Football and Head Injuries

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DSC03799One former NFL player said, in an interview, he doubted if the NFL would even be around in another 20 to 25 years.  Yet, even during the week surrounding the Super Bowl, the NFL refused to even discuss the damage being done to those who play the game.

“…Having Olympic-level sprinters running full-speed and head-first into 300-pound sex criminals running full speed in the other direction, it turns out, is unavoidably harmful to human brain tissue. The resulting collision appears to cause a condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, which generates confusion, dementia and tragedy. We all heard about Junior Seau’s ominous heart-shot suicide (an invitation to study his brain?). But did you know about former Steeler Terry Long killing himself by drinking antifreeze? Or another Steeler, Justin Strzelczyk, who was killed fleeing from police when he crashed his truck into a tractor-trailer? Or former Cardinal Andre Waters, who shot himself in the head?…”

Now that football is finally over for the season, it is time, once again to discuss brain injuries.  If the numbers are what we are starting to see, the damage to lives and families is far beyond what was originally proposed. There are approximately 1,696 players in the NFL.  If you start compairing the number of NFL players who have chronic traumatic encephalopathy  with the number of people who die of gun violence in the US, the results are staggering.   Currently nearly 5,000 former NFL players or their estates are involved in a major lawsuit against the NFL over brain injuries.  The situation is so damning, one former player, Antwaan Randle El, said, if he had it to do over again, he would never play football.  Instead, he would have played baseball.

“…“I ask my wife things over and over again, and she’s like, ‘I just told you that,’ ” Randle El said. “I’ll ask her three times the night before and get up in the morning and forget. Stuff like that. I try to chalk it up as I’m busy, I’m doing a lot, but I have to be on my knees praying about it, asking God to allow me to not have these issues and live a long life. I want to see my kids raised up. I want to see my grandkids.”

Randle El didn’t hesitate when asked if he regrets playing football.

“If I could go back, I wouldn’t,” he said. “I would play baseball. I got drafted by the Cubs in the 14th round, but I didn’t play baseball because of my parents. They made me go to school. Don’t get me wrong, I love the game of football. But, right now, I could still be playing baseball.”…”

According to one study, something like 96% of all former NFL players have experienced brain damage due to playing the game of football.  Another study suggests that 90% of all current NFL players have some form of brain disease.  At the same time, the world is talking about the Oscar snub of black artists.  Will Smith should have been nominated for his portrayal of Bennet Omalu.  But, according to some rumors, the NFL is so powerful, they managed to basically squash the entire movie.

Slashfilm
Slashfilm

Interestingly, Sony, is the only studio without link to the NFL.  Let’s put two and two together.  Will Smith deserved a nomination for the film.  The studio system basically controls the Oscars.  Because of economic issues, Will Smith was snubbed.

Sure, I loath football.  I think it is a barbaric sport which destroys the men who play it.  I was shocked at the numbers I discovered.  If the NFL were a gun, it would already be banned as too dangerous.  If football were a gun, it would not be allowed on the playgrounds of America, to be played in little leagues, high schools and colleges.  Of course NFL fan, Rush Limbaugh thinks this is just a conspiracy by the left, to ruin football.

“...CTE has been found in boys as young as 17, but those cases had limited, focal tau pathology, McKee said (see McKee et al., 2013). It is unclear why this college player developed such aggressive pathology, though it may have something to do with the early age at which he began playing. Cantu noted that several studies indicate that NFL players who started before the age of 12 perform worse on cognitive tests and have more impulse-control problems, depression, and anxiety than those who started playing at a later age. “We think the developing brain is more sensitive to traumatic injury and may experience greater effects,” McKee said…”

It is disgusting, yet parents insist their sons play football.  Studies are now showing that playing high school football causes the same brain diseasesSo does college football.  High school players have a greater risk for life-long brain injuries, like Alzheimer’s, than college players.  It is causing early Alzheimer’s.  It is causing players to be violent.  It is causing suicides.

The public health implications of this are staggering.  Have you ever noticed how former high school players have this cliched tendency to be boozers, violent, incapable of holding down more than a mediocre job, and have a tendency to spousal abuse?  Or what about the college football players who are so violent, yet their crimes are covered-up by their schools?  Only a very small percentage of these people will ever go on to play in the NFL.  They will not be able to financially cope with the destructive years of dealing with degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Quite frankly, any parent who encourages or allows their children to play football ought to be arrested for abuse and have their children taken away from them.  They are doing as much damage to them, long-term as if they had been beating and abusing them.  But, football is about the money.  No one really cares how many boys and men are going to suffer for the almighty dollar.

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