CTE Lawsuit Settled by NCAA

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BGSUBucksFan's picture

Hopefully the majority of players who suffer from CTE will choose not to blame the sports organizations. Should Ali's family be suing boxing for his illnesses? It's a violent sport, to think there isn't a chance of long-term injury is negligence on your part. Obviously we need better education on those things, but seriously... 4 decades ago and you expected the NCAA to know better? Nah, you just want their money.

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

Hi, BGSU. Appreciate your thoughts.

...4 decades ago and you expected the NCAA to know better? Nah, you just want their money.

I decided to look at the Washington Post link within the Yahoo Sports article for more info, and lo and behold, found this:

 In opening statements, Ploetz’s attorneys told the jury that the NCAA has known since the 1930s that football could lead to brain damage, according to Law360.

Now, I found that tidbit very interesting. It almost reads like a parallel to the Big Tobacco companies and their foreknowledge of the hazards of smoking, yet kept the unpleasant lethality of tobacco hidden from the public until the evidence could no longer be ignored.

I'd have to register to read the Law360 link. I'd like to know where the plaintiff's lawyers got that info.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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Buckeye Jack's picture

A clear warning (as in cigarettes) should be constantly apparent (also, as in cigarettes).
CTE is much more visible in boxing. There are guys around almost every boxing gym who are clearly brain damaged. Half the old pros have difficulty speaking. And worse. (Alarming numbers of younger ones, too - 30's, 40's)

On a side note, GTF, looked at Nebraska's depth chart. In addition to teams that call it the Y, H, or slot, the Huskers now call it the "R" position.

Zone6, with rotating WR's, will have 1000+ yards at all 3 WR positions this season

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

On a side note, GTF, looked at Nebraska's depth chart. In addition to teams that call it the Y, H, or slot, the Huskers now call it the "R" position.

Your mind is like a steel trap, Jack, I'll give you that.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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BGSUBucksFan's picture

The tobacco comparison is interesting, and I'll point out that it's still around and although I don't know any numbers, I'd imagine it's still doing just fine for itself.

Football isn't going away. It has a long way to drop before even becoming the #2 professional revenue sport. Youth participation will decline as it has already done so, but the D1 talent comprises so very little of that that the impact to the talent on-field will likely be negligible. Football has been and will continue to be a highly popular and profitable sport. The leagues will take other measures before letting rule changes destroy the game. Yes, I realize some already hate the rule changes in place, but most of them still watch regardless.

I'd also be interested to see where that 1930s claim came from. I'm betting it's more along the lines of "we're not naive enough to claim our sport doesn't cause brain damage" rather than "we have scientific evidence that our sport does cause brain damage".

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

I'd also be interested to see where that 1930s claim came from. I'm betting it's more along the lines of "we're not naive enough to claim our sport doesn't cause brain damage" rather than "we have scientific evidence that our sport does cause brain damage".

I did find a kernel of info along those lines in the SI article by McCann. He writes:

Hardin-Ploetz also draws attention to the NCAA’s awareness of risks related to concussions and other head trauma. For instance, in 1933 the NCAA’s Medical Handbook for Schools and Colleges offered recommendations that concussed players not play for 48 hours and avoid further head trauma. These recommendations track the findings of peer review scientific studies in existence before Ploetz played that discuss the consequences of traumatic head injuries...

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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BGSUBucksFan's picture

Thanks, GTH. Short-term concussion protocol doesn't speak much to long-term evidence. That last sentence certainly leaves it open, though.

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BUCKEYE3M's picture

Nah, you just want their money.

That, and in America today, EVERYTHING is someone's fault - or, shall I say someone else's fault.

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BrewinBuckFan's picture

There is a difference between nobody knowing the dangers of an activity and people or organizations willfully hiding the dangers like the NFL and Tobacco industries were doing for decades - or as so prevelant in Ohio the opiod industry.  I'm not sure where on the spectrum the NCAA falls but I do appreciate your attempt at the stawman argument.

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Seattle Linga's picture

Thanks again GTH for the reminder. It amazing how sad these stories have become. I believe we are only scratching the surface on what lies ahead in the future.

Go get'em Cal Poppy - we are behind you !!

It's not a rivalry .............. it's a wreckoning.

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

Thanks again GTH for the reminder. It amazing how sad these stories have become. I believe we are only scratching the surface on what lies ahead in the future.

Science is digging deeper on this health issue, SL. And the evidence they are compiling is very troubling. The earlier a kid plays football, the bigger the likelihood of accumulating concussion-like trauma to the head, either severe or- more insidiously- repeated small traumas like a defensive or offensive lineman absorb in a typical game.

