Team Gleason PSA – Hey NFLPA Please Read

I received this from an anonymous source and was asked to spread this news, hopefully it will reach those it is intended for…  How bout you watch the video first then go to the Team Gleason website;
Subject: PSA release: NFL Players and Coaches stand together to cure ALS
Hi everyone…I hope this email finds you well…
Just wanted to let you know that beginning today, we at Team Gleason are rolling out a new ALS awareness campaign to be introduced this week in New Orleans for the Super Bowl.
Here’s a link to the video, which takes viewers directly to the Team Gleason website:
This is important, please spread if you get the chance…  This is NOT JUST A FOOTBALL PROBLEM, this is a problem for everyone!
Advertisements

UCLA Tau PET Study

If you paid attention yesterday you saw that a very preliminary study was unveiled about identification of tau proteins in the brain.  This is significant on two fronts

  1. up until now this has been non-existent with current imaging technology
  2. tau is the #1 culprit in chronic traumatic encephalopathy

If, in fact, this PET scan can find and map out the tau in living brains this would be a “watershed” moment in the treatment of CTE.  This would be because we have not been able to treat CTE, the only way to find CTE is via a posthumous examination.

I believe this is very exciting, but remember like all things in life, caution is needed – the study was only five former NFL’ers and to fully confirm the information gathered the researchers could be waiting a long time, hopefully.

A quick side note here, Dr. Bennett Omalu is a co-author on this study, which isn’t ironic as some have suggested, rather a product of his good work in this area.  For those in the “know” surrounding research in concussions and CTE finds this part of the story – Omalu – “interesting”.

What a great start, and I am willing to be scanned if anyone wants to pass that along!  I would even write a blog about my experiences with it.

Matt Chaney – Tireless Worker

SpringGame1984Sideline
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. Continue reading

Another Upcoming Concussion Symposium – January 25th

Time is short on this, I understand, but I just was dropped a note about this symposium being held in Chicago.  Once again yours truly has “commitments”, this time it is a wrestling dual tournament – where my services are needed more.  Regardless, when I looked at the faculty list and the speaking topics my interest was piqued.  BIG NOTE here it is only $25 for athletic trainers to attend ($60 for physicians).

The lecture is going to be directed by Julian Bailes, MD and David Firm, MD, PhD, both unheralded leaders in the field of brain injury.  What is more interesting than that is the fact that two relative “quiet” doctors will be presenting their information.  Both of these men are “controversial”; one is seen as an extreme outsider by the NFL and the powers that be in their corner – Dr. Bennett Omalu the other has had his share of issues, mainly in the press (see Irv Muchnick), for previous perceived mishandling of concussions in the NFL and WWE – Dr. Joseph Maroon.

Unlike the symposium I posted about yesterday, there are no athletic trainers on the speaking panel, to me that is a shame as the athletic trainer is the front lines on concussions in sports (mainly HS up).  Here are the topics, Continue reading

NFL Concussion Litigation – The Science of Sport

That is the title given to the upcoming webinar/teleconference sponsored by Perrin Conferences.  These events are mainly geared toward attorneys/lawyers and offer continuing education credits (CLE) for attending.  Below is the press release;

==========

Experts in NFL Concussion Suits join together to tackle industry trends, litigation challenges, and the science in sports injuries on Jan. 8.

Berwyn, PA – Perrin Conferences‘ teleconference series presents “NFL Concussion Litigation – The Science of Sport,”  a program bringing together leading attorneys, doctors and other experts to discuss the issues dominating the headlines of the concussion cases against the NFL, NCAA and equipment manufacturers.  The teleconference will be hosted on Jan. 8 at 2:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m. EST.

