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.

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Law Suit Overview by NYT

Ken Belson took a stark look at the law suits facing the NFL about head and brain trauma, over a dozen at this time.  The plaintiffs in these cases are going to fight an uphill battle, from resources to even getting the case to trial;

Taken together, the suits filed in courts across the country amount to a multifront legal challenge to the league and to the game itself. While the retired players, including stars like Jim McMahon and Jamal Lewis, face a time-consuming and difficult battle, the N.F.L. will have to spend heavily on lawyers to fend off the chance that juries might award the retired players millions of dollars in damages.

The league must also grapple with unflattering publicity as former players claiming to be hobbled by injuries and, in some cases, suffering from financial problems sue their former employer, the steward of America’s most popular sport. The stakes will only get higher if any of the cases go to trial, where details may emerge about what the N.F.L. knew about concussions and when, how it handled that information, and whether it pushed manufacturers to make the safest helmets possible.

Belson makes some valid points on behalf of both the players and the league; Continue reading

My Son Is Going To College

Parent Advocate, Tracey Mayer will be offering up her writings to The Concussion Blog as a resource to the readers, especially the parents out there.  As time allows she (and possibly her son Drew) will be submitting posts for you to read.  I truly hope that everyone gets a chance to read about concussions from yet another perspective.  Thank you Tracey!

Drew was accepted into his first college of choice, Illinois State University –  the only school he wanted to apply to.  This is wonderful news.  We were all holding our breath with anticipation, after all, Drew’s freshman and sophomore year transcripts held quite a few C’s.

I called our school psychologist, hoping for some guidance on how to approach the college in regard to accommodations for Drew.  Unfortunately, she more or less told me that we are on our own, and I will have to contact the disabilities office at ISU and find out what services they offer.  I can’t say that I am surprised to hear that, although it is disappointing.

I am going to make that call tomorrow, and there are so many thoughts in my head.  How do I approach this?  How do I organize the information so it’s as clear as possible?  Do I even have the right or enough information?  Are they even going to understand what I’m talking about?  Or will they care?  College is very different from high school, so is extra time on tests going to be what he needs?  Will he need breaks on tests, tutoring, etc.?  Who will help us determine this?  So begins another search for answers and based upon my previous work, you can see where I might be a bit concerned.

When I applied for extended time on the ACT for Drew, Continue reading