Scientific Evidence - Football Causes Brain Damage

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Agent 47
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Scientific Evidence - Football Causes Brain Damage

Post by Agent 47 » Sun Apr 18, 2010 9:06 am

There is an excellent science show called "Catalyst" here on ABC-TV, and last week one of their stories was about how playing football causes brain damage.

You can download a video of that story here -

http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/2873539.htm

Here is a transcript of it. Keep an eye out for this classic quote in it - "We canâ??t find a healthy brain in an ex-football player."

Ha ha!
ABC-TV wrote: School of Hard Knocks
(15/04/2010)

TRANSCRIPT

Ted Johnson
I would drive to the grocery store specifically to get something, you know, and... leave without getting it.

Chris Nowinski
I couldn't remember any of my friends' names.

NARRATION
Itâ??s been an unspoken secret of life after football...

Andrew Heath
A lot of headaches.

Ted Johnson
The depression, the headaches...

NARRATION
...memory lapses, concentration problems, depression, suicide...

Andrew Heath
You wonder how long's this, how long's this going to go on for.

NARRATION
...caused not by drugs or serious injury, but a normal sporting life of multiple mild concussions.

Dr Anne McKee
The damage in their brains is actually worse than in the worst case of Alzheimer's disease.

Chris Nowinski
We canâ??t find a healthy brain in an ex-football player. Itâ??s quite scary.

Jonica Newby
Football is everywhere in our culture. We love its drama, its gladiatorial battles. But only now is science revealing the true impact of this schooling in hard knocks.

NARRATION
Our story begins with Chris Nowinski. He had the life of your classic all round American hero. He was a Harvard graduate â?? a top college football player. And then he got the call from World Wrestling Entertainment.

Jonica Newby
How much fun was that?

Chris Nowinski
It was a blast. I was a bad guy. I played the snobby Ivy League jerk who liked to tell everyone he was better than them. It became not so fun after I kept getting kicked in the head. I kept getting concussions. And I also kept blowing them off because I never really understood what they were.

NARRATION
So he pushed on, despite chronic headaches and other baffling symptoms.

Chris Nowinski
I had no idea what, what that meant to suddenly develop sleep walking, to not be able to remember conversations, to forget your email password every day.

NARRATION
Forced to quit pro-wrestling after months of not getting better, Chris began researching the medical literature... which finally led him to an expert who could explain. Even minor concussions are cumulative. He had post concussion syndrome.

Chris Nowinski
Had I rested any of the concussions Iâ??d had, I wouldn't be in the position I was in because when you injure the brain and then you keep stressing it, you make the injury much worse. And so when he told me those two things in the fall of '03, I was like you know I've been banging my head for 11 years for fun, never thinking twice about it, like I can't believe no one ever told me that.

NARRATION
Suspecting a hidden epidemic, in 2005, Chris used his academic contacts to co-found a brain bank, and boldly started calling for top sportsmen to donate their brains. Dr Anne McKee is a brain pathologist with over 20 years experience - and a keen football fan. So when the first footballers' brains started turning up, she was curious â?? which soon turned to pure shock.

Dr Anne McKee
Well this is the second NFL football player's brain that I looked at and what we see here is this tremendous build up of tau protein. It shows that there's a brown pigment. And for you to see it with the naked eye is extraordinary. And then if you do magnify the image, you can see it's forming this tangle inside the nerve cell, and eventually it'll cause the nerve cell to die.

Jonica Newby
Wow. So it almost looks like a quarter of these nerve cells are actually dead?

Dr Anne McKee
Oh oh absolutely if not more.

NARRATION
Itâ??s a condition sheâ??d only seen before in boxers - Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE â?? also known as being punch drunk. Itâ??s a degenerative disease that doesnâ??t show up on brain scans â?? you can only see it once the sufferer is dead.

Jonica Newby
How many brains of footballers do you have now?

Dr Anne McKee
We have 11 football players. We're seeing this change in every single one. So we know a substantial portion of individuals who've played football are going to come down with this disorder.

