dfwabel

Football and CTE

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I watched the Frontline on concussions recently. Gives you a lot to think about. I tell you what, it gets harder and harder to watch football every year knowing this stuff. 

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2 minutes ago, Crabcake47 said:

I watched the Frontline on concussions recently. Gives you a lot to think about. I tell you what, it gets harder and harder to watch football every year knowing this stuff. 

 

Right there with you. I've lost most of my interest in the sport. Between the CTE issue, the seeming slew of scandals and suicides, and the way the NFL just treated dedicated fan bases in San Diego, St. Louis and Oakland (many of whom I'm friends with of both the former and latter)... I'm just about done. As it is I no longer really look forward to football season like I used to.

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16 hours ago, Crabcake47 said:

I watched the Frontline on concussions recently. Gives you a lot to think about. I tell you what, it gets harder and harder to watch football every year knowing this stuff. 

Couldn't disagree more, I have a bigger issue with the constant interruptions on NFL games. Whether it's youth football to the NFL, the sport is still well ahead on the balance sheet, and we should always remember this is a voluntarily activity. Technology will play a big role in keeping football as our national pastime. The violence and collisions are the essence of tackle football, and that will never change.

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1 hour ago, Gold Pinstripes said:

Couldn't disagree more, I have a bigger issue with the constant interruptions on NFL games. Whether it's youth football to the NFL, the sport is still well ahead on the balance sheet, and we should always remember this is a voluntarily activity. Technology will play a big role in keeping football as our national pastime. The violence and collisions are the essence of tackle football, and that will never change.

 

Whoa.  TV timeouts are worse than widespread brain damage?  That's a hot take there.

 

In actual science news. the Hamilton Spectator and McMaster University have been conducting a two-year study on the effects of football head trauma in living football players, and their article is very interesting.  This isn't CTE, which can't be observed except post-mortem, this is MRI and EEG testing on a group of retired football players and a control group of healthy men of similar ages.

 

MRI-Scans___Super_Portrait.jpg


One of the interesting findings they found was a significant thinning of the cerebral cortex, the exterior part of the brain (and, as the article points out, the part of the brain that strikes the skull every time the players smack together).

 

Quote

“When I saw the images, I thought that must be wrong,” said (Dr. Luciano) Minuzzi, a brain imaging expert and a clinical psychiatrist at McMaster University and St. Joseph’s Healthcare. “I must have done something wrong.

 

“So I did it again.”

 

And again. And again. And again.

 

Minuzzi went back and re-analyzed each subject four times because he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Each time, his results were confirmed.

 

Couple more pull quotes:

 

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Some of the players are in their 40s, Minuzzi said, but “they have the brain of an 80-year-old, maybe 90-year-old.”

 

The images from the players and the thinning of the cortex, he added, were “compatible to someone very old or someone with a neurodegenerative disorder.

 

“Something really wrong is happening here,” he said. “It’s impossible to fake this. This is an objective measure of the thickness of your brain.”

 

Altogether, the results showed, on average, that about 20 per cent of the mass of the cerebral cortex has been lost in the retired CFL players compared to the controls, which is a stunning amount of damage.

 

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In some cases, the EEG results from players were no different than the results that would be seen in some types of coma patients.

 

The findings are almost hard to believe, said John Connolly, a McMaster professor and the Senator William McMaster Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience, who specializes in EEG analysis and concussions.

 

“In the coma patient, you can understand it — the person has had a catastrophic brain injury of some description,” said Connolly, a member of the project’s research team. “But these men we tested are living their lives, they probably drove themselves here, some of them are running businesses.

 

“I’m not suggesting they’re in a coma, quite the contrary,” he added. “They came in, we chatted to all of them. Are there ways they’re getting around this? I think there must be. There must be some way they’re compensating for what amounts to a really disastrous attentional problem.”

 

Obviously, this is only one more piece of the puzzle, but it's a really interesting approach.  I hope we can continue this research on living players, even active players.  There's so much more to learn.

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14 hours ago, Gold Pinstripes said:

we should always remember this is a voluntarily activity

"Informed consent" will be a suitable justification once the NFL, along with other football leagues and organisations, stop fighting the truth about the impact their sport has on the mental health of their players. If a player knows the risks and plays anyway? Hey, he made his informed choice. Right now though? The NFL is leading the charge to ensure players know as little as possible.

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On 8/31/2017 at 10:16 AM, Gothamite said:

 

Whoa.  TV timeouts are worse than widespread brain damage?  That's a hot take there.

 

In actual science news. the Hamilton Spectator and McMaster University have been conducting a two-year study on the effects of football head trauma in living football players, and their article is very interesting.  This isn't CTE, which can't be observed except post-mortem, this is MRI and EEG testing on a group of retired football players and a control group of healthy men of similar ages.

