“I’m sorry for your loss.”

Peter Keating of ESPN The Magazine has just written a story about head injuries and where the NFL may be headed due to the long-lasting effects, like Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.

IN 2002, Bennet Omalu, a forensic neuropathologist working as a medical examiner in the Allegheny County, Pa., coroner’s office, found massive deposits of abnormal tau protein in the brain of Mike Webster, a Hall of Fame center who spent 15 years with the Steelers before spiraling into destitution, disorientation and homelessness, finally dying at age 50. Webster’s brain cells appeared corrupted by head trauma, with the tau protein becoming toxic and producing neural tangles. Omalu had discovered a link between hits to the head and long-term brain damage, in the skull of an NFL player.

The league tried hard to blackball Omalu — three doctors on its concussions committee said he should retract his study — but other researchers made a show of supporting his work.

Keating also investigated the Andre Waters case, and starts the story discussing Kenny McKinley.  Full STORY HERE.

ESPN The Mag Poll

4 is least concerned 1 is most concerned

If you have not seen it yet in your newest ESPN The Magazine or on the net here it is POLL, and there are some interesting results in there.  The poll was put together to get a sample of high school aged kids and their support group, coaches, parents and athletic trainers.  To be expected the players themselves seem to be on the “less concerned” side of things, while surprisingly the coaches are very cognizant and cautious with the concussion problem.

Very few coaches say they’d rather win with their concussed star, and parents and athletic trainers basically agree. “You’re risking the kid’s health,” says a Pennsylvania trainer. “Plus, if he has a concussion, his reaction time won’t be where it should be, so chances are good he’ll help lose the game.” Players, of course, see things quite differently. “We actually have a chance this year,” says an Oregon player. “We will all do whatever it takes to win.”

On the issue of a “headache” the coaches are on the sides of the athletic trainers.

As many respondents note, a headache can be symptomatic of everything from a contact lens issue to a sinus infection. But most also acknowledge what studies show: The No. 1 symptom of a concussion is headache, and players complaining of one should be held out until a clear diagnosis is reached. “If a player has a headache from a hard hit,” says a Minnesota athletic trainer, “it’s not okay to return.” Only the players believe a headache shouldn’t warrant a benching.

I took part in this survey and it was very well done for not being “scientific” and the results were what I expected to see.  I think this is a good launching point for a more in-depth project, breaking it down by region and state.  Although football is “king” when it comes to concussions, it would be good to see the general reflection of all athletes as well.  Good job by ESPN, go to the link to see all the results…