Jonica Newby
Every single brain so far?

Dr Anne McKee
Right.

NARRATION
Just as startling, the first ex-footballer she saw had never even been knocked out â?? heâ??d only had minor concussions. But perversely, his football helmet, designed to prevent head injury, had allowed another kind of head impact to become part of normal play.

Dr Anne McKee
He'd been a linebacker and in the course of a single season, these individuals probably get about 1500
sub-concussive hits. So it may not be the concussion per se that's important, but just the cumulative effect
of all these minor head traumas over the course of the years.

NARRATION
All of which was worrying news to a man Chris Nowinski met in 2006. Ted Johnson is a genuine American football legend.

Jonica Newby
Look at this neck.

Ted Johnson
22 inches.

Jonica Newby
How do you get a neck that big?

Ted Johnson
Part of it is the hitting. When I take on a blocker, the first thing I hit him with is this part of the helmet. It just happens so fast, I hit him, and try and snap his head back, and then I can get my hands in. I was nicknamed Cement Head Ted.

Jonica Newby
Cement Head Ted?

Ted Johnson
Yeah, I had a hard head.

NARRATION
In a 10 year career with the Patriots, Cement Head Ted helped his team win three Super Bowls. But then came headaches â?? retirement â?? depression â?? and an ongoing suite of personality changes he couldnâ??t explain.

Ted Johnson
I would avoid stressful situations because talking with people I mean would exhaust me, just irritable all the time and that's, that wasn't me. That's just not who I was.

NARRATION
Then Ted saw the brains. It convinced Ted not only to pledge his own brain, but to break his silence and go public.

Ted Johnson
I knew it wasn't going to be popular. I knew I was going against the establishment but this story was so much bigger than football.

Chris Nowinski
So Ted came forward two weeks later before the Super Bowl, before the biggest game of the year, that was more news, and then people just started coming forward.

NARRATION
The story was huge. So huge that in late 2009, Congress announced a special hearing into the problems with football players. So what about Australian sport? We may not have the helmet factor, but our three biggest football codes are all high contact sports. In fact, the big hits are celebrated. Former Wallabies player Andrew Heath, who was originally a maths teacher, copped more than a few.

Andrew Heath
Um, I remember, a bell-ringer, but a big one - I reverted back to childhood, instincts. I thought I was playing AFL. And it took me three or four minutes to realise that I was, ah, the sport that I was actually playing and representing the country in.

NARRATION
After a season when he just kept getting bell ringers, he retired. To his dismay though, the symptoms didnâ??t.

Andrew Heath
Slight headaches, long periods where it's very, very difficult to concentrate.

Jonica Newby
And you have these still, 10 years on?

Andrew Heath
Yeah, absolutely. I've improved it to a point. I'm very happy with where I am. However I know colleagues and friends which have been a lot worse off.

NARRATION
And how about the hundreds of thousands of Australians who play sport at the school or amateur level? Well, many of us donâ??t even know what a concussion is.

Professor Mark Stevenson
In many instances, itâ??s not a loss of consciousness at all, itâ??s things like amnesia, dizziness or loss of coordination, nausea or headache

NARRATION
In a landmark study, Mark Stevensonâ??s group has spent the last three years painstakingly following the concussion incidence of over 3000 amateur rugby players.

Professor Mark Stevenson
10 per cent of those players sustained a concussion. 10 per cent is a very high rate of injury.

NARRATION
More striking â?? those whoâ??d had one concussion were twice as likely to get another one that season.

Professor Mark Stevenson
Why? Some of that we think is they're going back to play before they've truly recovered. A lot of guidelines suggest a three week period out is sufficient. But we think it may be a much longer period.

NARRATION
And if your reaction times are still slowed, youâ??re more likely to get hit again. Itâ??s not known what proportion of sportsmen and women will sustain long term brain injury â?? like post concussion syndrome or CTE - from multiple mild concussions. But a new unpublished study by the American National Football League found former footballers suffered memory disorders at 19 times the normal rate for men aged 30 to 49.