 

MRI-Scans___Super_Portrait.jpg


One of the interesting findings they found was a significant thinning of the cerebral cortex, the exterior part of the brain (and, as the article points out, the part of the brain that strikes the skull every time the players smack together).

 

 

Couple more pull quotes:

 

 

 

Obviously, this is only one more piece of the puzzle, but it's a really interesting approach.  I hope we can continue this research on living players, even active players.  There's so much more to learn.

It's not surprising at all some professional football players have had other negative effects to their brains besides CTE. Of course, you're talking about players in their 40s and 50s, and they didn't have the benefit of the technology and medical knowledge we have today. The reality is, many of those players, are still performing at a very high level mentally. So it's not a binary situation. Since we can't do much more from a rules standpoint to make the game safer, the only alternative is to use technology, medical knowledge, smarter coaching, and more player responsibility to reduce the concussion numbers.

 

Pro(and all levels) of football are voluntarily activities, which still provide society with more benefits than drawbacks. That's a fact, and the sport will continue to prosper, despite all of the politics, and those who would like to see the sport diminished. 

     

 

 

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42 minutes ago, Gold Pinstripes said:

Since we can't do much more from a rules standpoint to make the game safer

 

Wha-?

 

:blink:

 

Okay, that's just profoundly untrue. They've barely done anything at all to make the game safer (much less enough to warrant the word "more"), when there's so much that could be done. 

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1 hour ago, Gold Pinstripes said:

It's not surprising at all some professional football players have had other negative effects to their brains besides CTE. Of course, you're talking about players in their 40s and 50s, and they didn't have the benefit of the technology and medical knowledge we have today.

 

Pro(and all levels) of football are voluntarily activities, which still provide society with more benefits than drawbacks. That's a fact, and the sport will continue to prosper, despite all of the politics, and those who would like to see the sport diminished. 

 

Quote

 

What about those HS players who had CTE at the time of their deaths?

 

As far as "voluntary", oftentimes, children don't have a choice, especially if they have a parent involved in a sports/activity (just watch "Friday Night Tykes" to see that in terms of youth football).

 

It will no longer "prosper", rather it will stagnate as there will not be growth within the US. CBS and Les Moonves is on record saying they will keep the NFL after 2022, and I'm OK with that, but the Goodell mission of $25B in revenue by 2027 is now very unlikely.

 

But "more benefits than drawbacks"?  GTFO.  That sounds just like the tobacco industry. Regardless of CTE, high school football averages a player death each weekend.

 

That's not a benefit, rather, it's collateral damage for your bloodlust.

Edited by dfwabel
italics and punctuation

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I guess these are more "benefits"...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/study-shows-playing-football-before-age-12-can-lead-to-mood-and-behavior-issues/2017/09/18/1b3ebc1c-9cac-11e7-8ea1-ed975285475e_story.html?utm_term=.f78985d4446a

 

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A new medical study has found that children who play football before age 12 suffer mood and behavior problems later in life at rates significantly higher than those who take up the sport later.

 

The study, which was published Tuesday in the medical journal Translational Psychiatry, showed those who participated in football before age 12 were twice as likely to have problems with behavior regulation, apathy, and executive functioning — including initiating activities, problem solving, planning and organizing — when they get older. The younger football players were three times more likely as those who took up the sport after age 12 to experience symptoms of depression.

 

“Between the ages of 10 and 12, there is this period of incredible development of the brain,” said Dr. Robert Stern, the director of clinical research at Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) Center who co-authored the study. “Perhaps that is a window of vulnerability. . . . It makes sense that children whose brains are rapidly developing should not be hitting their heads over and over again.”

 

“Concussions are a big deal when it comes to short-term problems, and it has to be dealt with,” Stern said. “But the dialogue out there needs to now start focusing on these repetitive hits that are part of the game and their potential for long-term problems.”

 

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3 hours ago, dfwabel said:

 

Just another reason to get rid of Pop Warner leagues, which I have been saying all along. They shouldn't be playing until high school. 

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Remember what I said about people who keep talking about concussions?  How they're trying to distract from the real issue?

 

Yeah, that guy.  

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8 hours ago, jmac11281 said:

Are they really called brain scientists?? The only "medical" argument against football and CTE link. IMO, not a very good argument...

 

https://www.yahoo.com/amphtml/sports/im-brain-scientist-let-son-play-football-135727314.html

He lives in Boston... is it any wonder that he thinks football is all land of milk and honey?

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Aaron Hernandez was found to have had had "such a severe form of the degenerative brain disease C.T.E. that the damage was akin to that of players well into their 60s" despite only being 27 when he took his own life earlier this year.

 

Dan Wetzel has a good piece on Yahoo! exploring the likelihood that a lot of this damage occurred in Pop Warner and High School given his short collegiate and professional career and the trajectory and timing of his personal decline.

 

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Three pro seasons.   

 

Forty-four games.  

 

 :censored:  .

 

There can't be any question that this precedes his time in the NFL.

