Political Football: Irv Muchnick

Irvin Muchnick is a writer and investigative journalist who previously mainly focused on the WWE.  Muchnick has changed gears a bit and started Concussion Inc, a website focusing on the head injury issue.

On Friday, on Beyond Chron, Irv Muchnick wrote about the appearance of a conflict of interest between the Centers for Disease Control and the National Football League, in regards to the upcoming panel and recommendations.  In the article Irv was right to point out that the federally funded CDC is taking outside monies for the first time;

A CDC spokeswoman admitted to me that the NFL’s $150,000 grant for “Heads Up” marked “the first time the CDC Foundation has received external funding to help support” this initiative, which has a decade-long history encompassing various outreach to health care professionals and patients, school professionals, sports coaches, parents, and kids and teens. (CDC’s own funding for this program has averaged around $200,000 a year.)

Which brings into question who will be in control of the recommendations?  Will the people shaping the foundation of concussion management, aimed at athletic trainers and doctors, actually have representatives in place?  I am not talking about the usual suspects that may hold a MD or ATC tag – the ones who do Yoeman’s work in the research field – rather some of the “boots on the ground” if you will.  Yes there are some Continue reading

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To Peer Review or Not To Peer Review

The answer is and has been very one-sided, most everyone trying to make a mark are peer reviewing their research to get publicized.  Heck, when I was in graduate school I was told that is the only way anyone would honor your information.  Basically if you wanted to be respected it was/is a must to be cited in a journal, a well-respected peer-reviewed publication.  Over time I have really become jaded on the whole process, too much money, too much conflict of interest, and too much glad-handing to get in a lot of the journals.  We can even take a look at something we all have come across, “Global Warming”; research in that area is basically hand-picked to make it into publication, and if you are not serving an agenda, one side or the other, you will not appear in certain rags.

At a time when I am trumpeting my information about concussions in the NFL last year and the helmet data it cannot not be more obvious to me.  I have asked many sources to help with putting a “peer-review” piece together and I have been given a myriad of different excuses as to why it won’t show.  Usually, a research piece that has been completed would be easy for some to just say; “yup put my name on it and we will write it together.”  However the reasons I have heard amaze me; Continue reading

Irv Muchnick: WWE Rinstitues Chair Shots

Irvin Muchnick is a writer and investigative journalist writing focusing mainly on the WWE, writing a book titled “Chris and Nancy: The true story of the Benoit murder-suicide and pro wrestling’s cocktail of death.“  Muchnick has been heavily involved in the concussion issue as it relates to WWE and its crossover as well.  Some have claimed that Muchnick may be pressing an issue that is not there, but he has had the ability to delve into certain areas of the concussion issue others have failed to get to.  He has provided some good contacts as well as information in his own unique way.

In his most recent post he looks into the chair shots the WWE, through the voice of Vince McMahon, was banning;

Paul Levesque — the wrestler known as “Triple H,” who is slated to take over top management of World Wrestling Entertainment when his in-laws, Vince and Linda McMahon, leave the scene — hit his opponent Mark “Undertaker” Calloway with a chair to the head last night at WrestleMania in Atlanta.

But weren’t chair shots to the head banned in WWE? That’s what Vince McMahon said in 2007 after the double murder/suicide of star wrestler Chris Benoit — even if McMahon didn’t get around to promulgating it as company policy until his wife was running unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate last year.

Granted the WWE is not as mainstream as football, baseball, basketball or hockey; head trauma in this HIGHLY ATHLETIC entertainment business is an issue.  There is a “crossover” if you will between the WWE and the NFL, that Muchnick highlights as well.

Another Perspective on Duerson

In an article written by Irv Muchnick we the reader get another perspective on the concussion issue, as highlighted by the suicide of Dave Duerson.

The gruesome decades-long underground American saga that is the football concussion crisis has never gotten in our faces quite like the story of the suicide last week, at age 50, of one-time National Football League defensive player of the year Dave Duerson.

How many levels are there to the news that Duerson put a gun to himself, but not before texting family that he wanted his brain donated for research on the brain-trauma syndrome now known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)? Let us, like Elizabeth Barrett Browning, count them. It begins with the fact that he shot himself in the chest – perhaps with supreme confidence that by avoiding his head and leaving intact his postmortem brain tissue, it will confirm that he is around the 21st diagnosed case of CTE among former football players.

Duerson is the latest casualty of a sport that has evolved, via training technology and industrial design, into a form of gladiatorialism whose future human and economic viability is questionable. The New Yorker and New York Times have started assessing this cultural phenomenon with their own brands of competence and Ivy League restraint. From the closeted gutter of pro wrestling, where all the same venalities play out with less pretense, I’m here to tell “the rest of the story” – such as how the same corrupt doctors who work for the NFL also shill for World Wrestling Entertainment, and how it’s all part of the same stock exchange of ethics for profits and jock-sniffing privileges.

To read the rest of this story go to Beyond Chron, HERE.

WWE Comes Under Fire

Irvin Muchnick the author of Chris & Nancy: The true story of the Benoit Murder-Suicide and Pro Wrestling’s Cocktail of Death wrote a blog today about the transparency of the World Wrestling Entertainment business.  It is a fascinating look at the “inside” of the WWE and their current leadership of the medical team.  Muchnick contends that Dr. Bryan Donahue, cardiologist, and Dr. Joseph Maroon, neurosurgeon, both of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and WWE’s medical team, may have a conflict of interest when it comes to supplements.

However, this blog also highlights some of the “thought process” behind the WWE and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, and the current “don’t ask, don’t tell” mentality.

In terms of Maroon’s medical specialty of neurology, the matter of closest interest was his response to a study of Benoit’s brain tissue, which showed a large accumulation of tau proteins, the sign of CTE. The examination was conducted by a forensic pathologist, Dr. Bennet Omalu, one of the pioneers of this research, at the behest of the Sports Legacy Institute. SLI had been started by a former WWE performer and Harvard graduate, Chris Nowinski, who retired from the ring as a result of his own concussions.

Much like Maroon and the NFL originally, WWE tried to discredit or downplay CTE research. But the hiring of Maroon to coordinate WWE’s wellness policy coincided with the addition of Maroon’s imPACT testing and of Donohue’s area of expertise, cardiovascular screening. In total, five out of the wellness program’s eight medical professionals listed at the WWE website are from UPMC.

Muchnick also penned some inconsistencies in regards to CTE information provided by the WWE and what they (medical director, Dr. Maroon) actually knew: Continue reading

Concussions and Politics

Irvin Muchnick of BeyondChron out of San Francisco wrote an article about the concussion issue reaching a critical mass both in sports and in the political arena.

He makes great points about the start of the investigations into the long-term effects of concussions, crediting Chris Nowinski of the SLI and formerly of  World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).  We have shed a bright light on the issue many times here, however the angle that Muchnick takes is into the political scene.  With the election of Richard Blumenthal in Connecticut (home of the WWE), he feels that more attention needs to be given to the matter of concussions.

Although we as sports fans are not looking for an overhaul of the “distractions” we enjoy, particularly on Sundays in the fall, the impetus is now, and with help we can come up with resolute actions to protect EVERYONE.  This includes the professionals all the way down to the youth, and back up to the recreational athlete.   Plus, do not forget about the general public, as this is not a sports-only issue.  Sports will be the vehicle to get the action Muchnick is looking for.