dfwabel

Football and CTE

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17 hours ago, Mac the Knife said:

 

Sure, there are football fans who will have no problem continuing to support the sport, just as there are boxing and MMA fans who support theirs knowing full well that its participants are risking their short term health, their long term health, or even their lives for sake of their entertainment.  But as with the latter sports, the more and more consequences of participation in football are exposed, the less attractive the sport seems to play, or even to be entertained by.

 

There likely will never be an absolute way to attribute how much of a contributing factor playing football, rugby or soccer has with respect to brain damage.  But even based on what very preliminary data currently exists (e.g., CTE studies, incidences of ALS in proportion to the general population, even seemingly "normal" causes of death such as heart attacks and strokes), it's hard for anyone to say that the nature of football - its rules, its culture, and so forth - drastically need to be changed. 

 

The real question at issue is what form those changes should take.  I honestly wonder at times if a possible resolution is to reduce or even remove various types of padding and helmets, the development of which has perhaps given players something of a false sense of security. 

 

As I've mentioned before, I think the first step in the right direction is to take a step backward:  reverting to older definitions of what constitutes a tackle, and severely penalizing "tackle by collision."  In the 1909 Spalding Official Foot Ball Guide, it read:

 

The CFL's rulebook of 2016 states:

 

The current NCAA rulebook gives the following definition:

 

Meanwhile, the NFL's 2017 rulebook definition deviates from this in a not insignificant manner:

 

109 years ago, colliding with a player in a fashion that brought him to the ground, with no attempt to use hands or arms in stopping the player's progress?  It was a foul.  In today's CFL and NCAA versions of the game?  It's a foul.  But in the NFL?  Not so much.

 

Granted the NFL redefining what a tackle is isn't going to single-handedly resolve all that ails professional football as a sport.  But rather than encouraging "human pinball," perhaps penalizing it as an Unsportsmanlike Conduct foul (not Illegal Contact; I think only a UC foul would give it proper emphasis) would be a good place to start.

 

Collisions in football are as natural as the wind, and you'll see thousands of empty seats and massive declines in TV ratings if the foundation of the sport is eroded. The game simply doesn't need to be drastically changed when smarter options are available. One easy way to reduce both wear and tear and catastrophic injuries is to encourage coaches to pull players from games earlier when the outcome is already decided. Instead of looking for ways to dilute the product, let's find solutions. And it's worth repeating, football is a 100% voluntarily activity, and college/pros are more informed about the risks than ever before. There was a recent study about not playing youth football until age 12, a parent can still enter their child to the sport and gain the positive benefits many others have enjoyed.

 

    

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1 minute ago, dfwabel said:

Knew that was coming.

 

The whole "Football was the GI Bill before the GI Bill" concept. You might as well add, "if it wasn't for football, the FRD's Works Progress Administration would've built all those stadiums, along with dams, bridges, and roads and put people to work"...

 

Well tobacco is a crop which farmers can grow, yet that does not make it a proper way to earn a living.

So let me get this straight, the legions of former youth, college, and pro players who have commented on the positive aspects of playing the sport were all part of some giant conspiracy to keep football around? Don't think so, as usual the people will win out. And I haven't even talked about the thousands of former players turned coaches who have made tangible differences in the lives of young people.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Gold Pinstripes said:

So let me get this straight, the legions of former youth, college, and pro players who have commented on the positive aspects of playing the sport were all part of some giant conspiracy to keep football around? Don't think so, as usual the people will win out. And I haven't even talked about the thousands of former players turned coaches who have made tangible differences in the lives of young people.

What about the back end after the playing days? The years of struggle with life due to the pre-existing conditions and the medical burden placed upon loved ones.

 

Issues such as addiction to painkillers or the lack of mental health support are two of the issues which football turns a blind eye to.

Edited by dfwabel

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On 6/28/2018 at 11:23 AM, Gold Pinstripes said:

Collisions in football are as natural as the wind, and you'll see thousands of empty seats and massive declines in TV ratings if the foundation of the sport is eroded.  

 

If that's true, then the sport deserves to die.  But I don't think it is.

 

On 6/28/2018 at 11:23 AM, Gold Pinstripes said:

The game simply doesn't need to be drastically changed when smarter options are available. One easy way to reduce both wear and tear and catastrophic injuries is to encourage coaches to pull players from games earlier when the outcome is already decided.

 

So you'll save a few starters from a couple plays at the end. 

 

How will you protect them during the first 3 1/2 quarters of the game? .And how will you protect those players who enter the game in their place?

 

The sport is fundamentally flawed.  The problem arises from the collisions that come from every single play.  "Catastrophic injuries" is a red herring.  

