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NIH Neuroscientists: Junior Seau Had Brain Disease Caused By Hits To the Head 240

McGruber writes "ABC News/ESPN broke the story that a team of scientists from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) analyzed the brain tissue of renowned NFL linebacker Junior Seau and have concluded that the football player suffered a debilitating brain disease likely caused by two decades worth of hits to the head. From the article: 'In May 2012, Seau, 43 — football's monster in the middle, a perennial all-star and defensive icon in the 1990s whose passionate hits made him a dominant figure in the NFL — shot himself in the chest at his home in Oceanside, Calif., leaving behind four children and many unanswered questions.' As Slashdot earlier reported, more than 30 NFL players have in recent years been diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a condition once known as 'punch drunk' because it affected boxers who had taken multiple blows to the head."
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NIH Neuroscientists: Junior Seau Had Brain Disease Caused By Hits To the Head

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  • by toadlife ( 301863 ) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @03:39PM (#42549739) Journal

    There exist sensors that can be placed into the helment and detect hits that are potentially damaging. The cost is actually nominal. The NFL should make these mandatory. []

  • by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @03:48PM (#42549901)

    They should remove the damn helmets and pads. The reason you get the huge hits is because of them. People hit harder because you have 'protection'. Which leads to worse injuries. It's like asking someone to run into a wall. If you run into the wall with a helmet you're going to hit harder because the bits that you can feel don't hurt as much but there is still internal damage. Compared to running straight into a wall unprotected. It's going to hurt your forehead probably before it hurts the brain.

    I'd love to see the same results from career Rugby players.

  • by Jmc23 ( 2353706 ) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @04:07PM (#42550223) Journal
    Nope. It takes an idiot to not understand it, just like any other activity humans participate in.
  • Re:Phut Bawh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @05:43PM (#42551395) Journal

    Frankly I wish they would dispense with the half-assed warfare of football, and bring back the gladiatorial games. Instead of mock battles over some stupid ball and goal posts, let's just move the game straight to big motherfuckers cutting each other to pieces. We can triple their pay, and they likely won't make it to 40, let alone to the point where they start suffering the ill effects of neurological damage.

    I mean, if these guys are going to end up brain damaged messes in the end anyways, why not just short circuit all of that and go for the blood. That's what audiences really want, anyways. I can just see Hank Williams Jr. shouting "It's time for Monday Night Slaughterhouse!"

  • by G-Man ( 79561 ) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @05:49PM (#42551453)

    Runners who use minimalist/no shoes generally use a forefoot/midfoot strike (the ball of the foot hits the ground first), while those with thickly padded shoes are usually heel-strikers.

    Heel strikers tend to run more upright, with the heel landing well forward of the runner's center of gravity, while fore/midfoot strikers lean more foreward, with the foot landing almost under the CG. It's like you are always just 'falling forward', with your feet catching you from falling on your face. It takes some getting used to, but the effect is much lower impact than heel striking.

    The reasoning is twofold: 1) If your foot lands well forward of your CG, you are effectively retarding your forward progress and increasing the force traveling up your legs, and 2) By striking with the heel, you remove the flexing of the foot and calf muscles as a shock absorber, and the force travels directly up the leg - right up into your knee. The padding in the heel of the shoe (and it's always the heels that are heavily padded) don't make up for the loss of the foot/calf system as a shock absorber.

    You can run using a fore/midfoot strike with a thickly padded shoe, but the thick heel just seems to get in the way.

  • by Swampash ( 1131503 ) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @10:05PM (#42553815)

    The fundamental difference is that - as sports of strategy - rugby football is real-time while American football is turn-based.

    Rugby is far more improvisational while American football is far more orchestrated. That's not to say that rugby can't have set plays and that American football can't be spontaneous, but I think the generalisation is accurate. That also means that rugby players are more jacks-of-all-trades and American football players are specialists.

    The fastest guy on a rugby football team also has to be able to make and shrug off tackles and (pardon the arcane terminology) clean out at rucks; the biggest guy on a rugby team also has to be able to run and catch and pass and kick. Possession can change in an instant. In rugby you have to be able to go from playing offense to defense and back at the drop of a hat and for long uninterrupted passages of play without a whistle going. A rugby player has to be able to do a bit of every other player's job if circumstances require.

    In American football every step, every pass, every hit is planned out and prepared for in advance and the positions and responsibilities are far more specialised. The offensive teams specialise in offense, the defensive teams in defense, and the special teams in kicking plays. Large numbers of complex pre-planned plays have to be memorised. A top-level punt returner would probably make a top-level rugby winger - each the fastest man on his team - look laughably slow. A defensive tackle would probably make a rugby prop - each the heaviest strongest man on his team - look frickin' anorexic.

    The notion of taking a rest on the sideline while a specialist team takes its turn on the field is alien shit to a rugby player. Similarly the notion of the biggest guy on the field spontaneously making a run down the sideline (entirely on his own initiative, without ever having discussed it with his teammates or coaches) before getting smashed by the fastest guy on the other team is a scenario that seems just as alien to an American footballer.

    TLDR? Basically rugby is Starcraft while American football is Civilization.

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