dfwabel

Football and CTE

Recommended Posts

4 hours ago, Mac the Knife said:

 

I don't disagree; but what I'm saying is that if they either don't self-impose some serious corrections to the game, or if Congress doesn't jump in and regulate it for them?  By the late 21st century professional football could have all the collective heft and interest level as professional boxing.  Regulation needs to be imposed, by someone at some level, for sake of safety.  And those saying it isn't necessary, regardless of their reason or perceived good intention, are flat-out wrong.  It's not going to self-correct; any evidence of that went out the window with the way the NFL has handled the concussion issue as a whole.  And when something doesn't self-correct, it either gets corrected by an outside force (e.g., Congress), or it starts dying as a business.

I think the three corrections the NFL could do today would get the job done without reducing the natural physicality of the sport. First, coaches need to be pulling players earlier from games when the outcome has already been decided. This will help with concussions, along with other injuries. Second, embrace technology better, including requiring all players to wear the best helmets. Third, all players need to take the cognitive tests honestly, and stop ducking their in the tent without a proper check during games. We'll reach the point when technology will be able to warn players when they should retire in terms of head trauma.    

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Gold Pinstripes said:

Basketball has plenty of bad actors as well. Youth football and high school football has too many positive stories to ignore. Many young people from single parent households were headed towards incarceration(or worse), but coaches got them pointed in the right direction. The media won't report this, because it's not sensational.

 

Again with the media. :rolleyes:

 

Once again, we have to ask - is there no other way these kids can be reached?  Something, perhaps, that doesn’t involve an increased risk of brain damage, dementia, and early death?

 

As an example, some schools have had success reaching at-risk students with chess. Why shouldn’t we turn our energies (and money) into spreading that program instead? What is the magic of football that can’t possibly be recreated in an activity that doesn’t irrevocably harm its participants?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Gold Pinstripes said:

Nobody's getting crazy here, just reporting the facts. Even the clergy has had wrongdoers, and I never suggested everyone associated with football is perfect. Other team sports have had issues as well, and everyone knows about the horror with Michigan State University gymnastics. I can't speak about your personal experience, of course, the pressure to win can affect coaches of all sports. Of course, the media plays a huge role in this narrative, because they usually only report the sensational. And for every kid having favors done to stay eligible, we'll find many more cases of coaches providing direction and discipline for success later. You're forgetting the fact football helps with leadership, working with people of different backgrounds, and keeping mentally sharp under stressful situations.Many of the successful people I've spoken with and heard elsewhere have said these skills were 100% transferable to the real world after football, and in some cases, gave them an edge over the competition.

 

Tackle football will continue to be part of the sports fabric in this country for a reason. And believe it or not, the NFL has done more good than harm as well.  

 

 

Youre claiming “facts” without providing any, and blaming the media for influencing any discerning opinions, despite the existence of first-hand accounts.  

 

Literally everything you staye is opinion- one that I suspect is a minority one- but you claim it to be fact. 

 

I literally laugh out loud at the notion that someone that’s played football has an edge over someone that didn’t when it comes to business. As for learning to work with people from different backgrounds, I played football in a very diverse environment, but that absolutely pales in comparison to what I was exposed to in my educational life and professional career. If anything, other than hockey, id say football is the least diverse sport, because it’s 99.9% an American thing, so while you get Americans from different races and economic situations, it’s really not all that diverse. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Gold Pinstripes said:

Just like CTE, there's too much we don't know about these mini-hits you're talking about. What we do know, without a doubt, is the significant number of former college and pro players who sustained concussions, and thousands of smaller hits, yet are performing at high levels, decades after their careers ended.  

Cigarette anyone?

 

Danny, do you have stock in Monsanto too?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Gold Pinstripes said:

I think the three corrections the NFL could do today would get the job done without reducing the natural physicality of the sport. First, coaches need to be pulling players earlier from games when the outcome has already been decided. This will help with concussions, along with other injuries. Second, embrace technology better, including requiring all players to wear the best helmets. Third, all players need to take the cognitive tests honestly, and stop ducking their in the tent without a proper check during games. We'll reach the point when technology will be able to warn players when they should retire in terms of head trauma.    

 

No disagreement here, except that I'm going to disagree with two-thirds of it.  Players are going to do whatever they have to in order to play, in order to keep collecting paychecks for as long as they possibly can.  And no matter what, if a team thinks a player's going to help them win, that player is going to play.