The program provides an overview of the current allegations and defenses in NFL concussion litigation, an update on the latest scientific studies, and tackles other issues including:

  • The potential legal and economic impact of concussion litigation for players, sports leagues and uniform equipment manufacturers
  • Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy – what is it and how does the science fit into the current litigation strategies?
  • The history of the dangers of head injuries and the timeline of NFL-sponsored studies/concussion rules
  • Medical monitoring and other potential damages
  • Duty to defend, trigger, occurrence and other insurance issues

Speakers include Continue reading

Zurich Day 2… And We Are Live

I have figured out the power situation so I will be trying to update the blog ASAP after each session…  For the time being make sure to follow on Twitter…

==========

1030 CST: Session 7, final session: The Sharp End

First debate between Dr. Cantu (yes) and Dr. Herring (no): is no RTP same day the best management paradigm?  Is keeping a player out one week long enough and is the graduated RTP protocol sufficient…

THERE WILL BE NO RTP on same day in the new statement!!!

Change of direction on Session 7, questions with panel answers, pro-con (if available)

Do 3 concussions end your career?

  • its comedy hour
  • Aubrey – treat each athlete individually
  • Dvorak – it has to be based on timing and complexity of each recovery – case-by-case basis
  • Putukian – if we can’t agree on dx how can we agree on a number
  • Overall theme is it is individualized, not all concussions are the same (Cantu)

Who is best qualified to make the sideline decision?

  • Cantu – multiple members working under a physician can make the call
  • Herring – concerning to him that some information is intrinsic to doctors so need to be careful
  • better question is who best qualified – person with most experience
  • Dvorak – looking at spectrum of games played, doctors are best qualified in most instances, but are they there in all matches?  We should aim all this to the “grass roots” as the professional level there is more than adequate coverage.
    • comedy about football versus american football
  • Ellenbogen – those that know the athletes should be making the decision, maybe a parent in youth sports, or athletic trainers, understanding the patients baseline is important
  • Putukian – balancing act, in a perfect world its a team approach (Athletic Trainer mention), and she says in the US the athletic trainer should be making the decisions on the sidelines…
  • Aubrey – Hockey Canada has a safety person (volunteer) in lieu of an athletic trainer
  • Cantu – brings up possibly training school teachers in concussion
  • Herring – if you are team physician do you need someone else to make the decision if you are on the sideline?  Panel – no

Is there a role for grading concussions?

  • Cantu – not perfect, but informing patient is important about severity and duration of recovery, after the fact
  • McCrory – we have moved from grading, look at the recovery – perhaps look at the SCAT/serial testing
  • Putukian – looking at history is more important than arbitrary “grade”
  • Herring – may help with continual care from one place to another, but again important to understand history

Should we be returning on the same day of concussion?

  • Aubrey – what about the NHL player in the playoffs (rhetorical question)
  • Cantu – no once recognized
  • McCrory – what about the players that clear the SCAT, so no concussion, but you know something is amiss?
  • Putukian – example of hockey player with delayed symptoms
  • McCrory – concussion is often an evolving injury
  • Ellenbogen – it is a traumatic brain injury, is the game worth it?  No.
  • Panel – consensus is NO RTP same day
  • McCrory to Aubrey about playoff example – what about a regular season, and Aubrey is being very honest, and he feels the player push back is greater
  • Ken Dryden from the audience – why are we treating professional athletes different from the youth or non-elite athlete
    • We are starting to move away from that, all athletes should be treated the same

Should there be helmets in woman’s lacrosse and field hockey?

  • Cantu – yes, because of stick and ball causation of concussion
  • Putukian – no, change nature of the game, no reports of intercranial bleeds in women’s lacrosse, weary of unintended consequences (BTW, probably has the most experience with this)
  • Cantu and Putukian discussing this topic
  • Change gears – what about football?
    • Dvorak not in FIFA’s plans to recommend, many reasons including the false security of wearing head gear
  • Audience Q: should we discourage the use of the head bands/head gear
    • Dvorak – your own prerogative but data does not support the use of them as recommendation (Czech goalie wears one)
    • McIntosh – Rules are more important at this time

Should there be age restriction on tackling in American football, heading in soccer and checking in ice hockey?