Factor that over the course of say, six years (from Pop Warner to High School Varsity), and it could be argued that a student-athlete playing football or other contact sport is already at risk before he/she leaves high school. Small wonder that many parents are already deciding to steer their kids away from football.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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Seattle Linga's picture

It's just sad we usually hear about these things when it's too late. If the tell tale signs were obvious it would save a ton of people from doing stupid stuff.

Go get'em Cal Poppy - we are behind you !!

It's not a rivalry .............. it's a wreckoning.

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

Where CTE is concerned, the buildup to the disease is subtle over the years and not easily noticed. Usually it's a spouse who, because of their intimacy and knowledge of their husband, connects the dots regarding behavior and past brain injury. Again, there's presently no method available to definitively diagnose the disease until the victim is deceased.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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KBonay's picture

I am just hoping that Winslow has a bad case of CTE rather than being some sadistic fuck with a warped mind. 

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

Difficult to say, KB. It would be at least some explanation for Kellen Winslow Jr.'s bizarre and contemptible behavior if that were so. Some complications of CTE include depression, dementia, aggression, and suicidal behavior. But the only way right now to know for sure if one is afflicted by CTE is by a postmortem autopsy.

Here's a good link for FAQ's about CTE.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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KBonay's picture

Yeah, doesn’t fit the mold for CTE. I just don’t want to believe someone is that messed up. 

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ohiowhitesnake's picture

Agree. What I fear is anytime an ex player commits a crime or steps out of line, will CTE be blamed? I understand it’s a devastating disease and we have yet to fully understand it, but it can’t be the “go to” for bad behavior or just being a POS (see Winslow, IMO). 

Feed the trolls

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Seattle Linga's picture

He did wreck his bike so like KB said I really hope there was something more to his charges than what we are all lead to believe. 

Go get'em Cal Poppy - we are behind you !!

It's not a rivalry .............. it's a wreckoning.

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

The human brain is so very complex, and I'm just a lay person on the subject. But violent, predatory behavior like KW Jr. is accused of might be the result of a tumor, haywire glands, or as SL alludes, a result of injury to the neo cortex.

Or Winslow is simply evil incarnate. Take your pick.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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ohiowhitesnake's picture

GTH, you’re 100% right, but I’m not a brain expert. KW  Jr has a history of “questionable” decisions. Again, I’m NOT saying CTE isn’t to blame, but I’ve always been told if it walks like a duck...

Who knows if CTE was present early in his life, but I played football for 10+ years and I’ve never thought about raping a woman. Then again I wasn’t raised by a NFL star 

Feed the trolls

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NewPhilaFan's picture

I read someplace GTH that even non-concussion collisions for younger football players can have a cumulative effect.  I believe that it has to do with a brain that is not fully developed being more susceptible to damage.  I believe that this is a reason that some soccer and hockey leagues forbid headers (soccer) and checking (hockey) until the kids get older.

69 in 18

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

You read that right, NPF.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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NewPhilaFan's picture

In my opinion, it is probably (not speaking specifically about Winslow) some combination with no way of knowing which is the controlling factor.  You may have a person with a propensity for bad behavior but who keeps it in check, mostly.  Then something triggers the worst impulses.  

69 in 18

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BUCKEYE3M's picture

I am just hoping that Winslow has a bad case of CTE rather than being some sadistic fuck with a warped mind. 

He's a sadistic, spoiled, narcissistic fuck with a sick mind, and CTE will be an excuse for his behavior. 

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Jay Lawerence's Laugh's picture

He is a problem. Spoiled for sure. I remember when daddy came running to his side to call out the horrible Browns for wanting to void his contract and make him pay for his irresponsible behavior. He is a little bitch if you ask me... and his dad is delusional. 

Ohio, the greatest state in the Union!

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Hovenaut's picture

It will be interesting to see how the focus on this moves forward this coming season.

Up until this read, everything I've seen regarding CTE/concussion awareness was all within the pro and prep/youth levels.

Thanks for sharing here, GTH.

I'm not around that much, running exhausted and lost...

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

Thanks for sharing here, GTH.

De nada, Hove.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

The health and safety issues in regards to CTE and football are certainly in the forefront of parental concerns. A decline in participation nationally is an outgrowth of that concern.

Yet, the legal ramifications of participation in football and its oversight by sports organizations like the NCAA is the 800 pound gorilla in the room. It can't be ignored. And the Ploetz case proves that.