 

Here's an example:  Bjorn Nittmo.  Nittmo was a journeyman kicker who came to America having never played contact football.  He made the Giants roster, literally not really knowing what to do until he was on the field.  Nittmo figured it out, but bounced around from team to team and league to league.  In total, the guy suited up for 13 different teams in five different leagues ranging from the NFL to the Arena League.

 

Over the course of his entire career, the total extent of his physical contact with an opposing player consisted of one tackle - one - made of a ball carrier in a preseason game while trying to make the Tampa Bay Buccaneers squad.  By all accounts, that one hit meanwhile had scrambled his brains for life.  Amazingly, he'd go on to play for five more teams over eight years, throughout which he suffered severe memory loss and other issues caused by brain trauma.  His teammates just thought he was forgetful when he'd kickoff, run off the field, then 3-4 minutes later ask a teammate if he was going to get into the game.  His coaches thought him just another kicker when he behaved oddly.  But he'd suffered permanent brain damage.

 

Today, Bjorn Nittmo is a 52 year old vagabond, living somewhere in Arizona - no one's sure where, because he has a tendency to simply wander off for days, sometimes weeks on end.  His wife divorced him over a decade ago after they went bankrupt due to his medical bills.  On the rare occasions he sees his kids, he barely recognizes them and doesn't acknowledge his youngest is even his - because he doesn't remember the child being born.  He barely remembers playing football at all.

 

And his entire head trauma profile, related to football or anything else, came from one... single... hit.  It can't be attributed to car accidents, playing soccer, or any meaningful football-related contact than that... one... hit.

 

I agree that embracing technology is a good idea.  But the other two suggestions are simply impractical without two other, significant changes, neither of which the NFL would go for:

 

First - forget about the 53 man roster.  Allow a 90 man Active List through a team's 4th regular season game, and a 75-man Active List and 15-player Inactive List (simply an "Inactive" designation, without the necessity of a reason - no "Injured Reserve," "Reserve - NFI" and what-not) from that point forward.

 

Second (and frankly, one which I think DeMaurice Smith should go to the mattresses for, period) - fully guaranteed contracts.  If you sign a guy?  You pay him his full salary.  If he's hurt playing for you?  He deserves to be paid.  If he's released?  It's not his fault you signed him; pay him - or at least guarantee 50% of it in event of a release.  If he retires?  Okay, the team's off the hook for the salary.

 

If I'm an injured player on a 90-man overall roster who's secure enough to know I'm going to collect a check?  I may want to play, but the spectre of losing my job doesn't loom so large that I'm going to risk permanent injury, be it brain trauma or a torn meniscus or whatever.  And my coaches, having a significantly larger depth chart to work with, aren't going to worry nearly as much about my sitting out a week or even a month due to concussion symptoms.  And if as a result of my injury someone else takes my starting spot?  I'm still getting paid, though I'm likely to be traded somewhere down the road or perhaps even released.  But so what?  Better that than to someday be a Mike Webster, Dave Duerson, Junior Seau or Bjorn Nittmo.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Gothamite said:

 

Again with the media. :rolleyes:

 

Once again, we have to ask - is there no other way these kids can be reached?  Something, perhaps, that doesn’t involve an increased risk of brain damage, dementia, and early death?

 

As an example, some schools have had success reaching at-risk students with chess. Why shouldn’t we turn our energies (and money) into spreading that program instead? What is the magic of football that can’t possibly be recreated in an activity that doesn’t irrevocably harm its participants?

You're assuming high school and college players have an increased risk of brain damage, etc. and I'm still waiting for that evidence. Why in the world would someone gifted in football at an early age be forced to do something else?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, BringBackTheVet said:

 

Youre claiming “facts” without providing any, and blaming the media for influencing any discerning opinions, despite the existence of first-hand accounts.  

 

Literally everything you staye is opinion- one that I suspect is a minority one- but you claim it to be fact. 

 

I literally laugh out loud at the notion that someone that’s played football has an edge over someone that didn’t when it comes to business. As for learning to work with people from different backgrounds, I played football in a very diverse environment, but that absolutely pales in comparison to what I was exposed to in my educational life and professional career. If anything, other than hockey, id say football is the least diverse sport, because it’s 99.9% an American thing, so while you get Americans from different races and economic situations, it’s really not all that diverse. 