 

On 6/28/2018 at 11:23 AM, Gold Pinstripes said:

And it's worth repeating, football is a 100% voluntarily activity, and college/pros are more informed about the risks than ever before.

 

This is the biggest LOL of all.  Colleges and the NFL continue to stonewall research and obfuscate.  If we are indeed "more informed than ever before," it's despite the hard work of those entities.  And "more informed" is not "properly informed"; given all the lies, half-truths and misdirection.  There's no legitimate argument that players and parents are giving truly informed consent. 

 

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On 6/28/2018 at 11:23 AM, Gold Pinstripes said:

Collisions in football are as natural as the wind, and you'll see thousands of empty seats and massive declines in TV ratings if the foundation of the sport is eroded. The game simply doesn't need to be drastically changed when smarter options are available.

But the first thing I propose isn't a drastic change.  It's merely a reversion to a previous interpretation of an existing rule by its predominant professional league.  If anything, I'd think the change would put more fans in the stands, as offensive output would be increased simply by preventing the defense from "tackling" a player by blindsiding a player (defenseless or otherwise) to the ground.

 

7 hours ago, Gothamite said:

If that's true, then the sport deserves to die.

I concur.  I don't advocate the abolition of football by any means (hell, I'm listening to last nights RedBlacks-Stamps game as I write this), but if there has to be radical change to the sport in order to better protect those who play it?  Commercial detriments be damned.  The NFL would certainly survive.

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If we go back to the old definition of tackling then a lot of the defensive restrictions in place that many dislike could be abolished. Unless you're excited at the thought of 84-80 nfl games. Offense will have too many advantages. Go back to the old dpi rules, etc. 

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On 6/28/2018 at 11:11 AM, Gold Pinstripes said:

And the writers and others who would like to see the sport diminished or eliminated will lose in the end.

You sound like someone who's been brainwashed by a cult.

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On ‎6‎/‎29‎/‎2018 at 1:37 AM, dfwabel said:

What about the back end after the playing days? The years of struggle with life due to the pre-existing conditions and the medical burden placed upon loved ones.

 

Issues such as addiction to painkillers or the lack of mental health support are two of the issues which football turns a blind eye to.

 

After playing football at a lower level when I was younger, I now suffer from issues due to some serious head knocks.

Not once was I ever told to visit the hospital or doctors after I was knocked out cold until the last time back in 1999 when I thought that I should. Turns out I was very lucky and the doctor told me I had severe trauma to my brain, my right eye doesn't focus properly.

I live with this everyday now, do I regret what I did? Yes and no. All I do is try to help people that are in the same situation as I was back then, money isn't worth killing yourself over.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/28/2018 at 10:11 AM, Gold Pinstripes said:

Reason and logic will prevail over hysteria and overreaction. Smarter rules changes will make the game safer, along with improved technology. And the writers and others who would like to see the sport diminished or eliminated will lose in the end.

 

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Edited by SFGiants58
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8 hours ago, tigers said:

After playing football at a lower level when I was younger, I now suffer from issues due to some serious head knocks.

Not once was I ever told to visit the hospital or doctors after I was knocked out cold until the last time back in 1999 when I thought that I should. Turns out I was very lucky and the doctor told me I had severe trauma to my brain, my right eye doesn't focus properly.

I live with this everyday now, do I regret what I did? Yes and no. All I do is try to help people that are in the same situation as I was back then, money isn't worth killing yourself over.

 

And let’s be clear - very few people see any substantial amount of money from playing the sport.  Only a rare few are “lifted out of poverty”.

 

I’m sorry to hear about your health issues.  Hopefully we can make the game safer for future generations.  

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9 hours ago, Gothamite said:

 

And let’s be clear - very few people see any substantial amount of money from playing the sport.  Only a rare few are “lifted out of poverty”.

 

I’m sorry to hear about your health issues.  Hopefully we can make the game safer for future generations.  

 

Very True, though I was offered to take part in some type of new age thing when I die they can look at my brain. Thanks I will, but it doesn't help me now.

 

Thank you and I am glad that there are people out there that try and help where they can.

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One of the key takeaways is that the problem isn’t just concussions. Repetitive sub-concussive blows to the head (or even to the chest, resulting in a whiplash effect on the brain inside the skull) can cause brain damage.

 

“It’s concussion this, concussion that,” says Dr. Robert Stern. “With the focus on concussions, it takes everyone in a different direction from what the real problem is.”

 

Stern, a professor of neurology and neurosurgery at Boston University, says the biggest problem isn’t concussions but subconcussive hits, the repetitive blows to the head that take place in every football game. Those blows usually aren’t bad enough to send players out of the game, but according to Stern, in some players, repetitive subconcussive hits can lead to changes in the brain’s structural integrity. And that makes CTE a real risk factor for players long before they reach the NFL.