  • Cantu – his words speak for themselves, youth sports needs to look at how the game is played because of the differences between older
  • McCrory – in Australia you cannot get to the gladiatorial aspect of Aussie Rules until they are “of age” (13 if I heard correctly)
  • Ellenbogen – risk of activity, most concussions via CDC information is from wheeled sports and recreation, does not make sense at this time to him, advise accordingly
  • Cantu – youth sports don’t have the good data, personally he does not believe learning a sport at age 5 will make you elite, it is a genetic disposition in his opinion
  • Putukian – it makes sense to decrease exposure, US Lacrosse has put age 13 on checking, her take on soccer is that there is no data to support this when using proper sized ball and equipment
  • Dvorak – young soccer players learn sport first, and fundamentals of “football” its not “headball”, studies done on heading ball and with study there was no increase in biomarkers they were looking at it.  They don’t force kids to head ball until skills are sufficient.
  • Herring – false warranty?  Arbitrary age is concerning, take head out of the game rather then taking the game away from youth athletes.  The limit to exposure is accurate, but complete removal of the sport may not be necessary.
  • Cantu – sport needs to be safer for younger athletes
  • Aubrey – ice hockey has set limits on age for body checking, research is very important, it will help make decisions

—–

Dr. Jamie Kissick speaking on “From Consensus to Action”

  • Knowledge is power
  • “There is an app for that”
  • Knowledge Translation (KT) Concepts Continue reading

Two Excellent Researchers Discussion Concussions

If you get the chance you should take the time to read the research that has been done by David Hovda, PhD and Kevin Guskiewicz, PhD, ATC; not only is it good information but it has been some of the leading information.  These two gentleman do a great job of explaining the issues and making them more tangible for everyone.

On September 6th, both Hovda and Guskiewicz had a real-time chat about concussions on ScienceLive;

ScienceLive, Science magazine’s weekly web discussions with experts in various fields, will examine the issue of sports- and combat-related head injuries during a web chat at 3 p.m. Eastern today. Guests include Kevin Guskiewicz of the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and David Allen Hovda, the Director of the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center.

You can click the link above to go and read the replay of the chat, a must for those looking for information and would be a good idea if you have kids playing sports now.  Below are selected comments from the chat; Continue reading

New Study; Posting for Reference

This information was not only new, but really took up time on the airwaves with its information.  For some this may be a head scratching, but for most in the know it was really confirmation of what the popular line of thinking has been.  Really, if you think about this in a vacuum, brain trauma is bad, and increased exposure over long periods of time is real bad.

Here is a recap from CTVNews in Canada;

Former NFL players appear to be at an unusually high risk of dying from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or Lou Gehrig’s disease, suggests a new study that once again highlights the dangers of the game of football.

The study, which appears in the journal Neurology, found that the death rate from those three diseases among a group of former NFL players was about three times what one would expect from the general population.

The study looked at 3,439 former players who had at least five playing seasons from 1959-1988 with the NFL. The average age of the study participants was 57 and only 334 players – about 10 per cent of them – have now died.

Researchers compared the players’ deaths to a comparable group of American men and found that in 10 of the former NFL players, either Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or Lou Gehrig’s disease (also called ALS) was listed as the cause of death.

That’s about three times the general rate for American men, the researchers reported.

I would also like to take this time to make sure we are not vilifying the NFL or football for that matter.  Sure the sport has plenty of brain injury, but concussions and repetitive blows to the head are not unique to the gridiron.  Soccer for one is a sport that is both understudied and had potential for chronic cases.  In the sport of baseball the catcher position is an area of concern.  Hockey, rugby, rodeo, Aussie Rules all have a place in this discussion.

Mostly, remember that kids are now exposed to sports at a much younger age then this study group, and the group also was playing before the 90’s – before everyone got bigger, faster and stronger.

Comments About Wagner/Deadspin Article

The comments on this blog have been on point but I was able to find some other very informed comments regarding the information provided in the Deadspin article via Football Outsiders;

by MJK :: Thu, 06/21/2012 – 6:46pm

Interesting article, but there’s some things in it that are decidedly wrong, and others that are completely ridiculous. The idea that increasing intracranial pressure through trapped blood accumulation could somehow “cushion” the brain and reduce the impact force of the brain as it “sloshes” in side the skull was obviously dreamed up by someone that has no grounding in biomechanics whatsoever. First, many head “mild” injuries (the ones that don’t involve skull fracture or haematoma) occur because of rotation of the head, not linear impacts, and suppressing brain motion relative to the skull won’t do a thing to help that. Secondly, CSF is essentially water from a physical response standpoint–and if you have an object floating in water, increasing the pressure in the water doesn’t do a single thing cushion the object floating in it.