First-hand accounts are still rare, and the studies aren't conclusive, we need more research before all of these assumptions. And anyone who understands how the media works knows they care about attracting the most viewers possible, and being first is extremely important. This isn't a binary issue, and the media has little interest in positive stories about players and coaches giving back to their communities. Let's just say I'm an insider when it comes to how the media operates. 

 

My "facts" are based on the obvious, personal experience and what's available for the public to research. I have decades of first hand accounts across the country, with all levels of football. I'll stand by my statements on life lessens in football being 100% transferable to life and business in general. Way too many successful people credit the game for a partial reason for their success, I just think you need to start talking to people. And just like other sports, we're going to continue to see kids try out for football because it is useful and has value.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, Gold Pinstripes said:

You're assuming high school and college players have an increased risk of brain damage, etc. and I'm still waiting for that evidence. Why in the world would someone gifted in football at an early age be forced to do something else?  

 

Because the athletic gifts in most cases can be applied just as easily to other activities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Gold Pinstripes said:

My "facts" are based on the obvious, personal experience

"I never wore a seat belt when I was a kid, and I turned out fine!" The people that died in a car when a seat belt could have saved them aren't around to complain.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, not CTE related, but where do we file Maryland's coaching staff working a player to death?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Gold Pinstripes said:

You're assuming high school and college players have an increased risk of brain damage, etc. and I'm still waiting for that evidence. Why in the world would someone gifted in football at an early age be forced to do something else?  

 

CTE has been found in the brains of high school players.

 

https://www.bu.edu/cte/our-research/case-studies/18-year-old/

 

This is what we mean when we say your argument ignores available evidence in favor of an emotional narrative. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, rams80 said:

Also, not CTE related, but where do we file Maryland's coaching staff working a player to death?

 

Not an example of the inherent dangers of the sport, but an example of the toxic culture that sometimes grows around it, choking off all sense of perspective. Separate but related issues. 

 

But hey, maybe that kid should have taken more responsibility for his own health. :rolleyes: 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Gold Pinstripes said:

You're assuming high school and college players have an increased risk of brain damage, etc. and I'm still waiting for that evidence. Why in the world would someone gifted in football at an early age be forced to do something else?  

 

I was going to refer you generally to CTE studies in high school and collegiate players, but Gothamite (the passionate one on the subject) as I see has beaten me to it an cited it.

 

5 hours ago, Gold Pinstripes said:

First-hand accounts are still rare, and the studies aren't conclusive, we need more research before all of these assumptions. And anyone who understands how the media works knows they care about attracting the most viewers possible, and being first is extremely important. This isn't a binary issue, and the media has little interest in positive stories about players and coaches giving back to their communities. Let's just say I'm an insider when it comes to how the media operates. 

 

My "facts" are based on the obvious, personal experience and what's available for the public to research. I have decades of first hand accounts across the country, with all levels of football. I'll stand by my statements on life lessens in football being 100% transferable to life and business in general. Way too many successful people credit the game for a partial reason for their success, I just think you need to start talking to people. And just like other sports, we're going to continue to see kids try out for football because it is useful and has value.   

 

"Studies aren't conclusive" are the exact same three words you hear from climate change deniers.  And yet, you can measure, and feel whenever you go outside, the results of what those "inconclusive" studies put forth. 

 

I don't think anyone here disputes there are life lessons (apparently spelling lessons aren't among them, but I digress :)) to be learned from the sport.  I didn't play at any level beyond high school, but I can agree with you on the point.  But I can also argue that there's not a single one of them that couldn't be taught in the environment of another sport; most of the lessons I learned from football proved easily translatable to baseball, for example - strategy, determination, focus, teamwork, the need for physical conditioning.  But not one of those necessitated my crashing into another person deliberately; in fact, in baseball the opposite was emphasized, because if you did that in the outfield, you'd ****ed up.  If you want to argue that there are life lessons that football teaches but other sports cannot?  Please, make a specific case.  So far no one's disputing the point with you; only that those lessons can be taught by other means, in other sports.

 

35 minutes ago, Gothamite said:

CTE has been found in the brains of high school players.

 

https://www.bu.edu/cte/our-research/case-studies/18-year-old/

 

This is what we mean when we say your argument ignores available evidence in favor of an emotional narrative. 