 

I think it's about time we stop letting kids play this game.  And I'm wondering how much longer I can support the pro version.

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5 minutes ago, Waffles said:

Aaron Hernandez was found to have had had "such a severe form of the degenerative brain disease C.T.E. that the damage was akin to that of players well into their 60s" despite only being 27 when he took his own life earlier this year.

 

Dan Wetzel has a good piece on Yahoo! exploring the likelihood that a lot of this damage occurred in Pop Warner and High School given his short collegiate and professional career and the trajectory and timing of his personal decline.

 

I made the mistake of checking the comments on a story. It's actually almost fun to watch people cling to their sport through deflection.  Somehow the fact that Hernandez was an unsavory guy invalidates the whole thing.  Nothing is more simultaneously amusing and aggravating than "equipment needs to get better."

 

Is his CTE entirely about the NFL?  No.  So I don't care what comes of this suit.  But this is probably the best indicator that a lifetime of football is dangerous to your long term quality of life.   Right now, nobody wants to believe it.  But the evidence is thrown right in our faces.

 

To the hard core NFL fan, there may be a silver lining here.  As the post above me mentions, this did not come only from his NFL play or even his NFL and college play.  This started in Pop Warner.  Maybe (and we're just learning) there's a lot less danger if you don't start until a certain age.  Maybe one season at age 12* is more impactful than Tom Brady's entire pro career.  I doubt it, but perhaps the risk plummets if you don't start until a certain age?  The problem is...what age?  And is that even true?  But the silver lining for those who need their Sunday fix might be kids starting later will prolong the game while we try to learn...  I know pre-teens (and even early teens) are playing flag football (a silver lining is that this probably pisses off the "stop wussifying America" crowd).  Is it possible that not putting on the pads until high school will be appreciably beneficial?  I don't know...that's 14 years old for a lot of the freshman team.  It's gotta be better than starting at 10, but I tend to think that if the risk ever drops significantly with a later start, it's closer to age 20 than age 15.  And if you don't let 'em play in high school, they'll come into college and even the NFL lacking some fundamentals...it will probably impact the quality of play.  But I kind of envision this being the case.  I would not be surprised if, say, 10 years from now, most high schools (at least outside of those hard core states) have dropped football. And, assuming college football is still going (given the money, probably), a lot changes (how do they recruit?  how do unprepared kids deal with contact for the first time?).  But where I am at is that as a society, we probably should not be promoting kids playing it.  Kids notoriously do not think about their long-term futures.  College should probably be the first time anyone puts on the full pads.  At least at that point, they are adults and able to consent. Does the game then suffer?  Who cares?

 

*Crap...I played one season.  At age 12.

 

I don't have kids, but I've drifted to the point that if I did, I don't think I'd let them play.  There are other sports.  And while you can't bubble-wrap your kids (another deflection the football defenders love to use), it is my job to protect them from themselves.  The risk is far too high in football. Yeah, they could break an arm being undercut going for a rebound or sprain an ankle rounding third, but that's apples and oranges to lifelong poor quality of life that is very possible to likely playing football from Pop Warner through even high school.  

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2 hours ago, OnWis97 said:

Is his CTE entirely about the NFL?  No.  So I don't care what comes of this suit.  But this is probably the best indicator that a lifetime of football is dangerous to your long term quality of life.   Right now, nobody wants to believe it.  But the evidence is thrown right in our faces.

 

I had the same reaction to the lawsuit initially, but reading this breakdown piqued my interest in the way the suit could unfold, rather than the end result. There are a few interesting scenarios that could play out, including the NFL/Patriots having to consider throwing youth football under the bus to save themselves from having to surrender damning documents and put Goodell on the witness stand.

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Let me give you more "benefits". From last October.

 

https://press.rsna.org/timssnet/media/pressreleases/14_pr_target.cfm?ID=1905

 

Quote

Researchers have found measurable brain changes in children after a single season of playing youth football, even without a concussion diagnosis, according to a new study published online in the journal Radiology.

 

The research team studied 25 male youth football players between the ages of 8 and 13. Head impact data were recorded using the Head Impact Telemetry System (HITs), which has been used in other studies of high school and collegiate football to assess the frequency and severity of helmet impacts. In this study, HITs data were analyzed to determine the risk weighted cumulative exposure associated with a single season of play.

 

The study participants underwent pre- and post-season evaluation with multimodal neuroimaging, including diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) of the brain. DTI is an advanced MRI technique, which identifies microstructural changes in the brain's white matter. In addition, all games and practices were video recorded and reviewed to confirm the accuracy of the impacts.

 

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between the ages of 8 and 13.

 

This is getting dangerously close to child abuse.  Two of my kids are in that age range, and the thought of them playing football turns my stomach. 

 

 

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On 9/19/2017 at 9:19 PM, jmac11281 said:

Are they really called brain scientists??

 

The NFL has their best law-talkin' guys ready to support him.

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