In the category of must read, this piece on Grantland by Jane Leavy is one the mouth-breathing, booger-eating, Neanderthal types who thing science is ruining the game, should become acquainted with (if they can even read). Dr. McKee and people like me are not trying to take away the sports you love. In fact we are trying to save them, football included.
Dr. McKee is a fan, just like most of us;
Every football Sunday, she parks herself in front of the TV in her authentic Packers foam Cheesehead ($17.95 at packersproshop.com) and Rodgers’s no. 12 jersey and prays that none of the men on the field end up on a dissection table. To date, she has found ravages of CTE, the neurodegenerative brain disease that has become her life’s work, in over 70 athletes, nearly 80 percent of those she has examined. Among them: 18 of the 19 NFL players she has autopsied; three NHL enforcers; and a boy just 17 years old. McKee, who received $1 million in funding from the VA as well as a home for her lab, has also documented evidence of CTE in combat veterans exposed to roadside bombs.1
“The coolest thing about Ann is she spends all day doing autopsies on NFL players and can’t wait for the weekend to put on her Packer sweatshirt and climb into bed with a big bag of popcorn and a beer,” says Gay Culverhouse, former president of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who now advocates on behalf of former players.
“Well, I don’t usually do it in my bed,” McKee says.
Dr. McKee relishes her job, no matter how anyone sees it; Continue reading →
For some time the thought was that the mTBI, TBI and concussions suffered on a playing field were different from what was being experienced on the battle field. The mechanisms may be different (collisions versus blast injuries) in nature but the resulting devastation may be similar. Again we can look to the northeast to Boston University’s brain bank and researchers for this new finding;
Scientists who have studied a degenerative brain disease in athletes have found the same condition in combat veterans exposed to roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan, concluding that such explosions injure the brain in ways strikingly similar to tackles and punches. […]
“Our paper points out in a profound and definitive way that there is an organic, structural problem in the brain associated with blast exposure,” said Dr. Lee E. Goldstein of Boston University’s School of Medicine and a lead author of the paper, which was published online Wednesday by the peer-reviewed journal Science Translational Medicine.
The paper provides the strongest evidence yet that some and perhaps many combat veterans with invisible brain injuries caused by explosions are at risk of developing long-term neurological disease — a finding that, if confirmed, would have profound implications for military policy, veterans programs and future research.
As I have stated before I feel the military has been on the cutting edge Continue reading →
Dr. Ann McKee of Boston University was at a one day symposium about brain injuries discussing the effects of repetitive injuries to the head. Dr. McKee has been on the forefront of the chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) research has information that has changed her perception of the sport of football in particular (via Chicago Sun Times and Tim Cronin).
“It’s scary because we know so many people it’s affecting,” said McKee, a doctor of pathology at Boston University and the keynote speaker at Advocate Christ Medical Center’s one-day symposium on brain injuries. “You see so many individuals in the prime of life, both in the military and former athletes, people who are our heroes, struggling with life.”
Over a ten-year career she surmises that a linebacker may sustain 15,000 sub-concussive hits; those hits that do affect the brain but do not produce instant symptoms consistent with a concussion. That is fifteen THOUSAND hits, hits that are similar to a low-speed vehicle accident. The forces being produced are doing some damage in the brain, and the collective damage is causing problems that linger later into life; such as CTE and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). To completely discount a “professor/doctor” because they don’t know sports would be wrong in Dr. McKee’s case; Continue reading →
Dr. Ann McKee, of the Boston University “brain bank” associated with the Sports Legacy Institute, recently spoke to the U.S. Army during a conference on how to protect soldiers’ brains. Her specialty is chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and finding this disease in brains sent for sampling.
The bulk of the 66 brains in her team’s “brain bank” are boxers and football players who had experienced repeated blows to the head during their careers. But she did have in her collection the brains of five former Soldiers. The disease, CTE, is the result of repeated trauma to the head.
“This disease does develop in military veterans — it really has been described in many different types of mild traumatic injury,” McKee said. “It’s less important how you get the injury, what’s important is that you had repetitive injury.
Dr. McKee, along with Dr. Benett Omalu, are pioneers in this field and a lot of what they have to say is unfiltered/censored by “bigger” entities.