The other major issue that I can see is, based on the doctors and biologists I’ve talked to, the accumulation of tau protein associated with CTE can take a minimum of many months, and more generally several years, to occur after the head traumas that triggered it. Also, apparently once you hit a critical threshold level of tau buildup, it becomes self propagating, even if you don’t have any additional head trauma. So monitoring the increase in tau protein wouldn’t be a good way to decide when to hang up the cleats…you could quit when you were still at a “healthy” level, it could take a couple of years to accumulate more, hit the threshold, and you could still end up with early onset of dementia or other lasting brain injury.

The article also touches briefly on, but glosses over, an alternative diagnosis technique that does show promise…diffusion tensor imagine MRI. Although poorly understood, there’s some really promising research about using it to track the biomechanical insults that could lead to long term tau protein buildup.

==========

by akn :: Thu, 06/21/2012 – 7:25pm

This entire article sounds like the author took the researchers’ grant proposal and Continue reading

In Case You Missed It…

Last week I tweeted about a story on Deadspin.  It was a very well written article, one that should make us hopeful and fearful at the same time; at the very least it is thought-provoking.  Even after reading it several times I still feel that Kyle Wagner absolutely did everyone a service by publishing this piece;

The question, after a decade of brain-slicing autopsies, is when any of this will help players before they’re dead. Doctors can’t just crack open living patients’ skulls and lop off slices of their brains to stick under a microscope.

But new research at UCLA is using a cutting-edge biomarker that can attach itself to tau protein tangles so that they show up on PET scans of living subjects. Dr. Gary Small is currently running a pilot study on retired NFL players, imaging their brains in place. If he is successful, his work would reorient the science of head injuries around saving lives instead of merely contextualizing deaths.

“I’ve always sort of thought of tau imaging as the holy grail on the issue of chronic brain damage, especially CTE,” said Dr. Julian Bailes, one of the founders of the Brain Injury Research Institute (BIRI).[…]

PET imaging tech is half a century old, and though FDDNP is relatively new, it’s still been around for years. So it’s strange to think about the marker being on the cutting edge of a fairly recently discovered brain disease. If the marker can find and pinpoint CTE, why hadn’t anyone tried it before now? And for that matter, why isn’t it already in use?[…] Continue reading

Ricky Being Ricky

Aloof, that is one way to characterize Ricky Williams.  The one time dominant running back in the sport of football who retired early to pursue “peace” and smoke dope only to come back to earn more money has discounted the link of repeated brain trauma and degenerative brain diseases, written up by Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk;

But as his career ends (even though some think he’ll be back), Williams dismisses the link between concussions and brain damage.

Which perhaps conclusively proves it.[…]

“I’m only speaking from my personal experience, because I haven’t allowed myself to buy it, and I haven’t been affected.  Yes, I’m aware that football is a rough sport, but instead of saying, ‘Oh — I’m doomed to brain trauma,” I said, ‘What can I do about it?’  And I just started taking care of my body.  I found people, places, and things that really helped me — again, I don’t know what’s going to happen to me in 10 years, but I look at the other things I’ve learned about, and the way I see the world.

Maybe it was his dreadlocks that provided extra protection when he played, or perhaps Continue reading

Parent Urges School Board to Take a Look

In Maryland, Montgomery County to be specific, the school board is taking – at the minimum – a look at what they can possibly do to help with the safety of the kids they are in charge of.  Lisa Gartner of The Examiner wrote a brief column on it;

Montgomery County school officials are weighing efforts to screen high school athletes for concussions and similar head injuries linked to Alzheimer’s-like disease and suicide.

Superintendent Joshua Starr said Tuesday that his staff is drafting a memo on concussions, while school board member Patricia O’Neill asked for a report on the cost and implementation of baseline screening, which would allow doctors to compare athletes’ brain activity before and after injuries.