Jonica Newby
Thereâ??s no doubt football codes around the world are trying to tackle the issue. Team doctors are increasingly using psychometric testing to determine whether players are ready to return to play.

NARRATION
But even that isnâ??t mandatory in some codes â?? and very few schools or amateur clubs have access to this kind of tool. Meanwhile, back in America, the entire issue came to a head in October 2009 when Congress met for its hearing.

Chris Nowinsky
A month after those hearings, the NFL said all right we give up, we give up, you're right. We can't fight this anymore. We're, you know, concussions are a problem.

NARRATION
Late 2009, they announced the changes. No return to a game following a concussion. Players can only return to play after being cleared by an independent doctor. And theyâ??d already announced mandatory baseline psychometric testing. Itâ??s nearly everything Chris and his fellow campaigners had asked for â?? though they still want the hitting taken out of practice. In the end, no-one we spoke to wants to kill off their beloved sport. They just want the message out to players of all contact sports. Resist the pressure to simply take the hard knocks.

Chris Nowinski
I used to think that the guys who got concussions were soft. I mean this is only 10 years ago. Like you're not committed. And to think that today three of the top 10 running backs in the NFL are all sitting out right now with concussions. So literally overnight it switched.

Andrew Heath
If you get a bell-ringer, get off the field, put, put your hand up.

Professor Mark Stevenson
Take time out, basically take time out.
"We can’t find a healthy brain in an ex-football player."

http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/2873539.htm

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Re: Scientific Evidence - Football Causes Brain Damage

Post by HugeFanOfBadReligion » Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:08 am

This is amazing. I suppose this is one of the several reasons why jocks are so brainless. I love that quote "We canâ??t find a healthy brain in an ex-football player".
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Re: Scientific Evidence - Football Causes Brain Damage

Post by i_like_1981 » Sun Apr 18, 2010 5:02 pm

HugeFanOfBadReligion wrote:This is amazing. I suppose this is one of the several reasons why jocks are so brainless. I love that quote "We canâ??t find a healthy brain in an ex-football player".
I also like that title "School of Hard Knocks". And we also know which area of the body is receiving the hardest knocks, don't we? I suppose the football players that weren't stupid to start off with (which some are, believe it or not - we have a few of them here on our forums who obviously do have some matter inside their heads) will eventually lose the intellect they do have by putting sports before academia and allowing their brain, the part of their body that allows them to function as human beings and not robots, to be subjected to powerful blows on a regular basis. Yeah, they have helmets, which help. But the helmet will not provide defence against the inevitable consequences of concussion and brain damage. I strongly advise all football players with passions outside of sports (for example, Andy and his nursing) to drop football when they end their educational career and concentrate on these other interests. Only the people who have absolutely no interests outside of football should attempt to become pro-league players. I hear that Andy was going to end football after his college career finished and become a registered nurse. So there is one football player who knows what is going to do him most good in life; who has separated the serious life path from the fun games. Reading that article about Dave Pear in another topic on this forum should convince any young football player to concentrate on finding a different interest outside of football for later life as at the end of the day football will not remain glorious forever. It will bring drawbacks and they will come in the form of disabilities and pain. Andy knows what will do him best in life and I wish him luck in his nursing career. It'll most definitely falsify the stereotype of the cruel, unforgiving football player. Shame that some other young guys are so entrenched in their fanaticism of the game and can't do anything but brand anything more emotional and compassionate as "gay". They're the ones who are going to be hit hardest when King Football decides to turn its back on them and take the tyrannical stance. The fun won't last forever, boys. Time to move on before it's too late to even consider it.

