technology and equipment and modifications to rules in the game on both the pro and amateur level, there’s just a rougher style of play now than in the past,” said Dr. Jaime Levine, the medical director of brain injury rehabilitation with the Rusk Institute in New York.
Levine noted that pro football players are a lot bigger than they used to be. According to ESPN statistics, from 1979 to 2011, the typical top-five offensive tackle enlarged from an average of 6-foot-4, 264 pounds to 6-foot-6, 314 pounds. From 1979 to 2011, NFL-bound centers grew from an average 6-foot-3, 242 pounds to 6-foot-4, 304 pounds. In the same period, guards enlarged from an average 6-foot-3, 250 pounds to 6-4, 317 pounds.
“Size and physical conditioning techniques in sports at all levels have evolved to create an intense athlete,” she said. “They’re able to create more force, power and speed than ever before and that leads to harder hits and a greater number of hits.”
—I like this text in wake of CTE finding for Seau:This isn’t an argument calling for the extinction of football. It is the country’s most exciting and uniting spectator sport, and one that will endure regardless of what science reveals. No, this is a cry for everyone to recognize football for what it truly is — a game no less risky than helmetless boxing or freestyle motocross. …
The common contention is that athletes “know the risk going in.” In reality, that argument is toothpick-thin.
Most football careers start in high school, and teenagers don’t care about the risks. And even if they do become more wary of them in time, how many are going to turn down a scholarship or an NFL contract if such an offer comes along?
Unlike boxing or big-air skateboarding, where the dangers are so clear that they attract only the most brazen, football’s perils often don invisibility cloaks. The sub-concussive hits on the line? The constant banging in practice each week? Players may not notice a thing when they go to bed that night, but they will assuredly notice when they can’t get out of bed 15 years later.
Then again, we knew this already. Football’s ties to brain damage have been reviewed, repeated and regurgitated for years. They have proven themselves as triggers to depression, despair and death — yet somehow, the national response has been delusion. …
A couple of months ago, HBO boxing commentator Jim Lampley cried when thinking about the various ring deaths he’d covered throughout his career. He then justified boxing by saying that it provided integration and economic opportunities for people who would otherwise have none.
Whether it is camaraderie, discipline, scholarships or livelihoods, there is no denying that football can benefit athlete and spectator alike. But we need to stop pretending it’s something other than what it is.
Anyone who thinks this is just another game — a healthy competition that doesn’t seriously diminish quality of life — well, they might need their brains examined, too.
They are coming in starting about age 9, when the more competitive nature kicks in combined with increasing size and strength, Wong said.
Young concussion patients are being seen for headaches and dizziness. They can be affected by light and loud noise. Some are unable to focus as well as they used to, she added. They suffer from general “spaciness.”
But the behavioral changes may be more alarming. In some cases, personalities have changed, she said.
“I have a couple patients of my own who are totally different people,” she said. “They are still the same person, but you can tell they are not as engaged. Sometimes they are not as social. They prefer to be by themselves, whereas before they were very bubbly.”
“I’ve seen A students become C students,” she continued. One bright student bound for private college suffered multiple head injuries from snowboarding and saw her grades drop off, she said.
General coping skills for these youngsters can disappear, Wong said. …
Personality changes have not been a permanent condition in her young patients, she said. But it has in others.
“We think it’s (dependent) on the number of injuries they suffer and the severity of the injury,” she said.
The study of concussions and their long-term effects is still in the early stages. The increase of suicides of professional athletes from collision sports — including football, hockey, mixed martial arts and even professional wrestling — has spurred research, such as what was conducted on Seau’s brain.
“We believe that it’s probably going to be cumulative when the research is finished,” Wong said. “But right now we’re still very much in the infancy stage in terms of research in the young groups especially in teenagers and even college age group. How many hits, or how hard a hit does it take (to cause serious or permanent injury) we just don’t know.”
–want to reintroduce Dr. Weil in Chicago, of the email group now, with his recent comments on Griffin and much more for national radio late-night; great stuff: http://sportsdoctorradio.com/redeye.mp3
–what an idiot…
–what an effing idiot, this hack:Finally, training coaches and coaching players in techniques that are safer and lead to fewer head injuries is another area that shows promise. Coaching players at every level, starting in youth football, not to lead with the head or hit the opponent’s head when tackling, for instance, has already begun. There are numerous additional techniques that may be developed in the near future.Despite the numerous league- and player-inspired areas that offer promising approaches to the NFL’s brain injury problem, some on the left will continue to call for governmental action to control–and possibly eliminate–the game.