“I know our budget doesn’t have an inch to spare,” O’Neill said, “but our students’ health obviously has to be paramount.”

As the board mentioned there is not much money there, so why are they entertaining the thought of using baseline tests?  It is just a tool that is often highly criticized for its results.  I feel that if baselines are needed then deals should be made with local doctors that use the tool and are trained to use the tool.  By deals I mean the baselines be given away or at a significantly high discount, then the doctors are in control.  Perhaps if the schools have outsourced athletic trainers the place of employment of the AT’s can defer or absorb the cost.

The point is that a Walt Whitman HS parent by the name of Continue reading

Concussion Article Links – MUST READ

Since the tragic and untimely death of Junior Seau the concussion issue has begun to fester like a three-day old pimple on a 13 year-old’s greasy face.  It is ready to pop and keeping up with all of the pertinent articles and “specials” has been very trying.  In this post I will attempt to link up and highlight as many as I can (surely I will miss many, however Concerned Mom in the comment section will have more).

—–

Lets begin with ESPN and the Outside the Lines week-long look at concussions.  I have found this to be must see, my DVR is a testament to this; using previous stories and bringing in commentators on the subject have provided information and even fireworks.  Yesterday Merril Hoge and Matt Chaney did just that – provide information and create fireworks.  You can find the podcast here (panelists begin about 7:30 mark).

Hoge drew my ire earlier this week with his admonishing of Kurt Warner’s statement of being a father, however yesterday he did have a very valid point about the management of concussions.  I have said is ad nausea here: the elephant in the room is the management of concussions, however Hoge sounded a bit “underconcerned” about the actual injury.  Which is where Chaney had very valid points about the exposure of concussions to the youth.  They are both right in my estimation; the management is the larger issue but we are seeing too many too young people being effected by concussions.  There needs to be work in both areas and remember this is not just a football issue.

We have the duty to protect our kids and if that means flag football for 5-13 year-olds then I am cool with that.  If we find after making such a drastic change that has not been enough then we can take it further if needed.  I feel that a change like this will allow a few things: 1) more time to let the brain develop and thus allowing research to catch up to what we know.  2) employ more medical providers in a position to find, assess and manage concussions (see athletic trainers). And 3) begin a culture shift about the seriousness of concussions, after all this is a brain injury.

As Chaney later told me; Continue reading

Lesser known but just as powerful

Thirteen days before Junior Seau was found dead in California with an apparent gun shot wound to the chest there was another former NFL player who ended his own life.  His name was obviously not as “powerful” as Seau’s however, Ray Easterling left in his wake just as much trouble and turmoil over the issue of head injuries.

In an article written by Mike Tierney of the New York Times it is tough to shrug off all that we have come to know over the past few years, just read about how Mary Ann Easterling, Ray’s widow, is handling and plans to go forward with her life and her husbands legacy;

For Mary Ann Easterling, the prudent and less painful options, it might seem, are to move away and move on.

Relocate from the home where she found the body of her husband, Ray, a handgun nearby, and the neighborhood where Ray, a former N.F.L. safety, would become disoriented on long-distance jogs, sometimes prompting one-woman search parties at 2 a.m.
Withdraw his name from the class-action lawsuit that accuses the league of improperly caring for retired players with head injuries, a consequence that she contends turned Ray’s last two decades into a living, foggy hell.
Instead, Mary Ann, 59, plans to go nowhere. She won’t leave the brick ranch house on Continue reading

Educational Videos

Thanks to our heads up commenter Concerned Mom I perused two videos that she linked up.  They are produced and posted onto YouTube by the Massachusetts School of Law.  In the two-part series you will learn what we know and are learning; being in Massachusetts there is access to the BSTE (Nowinski, Cantu, Stern and McKee group).

Both videos are an hour in length but are again worth the time to sort out some things you may find questionable.  As with most information regarding concussions it is hard to agree with ABSOLUTELY every part of this information, but it is as one person told me “worth posting”.

In the second one at 17:04 mark is where the now famous statement from Dr. Cantu on collisions sports and those under the age of 14.  It echos what we have come to accept at this point.  The way collision sports are being played currently are not a safe ground for youth and adolescent brains.