Anyways, sorry about the mini-essay. They just seem to come out of nowhere with me. But come on, every topic needs at least one. Well, doesn't it? ANSWER ME! :twisted:

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Re: Scientific Evidence - Football Causes Brain Damage

Post by Agent 47 » Sun Apr 18, 2010 10:30 pm

HugeFanOfBadReligion wrote: I suppose this is one of the several reasons why jocks are so brainless.
i_like_1981 wrote: I suppose the football players that weren't stupid to start off with ... will eventually lose the intellect they do have
Yeah, it looks like it's a pretty simple formula -

Play less football = get less brain damage.

PLAY MORE FOOTBALL = GET MORE BRAIN DAMAGE.

It's a simple mathematical formula!
"We can’t find a healthy brain in an ex-football player."

http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/2873539.htm

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Re: Scientific Evidence - Football Causes Brain Damage

Post by Ray » Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:34 am

Holy Cow! Maybe they should stop playing football, eh?!
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Re: Scientific Evidence - Football Causes Brain Damage

Post by Agent 47 » Mon Apr 19, 2010 7:54 am

Yeah, and the truly amazing thing is that they needed a scientific study to figure that out!
"We can’t find a healthy brain in an ex-football player."

http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/2873539.htm

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Re: Scientific Evidence - Football Causes Brain Damage

Post by Fat Man » Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:11 am

Thank you very much Dickfilthy for posting this topic.

I really don't believe that football can ever be played for a number of years without some head injuries or brain damage.

Even if they could design a perfect helmet that will protect against all head injuries, the helmets themselves will cause injuries to other parts of the body when being tackled. Then they'll have to re-design the shoulder pads and add chest pads to protect the body, and then, that would render the helmets less effective so the helmets will have to be re-designed again.

No, I believe that eventually, before the the year 2100, football will cease to exist entirely and go the way of the ancient Roman gladiators.

The same will probably happen with hockey and boxing.

Any sport that caused brain damage will become a thing of the past.

Of course, a lot of redneck sports fans will get pissed off and start rioting in the streets, but then, more and more people will get tired of it, and the sports fans will eventually go the way of the dinosaurs.

One can only hope.
i_like_1981 wrote:Anyways, sorry about the mini-essay. They just seem to come out of nowhere with me. But come on, every topic needs at least one. Well, doesn't it? ANSWER ME! :twisted:

Best regards,
i_like_1981
Hello I_like_1981

I shall answer with a mini-essay of my own.

I know from personal experience that one does not even have to be a professional athlete to suffer some brain damage, but merely just by being a student in school, a non-athletic student getting bullied around and beaten up on by the jocks and even by the PE coaches as well.

As I had mentioned so many times before . . . . .

. . . when I was in the 5th grade, my teacher was really Gung Ho when it came to PE and sports, and he enjoyed humiliating me in the gym in front of the other students. One day while we were playing basketball, I made a mistake, and when the ball slipped out of my hands, the teacher picked up the ball and bunched me in the stomach as hard as he could. It seemed like forever before I was able to breath again.

Then there was another time when our class went to the school library. All the other kids were all the other kids were allowed to check out any book they wanted while I was not. We got into an argument over it, and he dragged me out into the hallway, then he pushed me back against the wall, bashing my head against the corner of the concrete block wall.

I felt dizzy and I almost passed out, but I didn't and I staggered around like a drunk until the dizziness went away. The following year, that teacher was fired and could not get a teaching job anywhere else. But that didn't do me any good. The damage was already done.

For years afterward, I would have dizzy spells and headaches. During my teenage years, the headaches and dizzy spells became less intense, and when I was in my 20s I didn't get those headaches and dizzy spells anymore.

I was 11 years old when I got my head bashed against the wall, and I remember, I was about 12 years old when my appetite increased and I felt hungry most of the time, and it was during my teenage years when I started gaining a lot of weight and getting fat. I was only 15 years old when I weighed over 200 pounds.

My mother was worried about me, and she tried to get me to cut back on my eating, but it was to no avail, and then, she really couldn't stand seeing me going around hungry. Also, I actually liked weighing over 200 pounds when I was only 15, because then, I had become larger than the other kids who liked to bully me around.

