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Medicine

Brain Disease Found In NFL Players 271

Posted by Soulskill
from the do-you-mean-smashing-your-head-isn't-safe dept.
SternisheFan sends this excerpt from ABC: "On the heels of the latest NFL suicide, researchers announced today that 34 NFL players whose brains were studied suffered from CTE, a degenerative brain disease brought on by repeated hits to the head that results in confusion, depression and, eventually, dementia. The study was released just days after the murder-suicide of Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher. It's not yet known what triggered Belcher's action, but they mirror other NFL players who have committed suicide. Researchers at Boston University's Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy published the largest case series study of CTE to date (abstract), according to the center. Of the 85 brains donated by the families of deceased veterans and athletes with histories of repeated head trauma, they found CTE in 68 of them. Of those, 34 were professional football players, nine others played college football and six played only high school football. Of the 35 professional football players' brains donated, only one had no evidence of the disease, according to the study." It's a good thing we protect our youth from conditions like this.
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Brain Disease Found In NFL Players

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  • by lord_mike (567148) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @12:03AM (#42188497)

    The term "football" is in reference to playing the game "on foot" as opposed to mounted on a horse like polo. Many early versions of games called football in the middle ages involved practically no kicking of a ball at all. The direct precursors to Association Football, or Soccer, allowed one to not only touch the ball with your hands, but catch it, too (i.e. the fair catch, which still survives with Soccer's cousins Rugby and American Football).

    As for the brain damage with the North American version of the game, I'm not sure if there is much of a solution. There is a common belief that all the hard shell padding and hard helmets are to blame, and going "naked" like rugby would solve the problem. Players wouldn't feel as invincible and their instinct for self-preservation would kick in, reducing the force of their blocks and tackles. The data doesn't support this theory. There have been positive brain trauma studies of this sort going back 80 years ago during the age of leather helmets and soft padding, so reducing protection is probably not the answer. The nature of the game is simply predisposed to hard hits both in blocking and tackling players. The goal is to always get extra yardage or jar the ball loose. That's not an issue in rugby where there is no line to gain, the ball is loose after every play, and there is no blocking allowed. I'm not sure you could make the game safer without so radically changing its nature that it would essentially become something completely different from football as we know it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @12:08AM (#42188519)

    Actually, having been in that position on a (thankfully) few occasions (not related to sports), "got his bell rung" is actually a pretty good description of the sensation involved. It feels very much like a ringing bell sounds.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @12:28AM (#42188645) Journal

    Oh yes, the researchers are far too stupid to use control groups. Thank goodness you came along to explain science to them.

  • by turp182 (1020263) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @08:00AM (#42190553) Journal

    Actually we do allow "I was fucked up your honor" for drunk drivers, especially football players.

    Back in 1998, Leonard Little of the St. Louis Rams killed a mother of two who was crossing a street in downtown St. Louis late at night (on her way to work). It was his birthday, and he was quite drunk (.19 BAC).

    He got a 90 day sentence with work release so he could practice with the team. He also had some probation and public service time (which I bet was served through football sponsored stuff).

    He didn't miss a game and, unfortunately, he continued to play for the Rams for several years. I hate to say it, but I wish mental problems upon him as that would represent some justice in a situation where there was none.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonard_Little [wikipedia.org]

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