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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 ipquickly (1562169) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @12:24AM (#42188261) Homepage

    This has been studied time and time again.
    Any sport that involves any repeated impact to the head - whether football, boxing [science20.com] or soccer [medpagetoday.com] will result in brain injury.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @12:29AM (#42188299)

    Do we really need a study to show that repeated hits to the head result in confusion, depression and dementia? If so, I'd like to sign up to be the guy on the research team that whacks this researcher on the head repeatedly so he can discover the effects.

    I just want to help. Really I do.

    We know that hits to the head result in all that and more, but now there's actual quantized data. With hard facts it's harder to muddle the issue with "but they wear protective helmets" or some other wishy washy double talk.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @12:32AM (#42188315) Journal

    Do we really need a study to show that repeated hits to the head result in confusion, depression and dementia? If so, I'd like to sign up to be the guy on the research team that whacks this researcher on the head repeatedly so he can discover the effects.

    I just want to help. Really I do.

    If we want information on such minor questions as "how often repeated?", "Just how hard?", "Are the effects merely additive, or does one hit make the next more dangerous?", "Are hits with no clinicially observable effects safe or do they add up?".

    It has never been news that hits hard enough to produce immediate, observable, effects are a bad plan. That hits with no effect, or from which you appear to recover, are a very serious risk for degeneration in the mid to long term? That isn't immediately obvious.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @12:33AM (#42188327) Journal

    Going to be interesting to see if Belcher's brain had this disease, seeing as it was spread all over the parking lot.

    One of his former colleagues [wikipedia.org] shot himself in the chest instead, for precisely that reason...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @01:08AM (#42188517)

    Yes, because the sports industry is fighting this research as hard as possible because they see it as the end of their cash cow. Read Sports Illustrated and check out how they portray this as pseudoscientific bullshit.

    If we can conclusively prove that concussive sports such as football and boxing lead to degenerative brain disease, every company invested in those sports will be looking at the end of their livelihood. Rather than do what's right for the players, they are working hard to spread FUD about such research.

    So yeah, we need the study. We are going up against the entire sports industry, and they have deep pockets.

  • Not surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by erp_consultant (2614861) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @01:13AM (#42188563)

    I mean look at the size of these guys today. Even the wide receivers are huge. Bigger, stronger, faster...all to feed our insatiable appetite for violence disguised as sport. In hockey it's the fights. In nascar it's the crashes. In football it's the big hit. Add to that the enormous sums of money available to the stars of these sports and it's no wonder they will do whatever is necessary to win. All to the delight of the fat, shirtless drunk spewing profanities on every play.

    The athletes are simply too big and strong. Could you imagine Fran Tarkenton playing in today's NFL? He would get killed. The equipment cannot protect them adequately. The NFL is stuck between giving the fans what they want on the one hand and getting sued on the other hand by crippled ex players. Cutting back on the head shots is a good start but how much can you really do to prevent permanent injury?

  • Re:Darwin (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jamesh (87723) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @01:16AM (#42188579)

    'Nuff said.

    Wrong. Completely wrong. Absolutely brimming over with wrongability. The dementia in question can strike many years after they have finished playing and breeding. You need to go and read up on how evolution works. I'll give you a hint though - if your kids are old enough to look after themselves when the effects of your stupid (or just plain unfortunate) actions are realised, it doesn't count.

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOsPAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @06:06AM (#42189743) Journal

    But seriously will it matter? Not to be cruel but its not like we all didn't already know getting your brain bashed repeatedly was bad for you, hell look at boxing, not even a helmet there and we have seen so many old boxers drooling on themselves from brain damage it isn't even funny.

    But the simple fact is as long as there is huge piles of money to be made from having one guy headbrick the other guy it is NEVER gonna change. if it were ever gonna change boxing would have been outlawed 20 years ago, after all the amount of brain damaged football players is nothing compared to how many boxers get brain damage.

    As much as I wish it weren't so as long as the owners and the memorabilia companies and the food vendors and all these others are raking in the cash then these guys are just disposable, sad but true. That is why I think college football and boxing should be banned and the teams have to pay for minor leagues, if these guys are gonna risk getting busted all to hell at least cut them a check for the risk.

  • Re:Darwin (Score:4, Insightful)

    by actiondan (445169) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @07:30AM (#42190081)

    There are also animals where the survival chances of offspring is enhanced by the sacrifice of their parents.

    Maybe the financial benefits of playing the NFL, which can be passed to offspring, outweigh the potential downside of having a shorter life.

The study of non-linear physics is like the study of non-elephant biology.

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