Also, after the head bashing, I had more difficulty controlling my emotions. I would go through mood swings, so there is no telling what kind of damage might have been done.

Even now, and the age of 58, I still have difficulty controlling my emotions and I still go through mood swings.

Talk about sports injuries???

How about the injuries done to kids in our school if the don't like sports, the bullying and the beatings, not only from the other kids, but from the teachers and the PE coaches as well.

When that teacher bashed my head against the wall, that was not the only time I received head injuries. There were a couple more incidents in the years to follow.

My stepfather was drunk and one day during an argument with my mother and I, he threw a coffee cup at me and it broke on top of my head. My mother had to take me into emergency to get stitches and they said that my skull had a small fracture. I still have a scar and a small dent there on my scalp even after all these years.

Then back in July of 2001, I was living in a two bedroom apartment. My ex-room mate had his second stroke about a month earlier. I was trying to take care of him during his recovery. As a result of his stroke he suffered severe memory loss, became paranoid and delusional, and even violent. Then one evening he came into my room and attacked me with a machete, fracturing my left wrist. I reached for the phone to dial 911 and he started hacking the phone line so I had to leave the apartment as as I went out the door, he struck me in the back of my head. I went down the stairs and out to the corner of the street to a pay phone leaving a trail of blood behind me. I dialed 911 and the ambulance, a fire truck, and two police cars came, and as I was being strapped down to the gurney and lifted into the ambulance, I could see a police officer going into the apartment building with a shotgun.

I spent three days in the hospital and my ex-room mate spent nine months in the slammer. My left arm was in a cast for three weeks and I had to have stitches on the back of my head where I was struck by the machete.

I'm bald on top of my head, and I have some scars on my scalp, so I wear a cap all the time so people wont see the scars. Also, ever since I was struck in the back of my head, I have been weak and wobbly on my feet. I don't have the balance that I once had and I'm at risk of falling. My co-ordination is way off so there has probably been some nerve damage in addition to my head injury.

I have been seeing a therapist, and I have been diagnosed with PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Ever since the machete attack back in 2001, to this day, I can't even watch movies with sword fights in them anymore. When I'm watching a movie on TV, the minute a sword fight comes on I have to change the channel because I get a flash back to the time my ex-room mate came at me with a machete.

So, one does not have to be in sports to get head injuries.

But being in sports does greatly increase the risks of head injuries, or just going to a school where the teachers and PE coaches are all obsessed with sports.

I would say, that a head injury as the result of being beaten and bullied around by jocks, I would call that a sports injury and I believe that all the sports promoters and the sports media should pick up the tab for any kid in school who was injured by the jocks.
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Re: Scientific Evidence - Football Causes Brain Damage

Post by Agent 47 » Tue Apr 20, 2010 8:16 am

Fat Man wrote: Thank you very much Dickfilthy for posting this topic.
Hey, no worries there, big guy!
Fat Man wrote: I believe that eventually, before the the year 2100, football will cease to exist entirely and go the way of the ancient Roman gladiators.

The same will probably happen with hockey and boxing.

Any sport that caused brain damage will become a thing of the past.
Or maybe it might evolve into a modified form of non-contact football. The "thrill of the game" for them, without the crippling injuries and brain damage.

Perhaps once the lawyers and insurance companies get wind of this information they might force such a change, and football might take a step in a more civilised direction. And then - could it be possible - perhaps then even the fans might become a bit more civilised too?!!! *gasp*!!!
Fat Man wrote: One can only hope.
P.S. - While this thread has been about the brain damage acquired from playing football, there is some excellent information about the crippling physical injuries caused by playing football in Fat Man's "FOOTBALL - LEGALIZED ASSAULT!!!" thread -

phpbb2/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=4502

And here is the link to the original source article in that topic - (thankyou very much to Fat Man for posting it) -

Jeff Pearlman/Dave Pear article -

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/w ... 2/18/pear/
"We can’t find a healthy brain in an ex-football player."

http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/2873539.htm

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