Thoughts on Warner, Toomer and Concussions

Even with the recent events of the Junior Seau passing the issue of concussions, CTE, safety, and longevity of the sport have been very much a hot topic.  What hasn’t happened, until recently, is the overt and valuable opinions of those that played in the public forum.  Yesterday while traveling to the high school I was listening to the radio and hearing what Kurt Warner had to say about his thoughts as a father watching his sons play football.  Basically he stated that AS A FATHER he had concerns and was worried for his children, mainly because of safety and the long-term effects of playing.  He himself stated he is “worried” about his health going forward as well.

All genuine and pertinent information from a former player that carries a lot of weight, and I didn’t have one problem with it.  Even though he stated he didn’t want his kids to play (as a father) he is not the first, Harry Carson made the same statements about his grandchildren.  What caught me completely off-guard was the reaction from former player, teammate of Warner and NY Giant (same team as Carson), Amani Toomer;

“What this reminds me of is the guy at the basketball court, who once he gets done playing takes the ball and ruins the game for everybody else,” Toomer said  Thursday on NBC SportsTalk. “I think Kurt Warner needs to keep his opinions to himself when it comes to this. Everything that he’s gotten in his life has come from playing football. He works at the NFL Network right now. For him to try and trash the game, it seems to me that it’s just a little disingenuous to me.”

Disingenuous?  He is a father concerned about the safety of his children, how in the world is that disingenuous?  Yes the sport Continue reading

Review: Graduate Study Article on CTE

During this tragic time the inbox has been besieged by many stories, questions and information.  One such email came in on Wednesday night;

In light of Junior’s death, which dovetails with the Saints bounty fallout, I thought I’d pass along this paper I wrote in grad school last year about the long-term risks associated with concussions in professional football. Its something of a review article, that covers the development of CTE and physiology of concussions. I played football in high school and “sucking it up,” as you know, is part of the gridiron culture, but we need to education players, parents, and trainers about the difference between having your bell rung and developing a neurological disorder. This paper hasn’t been peer-reviewed by anyone except my professor, who was a medical writer, not a neurologist but I stand by the science. I started this article by asking for advice from Dr. Robert Stern, the chairman of the Center For The Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University. I drew on their research and many of their articles and they do excellent work.

I also wanted to thank you all for following this issue, which is becoming a major concern for athletes, fans, and families.

The author of the email and of the paper is Doug Taylor and I feel it is a very good piece for all to read.  Although, as Doug notes, the paper is not “peer-reviewed” it does not mean there isn’t valuable information for everyone to read and think about.  I would like to thank Doug for sharing this.

Long Term Effects of Concussions – Doug Taylor

Sports-related concussions are one of the most common injuries sustained by professional football players. The acute symptoms that follow a mild traumatic brain injury are well established, with many instances of headaches, confusion, dizziness, and short spells of amnesia. The long-term effects of these injuries are less comprehensively understood. Continue reading

Family Allows Brain to be Studied

In the aftermath of the suicide of Junior Seau the most pressing question was if the family was going to allow researchers to study his brain in-depth.  It has now been reported that the Seau family has agreed to this as Michael O’Keeffe wrote last night;

Two research groups — the Brain Injury Research Institute and Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy — made bids to persuade Seau’s family to donate his brain to them within 24 hours after the Pro Bowl linebacker’s death.

It sounds ghoulish for scientists to vie for a beloved athlete’s brain so soon after his death, but the researchers needed to let the Seau family know of their interest before it makes arrangements for his remains. “You can’t do this kind of test on a living person,” said Dr. Julian Bailes, the director of the Brain Injury Research Institute.[…]

“Either they get it or we get it,” Bailes said Thursday before the Seau family told BIRI it would donate Junior’s brain to the Boston researchers. Bailes said it could help researchers determine if genetics play a role in CTE, or whether concussions — as opposed to repeated, but less serious, blows to the head — are necessary to bring on CTE.

“This specimen needs to be examined,” Bailes said. “It doesn’t matter who does it. There are only two groups doing this kind of work.”