Another link Dr. Saturday included was the pre-trial analysis done by Sports Illustrated legal analyst Michael McCann. One point McCann brought up has far-reaching consequences:

 " In an important way, Hardin-Ploetz’s lawsuit is different from similar concussion lawsuits brought by retired NFL players and their widows against the NFL: the NCAA can’t argue that Hardin-Ploetz’s claims are preempted by a collective bargaining agreement. This is because college players are not (yet) recognized as employees and thus cannot unionize and enter into collective bargaining. The NFL has long argued that any claims against the league must be dismissed because current and former NFL players are contractually obligated to arbitrate claims before going to court. No such defense exists for the NCAA."

Anybody want to speculate where this might be going?

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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NewPhilaFan's picture

I see this issue being driven more and more by insurance companies and lawyers.  What happens if insurance companies tell youth leagues, high schools, colleges, NFL, etc. that since it is now known about the risks of repeated collisions, they will no longer provide insurance?

For example, would a high school keep their football team if they couldn't get their players insured and the school had to take the risk?  Would a parent allow their child to play Pop Warner if the parent had to take all of the injury risk, at least related to head trauma?

We are already seeing the NCAA and NFL try to incrementally solve the problem with rule changes.  How far can they go with the rule changes before the product is damaged in a way that customers lose interest in attending games or watching on TV?  Attendance is already down for a number of reasons but taking too much of the excitement out of the games will exacerbate the drop.

The debate we see on this website with respect to this issue highlights these choices.  There are those who are pragmatic and say that safety has to be improved and others who don't like change and want the game to stay the way it is.  See the topic today with respect to kickoff changes. 

Me personally, I see this as a one way highway heading towards more and more safety to satisfy the lawyers and insurance companies.  My personal opinion is irrelevant.  I can accept the changes and still watch or if I cannot accept them my only choice will be to stop watching.

69 in 18

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

Well-said, NPF, and I think you've zeroed in on at least a couple of threats to the future of American football.

  I can accept the changes and still watch or if I cannot accept them my only choice will be to stop watching.

The third option could be that the sport of American football becomes extinct and we can no longer play or watch it altogether.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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NewPhilaFan's picture

Well, I think the cause of extinction would not be a cataclysmic hit by a meteor but simply by fans leaving the game one by one and the game drying up like a plant without enough water.  

As I mentioned regarding the insurance issue, there could be a cataclysmic hit to youth programs and maybe high schools.

69 in 18

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

We had much the same concern in the El Paso ISD where I was a teacher and coach, NPF. Interestingly enough, our district insurer for extra-curricular activities was none other than Nationwide Insurance. I will say the paperwork burden for me as a HC was a huge hassle, as I was responsible for collecting and having on file all necessary forms related to a student-athlete's participation in football at my middle school. At last count before I retired in '09, that tallied at eight (8) separate pieces of crucial info for each player. With +- 50 players, that amounted to a pretty thick binder of of about 400 pages a season. And I was accountable for all of that.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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NewPhilaFan's picture

Wow, that is a lot of work.  Based upon your per hour pay for coaching, I am sure that you didn't do it for the money.

69 in 18

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

For the love of the game, to be sure. And the love of the kids.

Old Coach's saying:

"Those who can't- teach. Those who can't teach- coach. Those who can't teach or coach- administrate.Those who can't teach, coach, or administrate- sell insurance."

;-)

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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NewPhilaFan's picture

As an addendum, I see the NFL as the last stop in this progression since the players are well compensated and in this day and age, they know the risks they are taking.  Even at the pro level, we have seen a number of high profile retirements at a young age of players who say that they don't want the risk.

Colleges will also lag a bit as the players are compensated with an education.  But only a small percentage will ever get paid to play in the NFL.  Will they continue to take the risk.

I believe that the make or break location for the future of football as we know it is the youth leagues and to a lesser extent the high schools.  If the number of participants continue to drop, the pool of players will eventually dry up and that would have a number of impacts at the pro or college level. 

The canary in the coal mine for this issue is the curve tracking the number of youth players below junior high age.  I believe that this issue is going to play out over the next 10-20 years by watching this curve.  In the meantime, the NFL and NCAA will continue with incremental changes in the name of safety that will anger a large portion of the fan base but I accept the fact that this is a one way highway regardless of my personal feelings.

69 in 18

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

Admittedly, this is a dated article, and I'd like to see more recent stats about Pop Warner and Pee Wee football participation declines (if continuing), but here's your "canary in the coal mine":

https://www.cbssports.com/general/news/decline-of-pop-warner-football-doesnt-bode-well-for-nfl/

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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NewPhilaFan's picture

That is a fascinating article.   I too am curious about the trend the past 6 years.  I tried to get more recent data but there are so many sources of data that it is difficult to find a singe consistent measure over time.