 

Just a couple paras in, and I love the first article already. 

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About 3 million boys play tackle football in America, according to the National Sporting Goods Association—that’s roughly 2,000 players for every NFL pro. About 40 percent of these kids fall between the ages of 7 and 11.

 

What.  The.  :censored: .

 

Tackle football at 7 is child abuse.

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And here’s why we can’t say that people are making informed choices about the risks. 

 

Quote

But not everyone is swayed by the emerging science. Last November, at the youth-football championships in Florida, it was hard to find an adult who expressed a deep understanding of the game’s health risks to the brain. Nearly all of the parents interviewed by Men’s Health said they trusted coaches to teach proper hitting techniques, believing good form takes the head out of the game. Concussion awareness was a concern, many said, but they overwhelmingly believed USA Football when it said that its Heads Up program had reduced practice injuries by 76 percent and concussions by about 30 percent. (A 2016 New York Times investigation revealed that those claims, which had been used in online marketing campaigns and congressional testimony, were overblown and misleading.)

 

When the people involved mislead and stonewall research, as USA Football and the NFL have done since the very beginning, then participants and their parents aren’t honestly told about the dangers and cannot give informed consent. 

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4 hours ago, Gothamite said:

What.  The.  :censored: .

 

Tackle football at 7 is child abuse.

Woah.  Holy hyperbole, Batman.  Take a step back here.

 

Tackle football shouldn't exist at 7, I'll grant you.  But I don't think I'd go so far as to throw a child abuse blanket over parents unless they're forcing the kids to play out of some misguided notion that their kid's going to be the next Todd Marinovich or something.  The impact of two 7 year old kids, even colliding while going at full speeds, is pretty unlikely to cause severe head trauma at some point down the line; they don't have that kind of momentum or mass.

 

That said, I think at any age below junior high school, they should be playing no-contact flag.  In junior high school, strap on a helmet and play contact flag to get a feel for certain elements of the tackle game.  Then, at the high school level, put them in full gear but monitor kids very carefully; limit participation to a half, perhaps.  But most important, teach kids how to block and tackle in a way that avoids head contact to the greatest extent possible.

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6 hours ago, Mac the Knife said:

Woah.  Holy hyperbole, Batman.  Take a step back here.

 

i really think you should read the second article.  Several of your points are directly refuted.  To wit:

 

6 hours ago, Mac the Knife said:

Tackle football shouldn't exist at 7, I'll grant you.  But I don't think I'd go so far as to throw a child abuse blanket over parents unless they're forcing the kids to play out of some misguided notion that their kid's going to be the next Todd Marinovich or something.  The impact of two 7 year old kids, even colliding while going at full speeds, is pretty unlikely to cause severe head trauma at some point down the line; they don't have that kind of momentum or mass.

 

From the article:

 

Playing youth tackle football may be exposing kids’ brains to that same risk (of CTE). A 2017 study coauthored by Stamm and Stern in Translational Psychiatry found that people who started playing tackle football before age 12 doubled their risk of having behavioral problems and cognitive impairment, and tripled their risk of suffering from depression later in life. The increased risks did not change based on how many years they had played, the number of concussions they had, or whether they played through high school, college, or the pros.

 

The findings were in lockstep with a growing body of evidence that shows youth football may be doing more harm than good. A 2015 study led by BU’s CTE Center ran 42 former NFL players (ages 40 to 69) through a battery of cognitive tests and divided them into two groups: those who started playing football before age 12 and those who started later. Why 12? “Because of the neurodevelopmental literature showing there’s a lot happening in the brain around that age,” Stamm says.

 

Between the ages of 8 and 12, the brain works overtime to make myelin, a coating that grows around, and protects, fragile brain-cell connections called axons. The heaviest construction occurs in the branchlike pathways that connect the right frontal lobe of the brain to the left frontal lobe. Ultimately, the study found that the pre-12 group performed “significantly worse”; their tests revealed evidence of “executive dysfunction, memory impairment, and lower estimated verbal IQ.”

 

And as far as youth players not having enough momentum or mass to cause any problems, their anatomy introduces new element of risk:

 

A young child’s head-to-body-size ratio is roughly four times larger than that of an adult. And that, combined with a child’s thinner, weaker neck, means impacts cause more rapid head movements. All of this seems to put kids who play tackle football well behind kids who don’t, from a developmental standpoint. (Your brain doesn’t fully mature until your early 20s.) Another BU study found that cognitive, behavioral, and mood problems may affect former football players an average of 13 years earlier if they played before age 12. But, Stern warns, “there’s no right age. It’s not like 12 is magic. It’s not like starting at 14 makes it safe.”

