CDC, NIOSH and Department of HHS Issue Statement

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…

7 thoughts on “CDC, NIOSH and Department of HHS Issue Statement

  1. joe bloggs January 28, 2013 / 11:34

    The CDC just slapped a warning label on Professional Football. The CDC will not need to slap a warning at lower levels. Insurance companies will withdraw coverage from the schools on an accelerated basis. Children do suffer from more severe acute injuries so schools will be left with an easy choice to exit. I would expect the American Academy of Family Physicians to take a position in the next few years that suggests the end of the game (the AMA more a less did so with boxing in the early 80s and the sport is now on the fringe).

    The President suggests that college and lower levels of the game should be make material changes. He knows little about how a publicly financed feeder system works. The NFL/NCAA make a great deal of money operating minor league football with free labor, no long-term medical care, and massive subsidies. If he thinks gun control is tough this will be worse.

    He states that the pros make money and have a union that protects them is not a legitimate position. The health costs are experienced for the next 5 decades. Most pros make less money and have much shorter careers then one would suppose. Jahvid Best is forced to retire at 23 with a brain injury, and he his not vested. Over the weekend one could have seen Leroy Hoard (PCS) and Fred McNeil (early onset dementia and possible CTE) on EPSN/OTL; and Kevin Turner (ALS) the Mary Easterling widow of Ray Easterling (CTE/Suicide) on MSNBC. As more players and their families come out of the shadows, the picture is going to become even more bleak. The union is a joke; just ask any retired NFL player. DeMaurice Smith never says much and what he does say amounts to nothing more than lawyer speak.

    More interestingly, the President suggest that if he had a son, he would have a hard time letting him play. In Obama speak, he would not let his son play. This is not surprising as our President is an educated upper income earner. Most educated people will stop their children from playing football as we know it because the evidence says to. How many boxers come from high income zip codes. A more pointed question is how many NFL Team owners’ children or grandchildren play football. How many children or grandchildren of NFL Executives or NFLPA Executives (who did not play in the NFL) play football? Mr. Goodell’s daughters don’t play and neither do DeMaurice Smith’s son or daughter. It becomes a tough sell when the game’s leader keep their children off the field.

    At least Bernard Pollard of the Ravens is speaking his mind, he believes 30 years from now football will be gone. He is probably correct although with far too generous a timeline. The game is in denial. The NFL/NCAA cabal are guaranteeing the end of the game by trying to maintain the status quo and not solving key problems. The game does not want to bear the costs it creates and sooner rather than later it will go off a cliff.

    If the game is to survive, focused concerted action is needed. The marketers and the lawyers need to exit the room. People who know and care about the game need to step up and discuss the sports consequences without being muzzled. Men will still get hurt and badly hurt but experience less long-term damage. I doubt this will occur as it seems we have passed a point of no return and all the league and the union can do is talk and talk and talk.

    • George Visger January 28, 2013 / 15:21

      I couldn’t agree with you more. As a former non-vested NFL player who has an Orange Bowl ring, a Super Bowl ring, and has survived 9 NFL caused emergency VP Shunt brain surgeries, I can tell all the talking heads exactly what those young players and families are headed for. But they don’t want to hear from me, as I will upset their $9.5 BILLION cash cow.

      You would think with all that money I would qualify for something for my 3 NFL caused knee surgeries, 9 NFL caused brain surgeries and 30 plus years of gran mal seizures but I don’t.

      Here is a peak at what those young players are headed for.

      KVIE Channel 6 Sidelined: Concussions In Sports 12/19/12

      Channel 13 News Sacramento 10/29/12 Terry Tuatolo interview

      NPR: A Brain, A Life, Battered by Football

      And my attempt to mitigate some of the carnage.

      Visger Rules – Recommended Changes to NFL Rules | The Sport Digest Dec 16, 2010 … George Visger, who played defensive tackle for the University of Colorado in the 1977 Orange Bowl, and won a Super Bowl championship in 1981…/visger-rules-recommended-changes-to-nfl-rules/ – Cached

      George Visger
      Wildlife Biologist/TBI Consultant
      The Visger Group

    • A Concerned Mom January 29, 2013 / 06:41

      I’m not sure if the insurance companies are going to withdraw coverage, or if we’re going to see risk transferred to the player/parent. It’s not unusual to see additional immunity language in concussion laws. In addition, believe USA Football has an agreement with an insurer to provide coverage to youth leagues which participate in their program.

      Think for now, at lower levels they’re going to try to go with headsup play. Can’t help thinking that much could depend on what’s discovered through new research. In any event, guess having kids hit less is better than what we did in the past. I’m just not sure if it’s good enough.

  2. Parents and players need to be well educated pertaining to the following fundamental concern re…an athlete suffering any college, high school or professionally- related sport injury:

    Down the road another insurance carrier may not cover further medical problems resulting from the earlier sustained injury as the earlier injury may be perceived as a “pre-existing injury” and thus not covered under a current health insurance policy.

    Retired NFL Football players have reported this problem…of denial of insurance claim due to pre-existing injury.

    Thus athletes should minimally receive ongoing health coverage for the sustained injury from the NFL, college, university or school district played.

    In addition, seems like a strong argument exists for objectively obtaining Worker’s Compensation for injuries suffered while participating in NCAA and the professional sports. Unfortunately NFL players reportedly have not fared welll with W. C Board decisions.

    Furthermore, perhaps another and ” masked ” reason the NCAA has failed to support both the insuring and financial compensation to athletes who generate both mucho monies and free advertising for the schools,..

    may lie in concern that if the athletes receive financial compensation…the collleges and universities may eventually be subject ot Worker’s Comp Insurance fees…???? and other legal claims.

    • last paragraph repeated below..accidently hit send button before correcting typos…

      may lie in concern that if the athletes receive financial compensation…the colleges and universities may eventually be subject to Worker’s Comp Insurance fees…and other legal claims ???.

      • joe bloggs January 30, 2013 / 10:16

        NFL Players have even more problems with disability than they do with worker’s comp.

        The NCAA is insulated by a 1952 decisions that exempted them for worker’s comp. The NCAA D-1 schools will need to admit their teams (revenue sports) are minor-league, pay salaries, conform to labor laws and dispense with the phoney educational component.

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