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NavyBuckeye91's picture

Harley, here's a few, more recent articles that indicate that the decline in youth football is very real. Some if it is economic, so maybe not all attributable to fears of CTE. But the decline is happening.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-football-youth-decl...

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sports/sd-sp-youth-football-declinin...
(Interesting sidenote about Aaron Hernandez in this article: the most CTE damage scientists have seen in a 27-year old.)

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/youth-tackle-football-declining-health-conc...

The NFHS report that spawned a lot of these articles has some fascinating statistics in it.
https://www.nfhs.org/articles/high-school-sports-participation-increases...

Seven of the top 10 boys sports registered increases from the previous year, led by soccer (9,912), outdoor track and field (9,003), and cross country (8,580). Overall participation for boys in 2016-17 was 4,563,238, an increase of 18,664 from the previous year.

Participation in 11-player football was down 25,901 from the previous year, although the numbers in 6- and 8-player football were up from the 2015-16 season. The overall number of participants in football (6, 8, 9 and 11 player) in 2016-17 was 1,086,748, down 25,503 from the 1,112,251 in the 2015-16 season.

While the number of participants in high school football declined, the number of schools offering the sport increased by 52 schools in 11-player – from 14,047 to 14,099 – and by nine schools in 6-, 8- and 9-player – from 1,349 to 1,358.

HS sports participation for boys was up by almost 20k, but football participation dropped by 25.5k. That's a net of 45.5k participants in other sports from the 2015-16 season to 2016-17.

"You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, & in the manner in which you live.
So, live. Live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight then lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you. "
- Stuart Scott

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

Outstanding research and links, Navy. Your efforts are much appreciated.

The decline in participation in youth football is real and ongoing. The recent articles are proof of that.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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NavyBuckeye91's picture

Another interesting sidenote in the NFHS study is the increase in sports participation by HS girls. Not for nothing but girls' lacrosse is now the 10th most popular sort by participants. And Ohio now eclipses RI, DE and VA in number of lacrosse players, and we're closing in on MD.

"You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, & in the manner in which you live.
So, live. Live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight then lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you. "
- Stuart Scott

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BGSUBucksFan's picture

While the decline in participation in youth football is real, I think it's a reach to fear for a dramatic effect on D1 and NFL football. The article you linked says 10% decline over 3 years while Navy's says 2% over 1 year. I'd be interested to see what age groups are the biggest drops because I'd guess the younger the age, the bigger the drop. Football wasn't even offered before middle school when I played, but now it is likely due to the popularity of the sport. If those age groups cease to exist (again), the effect won't be dramatic. And whether it's 2% or 10%, that doesn't mean we're seeing a 10% decline in top talent. I'd be surprised if that even meant 1% drop in talent.

Let's keep in mind that we'd have to get back to a pre-1970s state of football for it to not be the most popular sport in America. Do you think that's where we're headed? I don't.

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

Let's keep in mind that we'd have to get back to a pre-1970s state of football for it to not be the most popular sport in America. Do you think that's where we're headed? I don't.

I've no idea. I haven't as yet declared the extinction of the sport of American football, but it is facing serious cultural, legal, and health challenges now and into the future, and those concerns aren't going away, at least by my reckoning.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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NavyBuckeye91's picture

I see this issue being driven more and more by insurance companies and lawyers.

This may be what actually finishes the game off.  Especially if the litigation moves from the NFL, to colleges, even down to public school systems, then to the manufacturers of 'safety' equipment like helmets, which are supposed to help mitigate the effects of impacts.

In the 60's & 70's, general aviation (Cessna, et al) was crushed by countless product liability suits filed by widows of dead airplane enthusiasts. It got so bad that the federal government had to step in and enact a new law in 1994, the General Aviation Revitalization Act.

"You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, & in the manner in which you live.
So, live. Live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight then lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you. "
- Stuart Scott

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BUCKEYE3M's picture

When you engage in inherently dangerous activity, there is associated risk that you assume.  

Who do I get to sue when my son develops CTE from the hundreds of headers he's taken in soccer?

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65 Toss Power Trap's picture

Asking the lawyers out there. Can we solve some or most of the problem with the "planned destruction of collision sports" with a simple waiver signed by each parent, every year, releasing any and all organizations and their coaches/ administrators....from any fault...now and in the future.?

Something like "you're kid may receive injuries that are harmful to him/her long term."

Do waivers equal in to the discussion.?

Knowledge is Power

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NewPhilaFan's picture

A very interesting question 65.  I am not a lawyer so I can't answer from that standpoint, however, let's assume for a minute that a waiver would cover the legal liability for an organization by shifting the risk to the player. 

The next question is insurance although in this case the coverage is setup more for acute injuries, not chronic long term injuries.  How could coverage be defined in a way that once again shifted the risk to the player.