Although the BIRI – Continue reading

CTE Insight from the Bostonia: but take time to remember the real pioneer

Shortly before this blog began in September of 2010 there was a brilliant article written in Bostonia regarding the work that Boston University was doing.  This article did not fall into my lap until yesterday during the Junior Seau reporting, it was found tweeted out by none other than Will Carroll, @injuryexpert.

We have come to understand a bit more about chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) though the work of those in Boston.  It would be an absolute shame to not mention the person who first found this brain issue, Dr. Bennet Omalu.  Dr. Omalu found it but then was unceremoniously Continue reading

CTE Threshold?

Charles Bernik, MD of the Cleveland Clinic thinks that there may be a correlation to repeated head trauma and a threshold of when degenerative brain disease begins, like CTE.  An article appearing in Science Daily last week discusses this;

A new study suggests there may be a starting point at which blows to the head or other head trauma suffered in combat sports start to affect memory and thinking abilities and can lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, in the brain.

The study looked at 78 “fighters” and split them based on their years of experience, in this study the split was nine years.  Those that Continue reading

McMahon Speaks Up

“We knew what was going on with pretty much every other part of the body,” McMahon said on ESPN’s Outside the Lines. “We knew there was going to be a chance for injury. But we didn’t know about the head trauma. And they did, and that’s the whole reason for this lawsuit. . . . They knew about it and they didn’t tell us. That’s like looking in your face and lying to you. Flat-out lying.”

As reported from various sources after his appearance on ESPN’s OTL, this one via ProFootballTalk, Jim McMahon has set the stage for what the law suits against the NFL basically involve.  The league denies hiding any information from the players, which to this observer is “technically” correct up until the early 2000’s.  However what the didn’t know was available for them to find out, as papers and research articles about compounding head trauma has been available since early in the 1900’s (see dementia pugilistica).

Regardless, I am not here to fight for or against these law suits, the interview with McMahon was very disturbing to hear and see Continue reading

Kevin Turner Interview

We have written about Kevin Turner before; a former NFL player and Alabama stud who is now dealing with the effects of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).  Turner has started a foundation in his name where they are raising money and awareness about ALS and the workings of the Sports Legacy Institute (SLI) as it relates to CTE.

Yesterday Rachel Baribeau, on her show Barbo & Scarbo (Kevin Scarbinsky), interviewed Kevin Turner on 97.3 The Zone out of Birmingham.  It is such a profound interview that I encourage everyone to take a listen.  You can CLICK HERE for the podcast.

The perseverance of Kevin Turner is and SHOULD be Continue reading

MMA and CTE

The hot button topic in the research world with concussions is chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the degenerative brain disease, twin (fraternal) sibling of dementia pugilistica first found by Dr. Bennett Omalu.  This brain disease is debated and some times discounted (as you will see tomorrow) for its links to repetitive brain trauma, i.e. multiple concussions.  It does however have a place in the discussion with combative sports like MMA.

Recently a former fighter named Gary Goodridge has said he believes to be suffering from its onset.  Steven Marrocco of MMAjunkie.com wrote a piece on Goodridge and the debate of CTE in the sport;

The damage, he noted, was not extensive enough that it had caused irreversible trauma. But had the fighters continued to compete, he believes they would have been candidates for CTE.

“What I’m saying is that mixed martial arts belongs to the high-risk group of CTE,” Omalu said. “I would consider mixed martial arts just like I would boxing.” Continue reading

Good On ‘Ya Mate

We follow collision sports around the world as this issue is not localized to just North American sports.  With heading in soccer to the aerial displays of winter/action sports to the high-speed knocks in rugby, everyone can stand to learn and be prepared for concussions.  As we have kept saying it is just part of the game.  Yes, we would like to minimize every chance of concussion but realistically now is the time for awareness and proper management.

I keep an eye on Australia, especially now as the AFL is getting ready for play, and have criticized the apparent lack of understanding of concussion in Footy.  The other big sport this time of year Down Under is rugby, with the National Rugby League 21 days away from starting.  This sport to has drawn both good and bad from me and the visitors of the blog, but I read something today from the Herald Sun that makes me want to stand up and say “about time!”; Continue reading