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League of Denial


Liberal Fascist For Life!
DP Veteran
Mar 5, 2008
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Sarasota Fla
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An excerpt from new book on NFL concussions, League of Denial - NFL - SI.com

The Sports Illustrted website has an excerpt from the new book, League of Denial. The book looks at the problems the NFL has had with acknowledging concussion issues. The except from SI is somewhat length but fascinating. Some highlites:

Nine months later came yet another NFL study in Neurosurgery. This one dealt with repeat concussions. Numerous previous studies had shown that one concussion left the brain vulnerable to another concussion if the brain wasn't given time to heal. But that wasn't a problem in the NFL, according to Pellman, et al. The league looked at how quickly players went back on the field and concluded that they were at no greater risk than if they had never been concussed at all. The logic was that because players returned to the field so quickly, they must have been O.K. or the medical staff wouldn't have cleared them. This flew in the face not only of previous research but of widely known realities on an NFL sideline. First, players often didn't report their injuries. Second, they hid their symptoms whenever they could. Third, NFL doctors often deferred to the wishes of coaches and players.

This was in 2004 when the paper was published, from the research the NFL was doing. Needless to say, it turned out to be pretty stupid and just plain wrong.

When McKee peered into the microscope after staining the brain for tau, she was stunned. There was tau everywhere, "like disease on steroids," she said, but there was no trace of beta-amyloid, one of the main components of Alzheimer's. McKee would never forget that moment. "You feel like, Oh, my God!" she said. Her first call was to her brother Chuck, the doctor. Ann explained the disease she had found in Grimsley's brain. It looked just like dementia pugilistica, a brain disease first discovered in boxers in the late 1920s. Chuck's response would stick with Ann for years. "This is going to change football," he said.

Tau is a protein that "strangles" brain cells in neurodegenerative diseases. The brain belonged to linebacker John Grimsley.

More than four years later, in a building near McKee's office outside Boston, the largest collection of NFL brains (61) is stored in a freezer at -80º Celsius. By the fall of 2012, McKee had examined the brains of 34 former NFL players. Thirty-three had CTE. Asked what percentage of NFL players probably have the disease, McKee said, "I don't think everybody has it, but I think it's going to be a shockingly high percentage."

CTE is chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

The excerpt talks about about Chris Nowinski and his Sports Legacy Institute, but he is a real hero in sports. An ex-professional wrestler who has turned studying sports related concussions into his calling. Most everything being done these days to curb concussions in the NFL(who are no longer in denial) and NHL, wrestling and other contact sports related activities is a direct result of his crusade.
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