Finally, would parents be willing to sign such a starkly worded waiver?  My guess is that some would and some wouldn't but I wouldn't hazard a guess as to what percentage would be in each of the choices. 

The waiver issue seems like a parallel to the warnings on tobacco packaging.  Folks willingly continued to smoke despite the warnings.  Smoking overall is down in the past 30-40 years but there are still a substantial number of folks who smoke.  What is different in the football waiver situation is that you as a parent are signing a waiver that potentially effects your child in the future.

The comparison between tobacco and football is most closely aligned for NFL players as they are consenting adults who can choose what risks to accept.  The parallel probably works well also for NCAA players as most are 18 or older and thus don't need someone to sign for them.  As mentioned in the previous paragraph, when signing a waiver for a dependent, the parallel is not so clear.

69 in 18

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analyticalguy's picture

Who does a former child/player (or widow) sue when he develops CTE years later, and his parents have signed the waiver? His parents? Or does he  still have some claim against the league/team/school, or equipment manufacturers? Or perhaps the entities (NFL, NCAA, television networks) who popularized the sport? Or government entities who didn't step in to ban/regulate the use of those waivers, or minors playing the game. I'm sure there will be some interesting legal theories rolled out before we've heard the end of this, whether or not someone tries the use of waivers.

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NorCal Buckeye's picture

Interesting question - I wondered the same thing.

A related question would be whether it's ok for a parent to accept it for the kid, who cannot make a fully informed choice themself until theyre older. Imagine the kids perspective when they get older and wish a different choice was made. Potential kid-parent lawsuits? Interesting questions on Dad's Day.

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NewPhilaFan's picture

You raise an interesting question, NorCal.  Lots of food for thought in this issue.

69 in 18

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NorCal Buckeye's picture

It's front and center in my mind on Dad's Day, but I'd rather my boys be salty as a kiddo that they can't play football than see the damages it can (will) cause.

Plenty of other fine sports and activities that don't have the same risk. We can always watch our favorite (non)local team on Saturday mornings and go play some baseball/golf/basketball/etc, ride mountain bikes, hike, surf or camp in the afternoon.

Besides, Mrs NC has the final say in the matter and I know her position... :)

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Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Every cause of action also has defenses. Now that the dangers are known to the general public, the defense of assumption of the risk is potentially applicable in cases in which the activity began after the danger had become common knowledge. Waivers can be helpful but are not a panacea. Education, regulatory changes and more efficacious safety gear are all being implemented at every level to to keep sports viable.

Bobbing for french fries.

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65 Toss Power Trap's picture

Thanks to all you guys for some interesting points/positions.

What about the CTE causes with other long term childhood activities?  Injuries suffered by said child because of other risky behavior? Maybe the CTE was caused on the playground everyday for 10 years, not football related situations.

What if the youngster plays football for 8 years and does BMX, Skateboarding and Parkour also?

Where do the hundreds of collisions happening with those more dangerous activities, with the same frequency (childhood years) add in ??.

(In my day ........what about my whole neighborhood crew of kids 8-13 years old...who used to climb our neighbors tree to get apples.....then fall and hit our head while doing so?)

Can't folk then sue Parkour, BMX ..and my nice neighbor Pete who let us eat his apples......too? Should we then not prosecute the grade school teacher as well for letting "little Johnny" to get knocked to the ground during a lunchtime game of Fox and Geese (sharks and Minnows)? 

When does it end?...

I guess the final question is....which activity caused the final blow to the head, which tipped the scale to from being a normal guy who played football (and there are millions of us over many decades).....and those handful of our teammates...who now are committing suicide and wake up unhappy most days..

Knowledge is Power

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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Skunk bear blood's picture

Very sad indeed GTH.  Saw the interview of his parents this morning on the news. 

Buy the ticket take the ride.

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

The evidence is piling up, Blood. To paraphrase the late Carl Sagan, we're in the midst of a grand experiment with our brains, and nobody can say where it's going or what the outcome will be.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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BGSUBucksFan's picture

Seems eerily similar to Karageorge, neither of whom were starters. I think that certainly speaks to the prevalence of CTE among football players. 

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

IIRC, BGSU, some speculation on Kosta's brain injuries also pointed to his time as a wrestler. Heads butt a lot in that sport as well.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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BGSUBucksFan's picture

Yep, you recall correctly. Also goes to show that football shouldn't be singled out like it is, but I suppose someone has to be first!

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BUCKEYE3M's picture

What about soccer players?  Basketball players catch elbows.  People get in car accidents.