Matt bases his statements on facts not opinion. He may run hot but I seldom see anyone tangle with the facts he presents. While we sometimes disagree, the only way to change things is to engage in discourse.
He deserves respect because he make statements few would be willing to make.
You get respect by earning it and you don’t earn it by insulting people. Dr. Fred Mueller is one of the finest people I have ever met in our profession. He started sounding the alarm on catastrophic injuries while Matt was still playing. Neither he nor Dr. Cantu are ignoring injuries. They report everything reported directly to them by fellow medical professionals. Neither of them are scanning the web on a daily basis for stories that would still need professional corroboration. Could their system be improved upon? Absolutely. But that would require funding.
Very valid statement John… I agree that both Mueller and Cantu are doing good work, I can go toe-to-toe with Matt on this… What bothers the heck out of me on the cata injury thing is that Matt has shared all this information with both of them to no-avail… Matt took great effort to catalog injuries based upon their reports, yet both of them directly IGNORE Matt… Does that mean he has to call them names? No, I don’t agree with that, but what does someone have to do?
Oh and calling someone a name is far less as ignorant as telling people you don’t respect someone because of their “friends”. I have been told this many times by others in this community about me and my friendship with Matt…
Hey, John, we have a different view of ‘respect,’ and who ‘earns’ what in this endless BS I hear about safe tackling, ‘concussion testing,’ ‘smart helmets,’ ‘brain impact thresholds’ and more of that hocus-pocus you do ‘respect’ and write about. Take your shot, insult me for insulting people, like that’s a point here, then you can eat a whole string of FACTS about your ‘Dr. Mueller,’ who’s just a PhD in education talking like he is conducting EPIDEMIOLOGY of football catastrophes; he can’t even get it right about brain and spine calamities (and, duh, INADEQUATE FUNDING IS NO EXCUSE FOR LOUSY RESEARCH, GROUNDLESS CLAIMS):
Finally, Mueller and Cantu miss or overlook numerous known casualties of the head and spine in football each year, including cases of brain impairment and permanent paralysis, categories they purportedly cover and document to meet epidemiological standards.
Marine Corps football player Thomas Vanderlaan, 22, suffered a broken neck from striking a tackling apparatus at a practice in California during 2011. Cpl. Vanderlaan remains paralyzed from chest-down, but Mueller and Cantu ignored this case.
The researchers may do same for 2012 regarding Matt Bollig in Kansas, a college quarterback paralyzed for breaking his back during team weightlifting—Mueller and Cantu are prone to disqualify catastrophic incidents of off-field training. They bypassed the death of a college player at Southwest Minnesota State in 2010, Ben Bundy, who suffered a reported “congenital aneurysm” of the brain at a team winter workout.
Mueller and Cantu also ignored a couple 2011 cases involving congenitally tangled blood vessels known as arteriovenous malformation: college linebacker Neiron Ball in Florida, whose brain opened an AVM bleed during a conditioning session, and college lineman Logan Weber in Iowa, whose AVM bleed apparently initiated while he lifted weights. Both required brain surgery.
Mueller and Cantu naturally miss brain casualties of football that aren’t immediately publicized, like prep running back Quentin Wise, who suffers dysfunction of the central nervous system after a practice collision with multiple players in Alabama during 2011. The teen has problems with speech, vision, hearing and balance, and doctors don’t expect full recovery.
Meanwhile, if a player develops brain complications on the field without obvious link to a collision, then Mueller and Cantu can deem the incident unrelated to football, such as the case of NFL noseguard Mike Patterson, Eagles, who collapsed seizing during a practice. An AVM condition was diagnosed and Patterson underwent brain surgery.
In-House Football Studies, Findings Dangerously Endorsed by CDC and Neurosurgeons
The North Carolina reports might be short on accurate danger perspective of football injuries, but the documents are replete with talking points of football apology, absolving the system for brutality and blaming individuals only, specifically athletes, coaches and referees.
Mueller and Cantu repeatedly clarify they still endorse stale, null tenants of modern “safer football,” the 1970s policy folly of high schools and the NCAA, hopeless mandates that coaches teach headless contact to players and referees enforce rules banning helmets from collisions. The bunk was born of period tap-dancing around beloved football by medical authorities, politicians and game officials who preferred holding the wolf by its ears.
The American Medical Association exerted pressure on football during the 1960s, for doctors’ having basically determined head-on contact in new helmets posed an illicit health scourge: “The focus was the rapidly rising fatality rate among high school and college football players suffering from closed head injuries,” observe Heck, Clark, Peterson, Torg and Weis in historical overview.