 

6 hours ago, Mac the Knife said:

That said, I think at any age below junior high school, they should be playing no-contact flag.  In junior high school, strap on a helmet and play contact flag to get a feel for certain elements of the tackle game.  Then, at the high school level, put them in full gear but monitor kids very carefully; limit participation to a half, perhaps.  But most important, teach kids how to block and tackle in a way that avoids head contact to the greatest extent possible.

 

Junior High?  That still includes some of our under-12 kids.  But keep in mind that 12 is an arbitrary age for the purposes of the study.  "It’s not like starting at 14 makes it safe.”  Especially for kids on the lines, who touch helmets on every single play, or kids who are tackled to the ground and strike the turf with their helmets.

 

And ah, yes.  Trust the coaches.  That's seen in the article as well:

 

Nearly all of the parents interviewed by Men’s Health said they trusted coaches to teach proper hitting techniques, believing good form takes the head out of the game. Concussion awareness was a concern, many said, but they overwhelmingly believed USA Football when it said that its Heads Up program had reduced practice injuries by 76 percent and concussions by about 30 percent. (A 2016 New York Times investigation revealed that those claims, which had been used in online marketing campaigns and congressional testimony, were overblown and misleading.)

 

Misleading.  By people with a financial stake in the sport?  Say it ain't so, Joe.  Parents who trust coaches to teach their kids to "do it right" are kidding themselves.

 

But that's not surprising, since this is the level of denial we're working with:

 

“You can’t convince me anywhere—anywhere—that these kids are hitting each other to that degree, improperly, to where they’re getting CTE when they’re older in life,” says Leonard Rhein, the coach of a 12- and 13-year-old team from Illinois whose 10- and 12-year-old sons have played football since they were 6. “Attacking [football] at the 12-and-under level is wrong and it’s unfounded. CTE is a real thing, there’s no question, but that’s at the highest level when you basically have two freight trains running into each other.”

 

Patently false according to the data we have.  And totally ignores the inconvenient fact that CTE has been found in the brains of high school players.  But that's the level of willful blindness people with an investment in the sport are capable of choosing.

 

So yeah.  Given that there is evidence from multiple studies that tackle football before age 12 can have a significant negative effect on a kid's brain?  I'm going with child abuse.  We just don't like to admit it because that would mean having to take a long hard look at a game we love.

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6 hours ago, Mac the Knife said:

Woah.  Holy hyperbole, Batman.  Take a step back here.

 

Tackle football shouldn't exist at 7, I'll grant you.  But I don't think I'd go so far as to throw a child abuse blanket over parents unless they're forcing the kids to play out of some misguided notion that their kid's going to be the next Todd Marinovich or something.  The impact of two 7 year old kids, even colliding while going at full speeds, is pretty unlikely to cause severe head trauma at some point down the line; they don't have that kind of momentum or mass.

 

That said, I think at any age below junior high school, they should be playing no-contact flag.  In junior high school, strap on a helmet and play contact flag to get a feel for certain elements of the tackle game.  Then, at the high school level, put them in full gear but monitor kids very carefully; limit participation to a half, perhaps.  But most important, teach kids how to block and tackle in a way that avoids head contact to the greatest extent possible.

This kind of implies that the other kids are participating of their own free will.  But do 7-year-olds even have free will?  It's a parent's job to protect them from dangerous choices like playing football.  Kids that age watch their NFL team play every week and then want to play themselves.  I don't think telling a kid that age "well, football has long-term consequences that could impact quality of life when you're an adult...but the choice is yours" is effectively protecting the kid from danger.  Kids don't think of the future that way.  They barely even recognize they'll ever be "super old," like 30 years old.

 

In short, a 7-year-old is under the age of consent...or at least should be.

 

We can debate whether the phrase "child abuse" applies, but I honestly don't think putting the choice on a kid ill-equipped to make that choice is a lot better than forcing them.   

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12 hours ago, Gothamite said:

 

What.  The.  :censored: .

 

Tackle football at 7 is child abuse.

 

This is from 2012, but it is a good example. Here is a piece from Rick Reilly:

 

http://www.espn.com/espn/story/_/id/8217949/do-pee-wee-players-need-killer-instinct

 

Here is a two-part piece someone did on their blog about this idiotic Texas coach:

 

http://superfraud.blogspot.com/2012/08/another-example-of-how-completely-out.html

 

http://superfraud.blogspot.com/2012/08/and-another-example-of-ugly-american.html

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