Is this really a football problem, or are we on the emerging edge of brain trauma discovery, and football is the scapegoat?  Granted, football and the hits could certainly exacerbate the issue, but are we looking at all of the possibilities, or just the one that fits in the box the best?  Just a thought.

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RCRoy45's picture

I agree... or Hockey.. I can't believe CTE is an issue there with all the brawlers who were part of that sport for decades and no helmets at all... 

“And in the night of death, hope sees a star and listening love hears the rustle of a wing.”

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FunkyWorm's picture

Pro Wrestling as well.  All the bumps they take night in and night out 

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

Is this really a football problem, or are we on the emerging edge of brain trauma discovery, and football is the scapegoat?

The only way to broaden the scope of scientific discovery with CTE research is getting the brains of as many at-risk athletes and examining them for signs of the disease, by my estimation, 3M. I'm no researcher myself, so I don't know how that might be accomplished. It's either that, or find some non-invasive way to diagnose CTE while a potential sufferer is still alive.

I wouldn't characterize American football as a scapegoat, per se. But the greatest attention- and alarm- has been raised in regards to this particular sport and its inherent hazards of play.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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BrewinBuckFan's picture

The act of playing football results in hits to the head inherently on nearly every play, especially along the lines.  The act of playing basketball or baseball or driving a car does not do that.  Compare how many hits LBJ takes to the head in the course of a season versus even the most protected position like QB.  Also, if you experience blows to the head most of the time you drive then I'd suggest you aren't doing it right and probably should not be driving.

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RCRoy45's picture

if the younger son continues to play football through college.. something is very fi$hy with this all... I mean right?  no way the younger one could continue his career no matter if he is an Elite 11 QB (which he is)... too dangerous ... right?

“And in the night of death, hope sees a star and listening love hears the rustle of a wing.”

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LeftCoastBuckeye's picture

I noticed that story as well, and popped over here to see if there was a thread.  Naturally, 11W was on top of it.

Really tragic story about Hilinski.  I wonder if he had a history of concussions, or whether his condition resulted from the cumulative effect of the countless smaller hits that are inevitable with years of practice and playing?  I would hope that Wazzu or someone would do a study to see what conclusions can be reached.  

I can hardly imagine what his parents are going through now, with their other son Ryan heading off to South Carolina to play the same position.  I gather from that video clip that wish that he wouldn't play, but are letting him make his own decision.  That would be a tough call!

From the fact that I'm here, it's obvious that I really like football, but it's getting harder and harder to rationalize the long term consequences to the kids that play.  My son loves the game, and just finished his latest season of flag football last week, but there is no way that he is going to play tackle while in grade school.  If he is still interested by the time he gets to high school, I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

My aim, then, is to whip the Weasels, to humble their pride, to follow them to their inmost recesses, and make them fear and dread us. Fear is the beginning of wisdom.   - William Tecumseh Sherman (with apologies)

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Hovenaut's picture

Very sad.

The Mrs is against the lad playing tackle football (he's in flag, and can play through middle school before leaving the sport or going to pads), and I've been open to leaving the decision to him when he is ready.

The more I read about CTE the more I become hesitant to simply allow him to play.

There are already kids my son's age playing tackle football...a decade ago I wouldn't have batted an eye at that. Now I can't see letting anyone take up the sport until their mid-teens.

I'm not around that much, running exhausted and lost...

HS
RCRoy45's picture

IMHO - I think the younger the kid starts - the better the tackle fundamentals are - the number of kids this age with CTE I would imagine is extremely low - of course we were blessed with two daughters.. as apparently God didn't want me divorced over this issue... so I don't have to deal with it firsthand..  from my older days coaching young kids - from age 8-11 I don't remember huge concussion generating hits...  now high school kids are much bigger than ever before so the intensity of those hits I think are quite larger...  

from age 8-11 kids can learn proper fundamentals and technique... eliminating this would lead to a further increase in unsafe hits and injuries.  Imgine if kids couldn't take up golf till high school.. think of those formative years learning the skills being lost.. 

I really think it is a straw dog to eliminate youth tackle football until high school or middle school...it's 1000% political... if this is the case then ballet should be banned till high school because of all the damage it does to the growing joint and muscle system...  I think the answer is to take some positions such as QB and maybe WR or one of the WR slots and make it a flag football position.. (down by flag pull rather than tackle) so players could rotate in and out of those positions and the QB would be strictly off limits for accelerated contact... then allow more contact from the defense on pass routes as a way to level the playing field... 

Just my two cents...  

“And in the night of death, hope sees a star and listening love hears the rustle of a wing.”

HS
Hovenaut's picture

There's arguments for and against - I can see how learning proper fundamentals earlier can be advantageous, but you still have an earlier risk of contact.