But the AMA ultimately backed off, leaving resolution to the wolves, or the game and helmet industry. Football-appointed experts like spine specialist Joseph Torg, MD, and Kenneth Clarke, PhD, came up with illogical ideas of instituting “head up” or headless hitting and banning helmet contact. Then Torg and colleagues like Mueller ensured junk policy and rule were enacted in 1976 and published in sport-medicine literature.
Today, the proven invalid concepts remain wrongly endorsed—and dangerously for naïve children and parents—by authorities such as the CDC and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.
Football players, coaches and referees do not control head bashing: Collision sport and technology dictate it, the prevailing forces of leverage and bullet-head helmets on modern fields. Obviously, head-on contact hasn’t subsided in the least since 1976 and never will. “Absolutely not,” says Scott Fujita, NFL linebacker and players leader. “If anything I’d say there’s more head contact in football today.” A multitude of players, coaches, referees and more authorities support the Fujita perspective, along with endless video of game action, irrefutable evidence at all levels.
Yet Mueller and Cantu boldly maintain that stinking policy has succeeded for headless hitting. Likewise they proclaim their UNC reports “have been responsible for the reduction of football fatalities and catastrophic injuries” since 1976.
On the contrary, studies document football’s elemental head-ramming in continuum, such as research by V.R. Hodgson and L.M. Thomas in 1985, and skull-preserving helmets and life-saving trauma care have reduced football fatalities, not the limited recordkeeping of Mueller-Cantu papers.
Moreover, research outside football challenges the Mueller-Cantu claim of fewer brain and spinal casualties, along with their collection method.
Mueller and Cantu write in absolute terms for permanent quadriplegia cases they obtain predominantly from news reports—and despite their glaring omissions like Vanderlaan in 2011—stating: “For the past 35 years there have been a total of 324 football players (nationwide) with incomplete neurological recovery from cervical cord injuries.” Regarding all types of catastrophic spinal mishaps, including vertebral fracture without paralysis, Mueller and Cantu average a mere couple dozen or so finds annually from football, logging 23 total for 2011, and they acknowledge likely missing “double or more” the players who are injured without permanent dysfunction.
But government researchers detect many times more spinal injuries in football, based on national surveys of ER visits, estimating the game produced 268 cases of cervical fracture during 2009, compared to 21 logged at UNC. Other studies suggest incidence rates much higher than Mueller-Cantu statistics, including for cases of paraplegia of a “broken back” along the thoracolumbar spine
In Louisiana, state investigators of spinal-cord injuries documented 16 paralysis cases of football in only seven years, including 4 victims of quadriplegia in 1989. In Minnesota, the state found 35 cases of spinal-cord injury in 18 years of football, from 1993-2011.
Statistical sets for the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center at the University of Alabama-Birmingham indicate American football causes between 36 and 72 paralyzing injuries annually, based on the center’s database intake of about 13 percent of the estimated 12,000 SCI cases each year in the United States. Tackle football ranks 15th in UAB database etiology or injury cause, accounting for roughly 0.5 percent of U.S. cases to lead all sports, while auto accidents are No.1 overall, causing about 40 percent.
Today’s independent statistics jibe with football researchers’ 1970s spinal numbers, which peaked at 34 known cases of quadriplegia gathered by Torg and associates in 1975, right before the anti-butting and “head up” hypothesis Torg helped devise took effect as policy. Afterward, the significant drop in recorded paralysis cases surely relates to the discontinued mailing of 45,000 questionnaires for football officials, conducted annually during the decade.
Mueller and Cantu do not employ blanket surveys for catastrophic injuries in the football realm, even via email. At present they rely almost strictly on news reports for leads, a highly limited method that produced every one of the 44 brain and spinal cases they reported for 2011.
Indeed, I first collected those cases from online and forwarded each to Mueller and Cantu, along with additional severe casualties of head and spine, including 57 listed below, that they ended up ignoring for UNC stats.
But my casualty lists and blog posts on grave football injuries of 2011 did force Mueller and Cantu to “find” their record number of brain-impaired victims in 35 years of UNC gathering: 14 cases, including 13 high-school players and 1 youth player, a 5-year-old, Drew Iida of Hawaii, whom I initially discovered through a local TV brief that didn’t mention his name. (In 2010, Mueller and Cantu logged just 4 such cases, working without my assistance, and I later doubled their number of brain-bleed casualties from that year. Presently they get no advance help from me for their football reports on 2012, assuredly to be lousy.)
