“League of Denial” (Part 2)

Coming to a bookstore and TV near you today is “League of Denial” a book and documentary about one of the dirty little secrets the NFL has been avoiding for some time.  Fortunately, I have been provided with advance copies of both; the Frontline film was easy to digest, as for reading a book, well we can just say I am trying to read as fast as possible.

I was reminded quickly, yesterday via Twitter, that I may lack valuable perspective when it comes to concussion information (and that I am not normal – this is not breaking news).  Will Carroll of Bleacher Report let me know that this information will be new to a lot of people out there.  He is exactly right, not only that, this documentary will be easily digestible for the fan of football.  For any person just wading into this, when you tune into PBS tonight to view “League of Denial” you will be absolutely hooked from the start.

The sounds of the crowd, visuals of big hits grab your football part of the brain IMMEDIATELY, over those sounds you will quickly discover the problem NFL players have faced with brain injuries playing their sport.  Harry Carson saying “and then they are gone” when talking about former players.  A bold statement that the level of denial was “just profound.”  An NFL lawyer saying “we strongly deny those allegations that we withheld information or misled the players.”  And more video and sound of punishing hits that used to fill the highlight reel bring the opening curtain of this very important documentary.

This problem is real – it’s not just real for the professionals – and from the get go Frontline makes you understand, vividly and personally, why this is.  After listening to old radio calls of the Steel Curtain it all begins with the story of Mike Webster and the forensic pathologist who studied his brain, Bennet Omalu.

The discovery of a possible reason one of the most respected and lauded players in Pittsburgh sports pantheon fell from grace and eventually found and early demise.  If the football portion of your brain does not connect to what is being presented then I would haphazardly guess that you are not ingrained within the fabric of football.

As Harry Carson explains how the game was played and to some extent how it’s still played you can begin to understand the issue at hand.  This is hammered home when Robert Stern, PhD tells the audience blows to the brain are at forces 20 times greater than the force of gravity (20 G’s); or as he so eloquently put it “driving into a brick wall at 35mph”, 1,000 times or more in a season.

In the first 11 minutes of this 2 hour presentation you are at full attention and want to understand the “whats”, “whys” and “whos”.  If you are not engaged and ready for further explanation I can only say that you don’t care or want to bury your head in the sand.

Contributions in the film include Continue reading

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Edit: Matthew Gfeller Center Hosting Symposium

The National Sports Concussion Cooperative (NSCC) that was launched in March is meeting up as the Matthew Gfeller Cetner is hosting a symposium this upcoming weekend.  The NSCC is championed by;

These four entities have come together for the goal of reducing the incidence of sports-related concussions with the formation of a cooperative to bring interdisciplinary collaboration to concussion research and testing.

The National Sports Concussion Cooperative will hold its founding organizational meeting in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on May 2, 2011, to develop an agenda by which it will identify the most pressing concussion objectives in sports and set a course for assessing their significance through research and peer review. After the meeting, additional partners will be engaged to consider joining the collaborative effort and finalize the objectives for each stakeholder group.

The event this weekend, April 29 and 30, titled “Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Neurotrauma Symposium”, will bring together “experts” within the field of research, clinical and equipment manufacturing to share their thoughts on the concussion issue.  The chair for the symposium is Jason Mihalik, Ph.D., any media requests for him should be directed to Patric Lane, (919) 962-8596, patric_lane@unc.edu.

The full press release is as follows; Continue reading

Bob Probert Found To Have CTE

On Thursday, Boston University researchers will release findings that show Mr. Probert had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) when his heart gave out during a fishing trip last summer. The diagnosis makes him the second former professional hockey player to be found with the degenerative disease after Reggie Fleming, who died in 2009 at the age of 73 with dementia after three decades of worsening behavioural and cognitive problems.

Like Mr. Fleming, Mr. Probert was a fighter who banged his way through more than 200 fights during 16 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks. He had suffered at least three concussions and struggled with substance abuse. And in his 40s, Ms. Probert said, her normally laid-back husband may have begun to show some of the telltale signs of CTE, such as odd bouts of road rage and memory gaps.

Bob Probert found himself, along with his wife, wanting to do something for this cause.  A mere six months prior to his death, due to a heart attack, he committed himself to the legacy of brain research and the NHL.  For reasons unknown the professional hockey Continue reading

Brain Expert Omalu Wants Longer Rest for Concussed Football Players

Scott Fujita

A occassional contributor to The Concussion Blog, Matt Chaney, a journalist, editor, teacher and publisher, also has a blog.  However, Chaney has published a book titled Spiral of Denial; Muscle Doping in American Football, so he is not new to finding and presenting good information.

Sideline concussed juveniles for three months, says breakthrough neuropath NP testing, lacks validation and might be harmful, critics charge NFL players rebuke ‘safer’ football through their ‘behavior modification’

By Matt Chaney
Posted Friday, January 28, 2011

So-called concussion awareness is said to be sweeping American football, and Scott Fujita, veteran NFL linebacker, agrees to a point.

Yes, Fujita confirms, even hard dudes like him have sobered in their perspective. Head injuries are no longer considered trivial in football but as serious business, and NFL players get it, especially
Fujita, nearing 32 years old at arguably the game’s most violent position for Cleveland.

In his mind the most menacing guys don’t appear so tough anymore, just more human, fragile—even as he targets one to smash on the field.

“I gotta be honest, I think about that every time I go in now to tackle somebody,” Fujita, 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, said this week in a phone interview. “I’m concerned for my own safety as well as
theirs. I’m a married guy, I’ve got two young kids, and I see a lot more the big picture than I ever did before.”

But has anything changed about danger in tackle football, the game that kills and maims? Is so-called safer play really taking over?

Fujita, member of the players union executive committee, doesn’t equivocate in answering, typical of his trademark frankness. “Do I feel safer with the emphasis on the rules and all that kind of stuff?
No, that doesn’t make me feel safer,” Fujita said. “Do I think the emphasis makes the game safer? No. Overall, I don’t, know.”

READ MORE HERE

The entire article is VERY comprehensive and has some intriguing interviews, below are more excerpts; Continue reading