I won't go down the political route, but will agree on the socio-economic influences that lead to schools/local admin decisions on what's allowed where/when.

I played tackle football for 10 years - 8 to 18, ending with a knee jury my senior year. I was depressed about having the game taken away from me for years, but now I look back and wonder.
 

I'm not around that much, running exhausted and lost...

HS
BUCKEYE3M's picture

I read a great article years ago that said doctors were conducting baseline, then annual, cognitive testing on a large group of kids beginning at age 8.  The goal was to see how their cognitive skills were impacted, if at all, as they played football thru age 18.  The article talked about how a hit that we see as meek and mild on an 8 year old is very violent to an 8 year old's brain, just as a Hines Ward slobber knocker was to an adult brain.

I don't know what became of the study, or if it's even survived over the years.  But, I think this is a sure-fire way to see what the outward impact is from those internal injuries. I hope that it continued, and soon we'll get to see a sampling of the results.

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Hovenaut's picture

Yeah, there has to be data out there...and it's still likely a drop in the bucket as to fully understanding how to best safeguard against potential damage.

My wife is steadfast, and we're nowhere close to having to decide (the lad isn't beating down the door insisting to play).

What I'm struggling with is fear of the unknown, the future. I can remember (because I deal with directly) the physical injuries I sustained while playing - right knee is probably gone within a decade, some misshapen knuckles, other scars - but unsure of the mental injuries. Because I don't remember ever being diagnosed for a concussion, although I have memories of having my bell rung/getting smelling salts, etc.

And I'll still be a fan of the sport as long as I live.

I'm not around that much, running exhausted and lost...

HS
RCRoy45's picture

I was at a local grocery store the other day and for some strange reason they had on New Zealand rugby or Austrailian Rules Football or some such thing.  The stadium was packed and the crowd was going crazy and the announcers were very much into the action. At that moment I had a huge epiphany - we are never going to get rid of football here in the US... there is way too much money and love and passion involved in it.  It may take on a very different form with little or no padding or no helmets or just no kickoffs but the game will never go away.  I think we are headed quickly towards some major retooling.. eliminating kickoffs is first.. I would personally eliminate the hard football helmet.. or at the very least make it more like a hockey helmet for protection rather than a battering ram weapon.  Tackling may only be allowed below the waist.. who knows.. but I just don't see the day that the game is eliminated or wiped out.  

Here in Northern Virginia my understanding is that numbers actually went up in the spring and they were totally at capacity ... but you won't see that reported in the news.. and it's all relative.. if baseline numbers dropped over the past 3-5 years.. any increase would reflect growth but not to previous levels..  

Ohio State's recent recruiting seems to indicate to me the numbers in Ohio are shrinking to the point where we need to set up strong bases in Texas and Florida for a larger number of our recruits... It's all very curious..  I'm sure more studies will come out with the same conclusions... I think the next pivot point is when the football side comes up with more changes and see how those play out

“And in the night of death, hope sees a star and listening love hears the rustle of a wing.”

HS
Skunk bear blood's picture

Along with prevention, detection in the living would be crucial as in any injury. Last year there was quite a bit of buzz over linking elevated levels of two brain proteins, neurofilament light and tau in the living with the onslaught of CTE.  I goggled around a bit and could not locate anything current.  Hopefully science and medicine will create a simple test that can be administered to the living prior to any significant / severe damage occurring.

https://www.medpagetoday.com/Neurology/GeneralNeurology/68611?xid=nl_mpt_DHE_2017-10-18&eun=g42534d0r&pos=1

Buy the ticket take the ride.

HS
GrandTheftHarley's picture

Adding this link from DJ's Skully this morning. More evidence for the case of sports-related CTE.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/19/well/heading-soccer-ball-children-kids-concussion-brain.html?partner=socialflow&smtyp=cur&smid=tw-nytmag

From the article:

The youngsters took a series of cognitive tests and were then outfitted with a specialized headband that recorded head movements and related impacts while they played. Most of the children wound up heading the ball at least once over the course of three games. Data from the headbands indicates their brains were subjected to acceleration forces ranging from 16 to 60 Gs. In adult players, 60 Gs during heading would be considered forceful enough to cause a concussion, although none of the children in the study received a concussion diagnosis. Most of the impacts were what researchers call “subconcussive,” or below the 60 G threshold.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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BGSUBucksFan's picture

I think we're just at the onset of discovering just how fragile our brains actually are. Will be interesting to see where it takes us as a society, not just in sport.

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

 Will be interesting to see where it takes us as a society, not just in sport.

Thanks, BGSU. I'll let that be my segue into linking a related issue with CTE, and that is how it will affect the game of American football. This bit of news has to do with the NFL rule change on helmet-to-helmet contact.