Mueller and Cantu ignore my queries for comment about their injury gathering over decades in football, and they don’t credit my heavy lifting in what became their 2011 documents on both nonfatal casualties and deaths. They sometimes comment elsewhere on related matters, expressing concern for the amount of brain bleeds I brought to their attention one year ago—although still laying whole blame upon individuals, none for the game.
“These 2011 numbers are the highest since we began collecting catastrophic brain-injury data,” Mueller says, speaking with Education Week. “This is a major problem.” Mueller doesn’t note that his long-time faulty collecting is a problem, nor violent football itself, but he accuses players, coaches, referees, even broadcasters and video producers, from youth leagues to pros, for allegedly allowing safer play to erode again.
Ever the apologist for blood-sport football, here’s “Dr. Mueller,” speaking with The Charlotte Observer: “There were rules changes in 1976 that made it illegal to lead with the head while tackling or blocking and the safety improved dramatically,” he drones, “It is too early to say for sure yet, we need a couple of more years’ data, but I fear we are headed back up.”
“There is no doubt that the high school players are being influenced by what they are seeing in the NFL,” Mueller continues. “The emphasis on the big hit with the excitement of the announcers and the playing of the hit over and over in replays is having an impact. And the thoughts of a bounty system for injuring players is disturbing. … You don’t see a lot of flags thrown for leading with the head. But if the officials will call it, the coaches will make sure they teach it.”
Cantu echoed Mueller in a 2010 interview with me, our only on-record conversation, and the esteemed neurologist strictly blamed human element for football violence, pointing to what he perceives as unsafe rules enforcement, unsafe coaching, unsafe colliding: “I think that the rules ought to be changed,” says Cantu, who didn’t play football, “both with regard to practices, and the amount of hitting, and with regard to officials’ calling the rules correctly, which are that the helmet is not to be the initial point of contact in blocking or tackling. And that rule is on the high-school and college rulebooks. It’s almost never called.”
Despite their ongoing apologies for violent football, Mueller and Cantu both are expressing acknowledgements suggesting they are learning some lessons.
Mueller, after decades of blabbering about his reforming brutal football, and instilling headless hitting, has been sobered by my staggering casualties uncovered through electronic search. Regarding lower death rates in football, Mueller now says: “I think that’s related to kids getting better medical care on the field; they’re not dying, but they’re having permanent brain damage.”
Other words, many of football’s fatal brain casualties of the 1960s and ’70s would survive today. In addition, some of those cases may have been non-contact AVM bleeds, which Mueller and Cantu disqualify today.
Cantu, for his part, has bravely recommended child athletes do not play tackle football until high school, foregoing the collisions for their developing brains. Now he faces repercussion from the football industry that’s made his career fame, funded his research lavishly. But he also must dismantle myth-making of his own about Safer Football, particularly for publicly held misconception about headless hitting he’s promoted for decades.
Recently football parents in North Carolina considered Cantu’s no-tackle edict for kids the ages of their own, and they generally scoffed. Some parents threw “Heads Up” tackling back at the doctor, among apology points for the game. “Kids have to learn the proper techniques and fundamentals of football,” says parent Dale Hagwood, echoing like 1976. “You learn that at a very early age.”
“A lot of injuries in sports, not just football but athletics in general, (occur) because you’re not properly trained.”
You also might ask fine, child-protecting Prof. Mueller for names of these ‘fellow medical professionals’ you speak of with such authority, John, and learn about stating fact yourself. Because other than Mueller and Cantu’s confirming a few cases of incomplete recovery last year for brain bleeds in football, in FOLLOWUP, after they received the cases from me–every data bit they publish in 2011 cases is FROM NEWS REPORTS. What a crock, John… ‘medical professionals’… right; not anymore for their collecting. Where’d you gather that bit of knowledge, btw, the introduction of their reports? Or the same page that has run verbatim for at least 10 years? You need to read the entire documents, pal, and a few times over obviously.
I think the central problem with Mr. Mueller’s reports are he does not label them appropriately. These reports at best could be termed as samples of convenience while being presented as authoritative. I have always found it odd that statistical methods were never applied to assess the utility of the figures. Further, it has also concerned me that in the face of case data extracted from publicly available sources does not result in corrections. Finally, the definitions of injury have always been poor.
Mueller is not an epidemiologist and neither is Dr. Cantu (his contributions to the field of brain injury have been myriad although some of his recent position leave me concerned. Matt and I have had raging discussions on these issues).