1

 

Not necessarily an emotional narrative, @Gothamite , but one based on personal experience vs. those of others.  It's simply being subjective vs. objective, and for anyone who encounters anything first-hand, it's a hard separation to make.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Gold Pinstripes said:

My "facts" are based on the obvious, personal experience and what's available for the public to research. I have decades of first hand accounts across the country, with all levels of football. 

 

So, “alternative facts”, then. ;) 

 

You certainly aren’t that familiar with the publicly-available research if you were unaware that CTE has been found in the brains of men who never played a down after high school. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’m just disappointed that he didn’t take the hegemonic masculinity/hypermasculinity train of thought from my post. I’d like to see a rebuttal about how football provides a healthy idea about manliness, which obviously includes brutish competitiveness, covering for your bros despite evidence against them, and trying to suppress any semblance of weakness and softness from the psyche (to the detriment of emotional balance, I might add).

 

Like @dfwabel, @Gothamite, and @rams80 have pointed out, football culture (especially at high school/college levels) can be exceptionally toxic to healthy emotional development.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, rams80 said:

 

Because the athletic gifts in most cases can be applied just as easily to other activities.

Why should someone be forced to leave something which has been generally beneficial, and switch to something else without a valid reason? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Gothamite said:

 

So, “alternative facts”, then. ;) 

 

You certainly aren’t that familiar with the publicly-available research if you were unaware that CTE has been found in the brains of men who never played a down after high school. 

Not alternate facts, just a huge sample size based on experiences across the country, and with all levels of football. I am aware CTE has been found in former high school players, but it's also been found in people who never played contact sports, like bus drivers. In fact, lack of sleep plays a role in CTE.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Mac the Knife said:

 

I was going to refer you generally to CTE studies in high school and collegiate players, but Gothamite (the passionate one on the subject) as I see has beaten me to it an cited it.

 

 

"Studies aren't conclusive" are the exact same three words you hear from climate change deniers.  And yet, you can measure, and feel whenever you go outside, the results of what those "inconclusive" studies put forth. 

 

I don't think anyone here disputes there are life lessons (apparently spelling lessons aren't among them, but I digress :)) to be learned from the sport.  I didn't play at any level beyond high school, but I can agree with you on the point.  But I can also argue that there's not a single one of them that couldn't be taught in the environment of another sport; most of the lessons I learned from football proved easily translatable to baseball, for example - strategy, determination, focus, teamwork, the need for physical conditioning.  But not one of those necessitated my crashing into another person deliberately; in fact, in baseball the opposite was emphasized, because if you did that in the outfield, you'd ****ed up.  If you want to argue that there are life lessons that football teaches but other sports cannot?  Please, make a specific case.  So far no one's disputing the point with you; only that those lessons can be taught by other means, in other sports.

 

 

Not necessarily an emotional narrative, @Gothamite , but one based on personal experience vs. those of others.  It's simply being subjective vs. objective, and for anyone who encounters anything first-hand, it's a hard separation to make.

I'm very objective in this matter, not only am I not a former player, but have no family members playing. The weakness of the CTE study about former high school and college players is the fact we don't know what levels begin to generate a problem. The fact that so many former high school and college players are excelling in mentally demanding jobs tells us we have much to learn about this issue. This isn't climate change, but folks are eager to jump on the CTE bandwagon without the facts. The University of Buffalo study looked independent to me.

 

What kind of country are we living in when people are forced to give up something they're skilled at, for no valid reason? This safety hurdle can definitely be managed, without the moronic helmet lowering and kickoff rules being implemented this season.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, Gold Pinstripes said:

Not alternate facts, just a huge sample size based on experiences across the country, and with all levels of football. I am aware CTE has been found in former high school players, but it's also been found in people who never played contact sports, like bus drivers. In fact, lack of sleep plays a role in CTE.

Lack of sleep does play a role in Alzheimers and Parkinsens, not CTE. Many other vocations have built-in dangers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, Gold Pinstripes said:

Not alternate facts, just a huge sample size based on experiences across the country, and with all levels of football. I am aware CTE has been found in former high school players, but it's also been found in people who never played contact sports, like bus drivers. In fact, lack of sleep plays a role in CTE.

 

I know that we’ve sparred on this topic, but I would honestly love to read that study.  Can you point me to it? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.