The problem with sports medicine in many ways results for poor data collection and analysis. You can’t remedy problems if the data is incomplete, cooked, or ill-defined. Amateur and professional collision sports may need to be eliminated because it appears to seasoned observers that issues are purposefully being manipulated to minimize the risks. These policies have worked for a few decades but sooner or later the insurers will adjust the risk. They will charge rates that reflect the projected medical costs. it will be too late to respond because the data is faulty and the so-called researchers were to busy masked problems instead of accepting them or solving them.
Matt has made a material contribution because he has documented faulty data collection, He also did so on his own dime. I believe he would be the fist to acknowledge the limitations of his method but it clearly illustrates the flaws in Mueller’s reports.
While Chaney has taken the position football should no longer be publicly subsidized, the data he has collected could provide the basis for further research to preserve the game at some level under certain parameters. (Matt might find this counter to his line of reasoning, but I have always found him more than reasonable.)
Hopefully, sports medicines will attract better investigators who subscribe to methods and practices more consistent with other fields of scientific research. In the meantime, guys like Matt call keep the system more honest by asking tough questions.
If you are discussing the notion of “ respect “…it seems to me that Matt has earned respect for searching, researching and reporting various aspects of sport history, including educating readers re the existence of an assortment of sport related injuries such as brain injuries / concussions.
Sadly these sport-related injuries have been minimized and / or ignored by numerous “respected professionals” whom are enmeshed within significant self-serving conflict of interests.
Though you may not appreciate Matt’s style of reporting, his ongoing work serves to educate those who will listen and reflect upon the dire facts presented. Thus I would encourage you “to not to throw out the baby with the water”.
Matt’s presentation of historic comments re safer football / sport is an excellent example of his quality research and corresponding insights.
If we are to make advancements in the area of sport injuries, including sport-related concussions, then it is imperative that WE MUST KNOW SPORT INJURY HISTORY.
In today’s blog, Matt’s cited findings and corresponding message echo the words of General George Patton who embraced the importance of knowing history.
Knowledge of history was essential to General Patton. The illustrious General was quoted as saying:
To be a successful soldier you must know history. Read it objectively.
Juxtaposing a few words…
To be a successful as an AT, MD, psychologist, neurologist, educator, parent and so on… you must:
accurately comprehend concussion and other sport injury history;
read the history objectively;
And be free from conflicts of interests.
I think those ‘on the front line’ wishing to enhance their sport injury / concussion assessment & management skills need to absorb and accurately comprehend sport injury history and its corresponding controversies.
This history includes the existence of the mine-laden field of self-servicing COIs that result in the gladiator-like athletes being used as ‘cannon fodder’ for the selfish and financial benefit of others.
Over the past year I have been interviewed by various media and a legal firm representing former NFL players re sport-related concussions.
During each interview I shared the following significant personal concerns re the status of the SRC field:
“Sadly, there is a significant amount of conflicts of interest, corruption and corresponding deliberate dissemination of misinformation that exists in this emerging SRC field.”
Now traveling back 8 years plus…
Eight years ago this past October I successfully defended my NFL Concussion- related Dissertation research. During the PhD journey my eyes and mind were guided and opened to apparent conflicts of interest (COI) that existed within the SRC research arena.
A ‘laser highlight’ re COIs occurred when I presented preliminary findings of my concussion research at a national concussion convention held in Pittsburgh. The highlight was not the presentation of the research results…but the following occurrence during a formal discussion of current status of SRC research.
A ‘prominent professional within the emerging field of SRC finished sharing various ‘knowledge’ about SRCs. He then asked if there were any questions?
I subsequently raised my hand and queried:
“Given all the information that has been shared at this convention, what is being done to educate the general public re the adverse effects of concussions?”
The ‘professional’ promptly exclaimed… “Next question !” That absurd and arrogant response further spurred me on to expand the Conflict of Interest section within my Dissertation…
and to continue accurately (as much as possible) writing and speaking about sport-related concussions…acquired from readings, observations, dialogues with others, and my own personal journey with a “mild” concussion.
have any of you guys ever played pro football and have to live now with the experience of multiple concussions and the effects years later; when i played we were taught to lead with the helmet up into the chin; heads up football tackling is nonsense unless the player decides to wrap with shoulder and arms; in pro that could make you miss as a tackler;
as a blocker you have no option other than leading with your helmet as you can not extend your arms; lets see injury wise i have had a broken foot, torn cartilege, stretched ligaments, broken ribs, cracked collor bone , nose broken twice, 5 concussions that i can remember; and the killer blow was a cracked vertabrae in calgary playing with the roughriders.