From the article by Mike Freeman:

The new helmet rule, announced earlier this year, continues to cause headaches—even though there are currently no games being played and this is the NFL's dead season. Deadspin and Pro Football Talk both did pieces examining the new rule this week, but it actually isn't getting enough attention from football fans this offseason. Except for nerds like me.

That's because the rule will force the NFL to face a level of uncertainty it hasn't seen in decades.

No one can say what NFL football will look like next season. Not the players. Not the coaches. Not the league. Not the media. No one.

https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2783289-new-helmet-rule-could-make-nfl-unrecognizable?utm_source=cnn.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=editorial

Note: I've decided for now to just keep pasting any CTE-related articles I find onto this posting in an effort to consolidate the information. But any 11W member is welcome to create a specific post of my findings, if desired.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

These were related NFL-rule links in the Freeman article:

https://deadspin.com/how-the-nfls-new-helmet-rule-could-change-football-as-w-1826535363

https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/06/27/more-confusion-regarding-the-new-helmet-rule/

I think we may be on the cusp of a radical change to the game of American football.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

HS
GrandTheftHarley's picture

Here's a damning look at FIFA and their head-in-the-sand approach to concussions:

https://www.yahoo.com/sports/soccers-concussion-problem-exposed-world-cup-semifinal-203735817.html

From the article:

FIFA has turned a blind eye to traumatic brain injuries for years. It has concussion protocol. But nobody follows it. And FIFA doesn’t punish teams when they don’t.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

HS
GrandTheftHarley's picture

UNC's Larry Fedora and his take on the future of football as it relates to CTE:

https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/19/health/larry-fedora-unc-cte-football/index.html

From the article:

"I fear the game will be pushed so far to one extreme that you won't recognize the game 10 years from now. And I do believe that if it gets to that point, that our country goes down, too," he said.
Fedora said he's not convinced a link between chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, and football has been proven, according to CNN affiliate WTVD.
"I can take the data and I can make it look one way, and you can take the data and make it look another way, and whoever is presenting it is the one that gets the say-so," he said.
 

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

HS
kmp10's picture

...and experts have come out in support of Fedora since his comments. 

Here's one...

I totally agree with him,” says Peter Cummings, a neuropathologist and associate professor of anatomy and neurobiology at Boston University School of Medicine. “Association is not causation. CTE has also been found in individuals not exposed to contact sports. It’s not a settled matter by any means. And football is safer today than it has ever been. In fact, I would argue that no other sport has made a more radical transformation in response to safety concerns than football. His comments reflect the reality of the scientific uncertainty surrounding CTE.”

...and

"What he suggested is what dozens of respected doctors are saying: the onslaught of negative media coverage has skewed the reality."

...and 

"Studies expressing caution about “settled” assumptions regarding CTE are largely ignored by the media – a mere speed bump on the way to the inevitable conclusion that football kills. Only a couple of weeks ago, two leading CTE researchers came out with a study that said this: “Recently there has been a significant amount of media attention surrounding the commonness of CTE in professional athletes, particularly American football, based on several postmortem case series. However, despite the persuasive claims made by the media about CTE, research on the disease and the effects of mTBI [mild traumatic brain injury] in general remain in its infancy.”

The study goes on to state that “clinical analysis of CTE cases are fragmented, making potential risk factors for developing CTE impossible to determine with confidence. Despite these limitations, media coverage of CTE is giving the impression that developing symptomatic CTE is almost inevitable if you are a long-term contact sports player.”

Most members of the media do not quote these experts, or even seek comment from them."

The CTE movement is being driven by a click-baiting, agenda-driven media and swallowed hook, line, and sinker by a generation of people (millennials). Football, as it's always been, is a dangerous, rough sport, but if CTE secondary to football were the foregone conclusion that some would have you believe then there would be hundreds of thousands of American men walking around suicidal... except there aren't. 

When I die, sprinkle my ashes over the 70's 

HS
GrandTheftHarley's picture

Hmm. Seems like the issue has become politicized much like everything else in this country. That, or there's a skewed approach to the science behind it all. Perhaps there's even a counter narrative being pushed on the issue, much like Big Tobacco did back in the day to try and convince the public that cigarettes didn't kill people.

However, despite the persuasive claims made by the media about CTE, research on the disease and the effects of mTBI [mild traumatic brain injury] in general remain in its infancy.”

This much of your quoted material I can agree with. In the meantime, we're performing a vast experiment with the developing brains of our young people, and so far we haven't the foggiest what the end result might be.

Thanks for your views and adding to the discussion, Kmp10.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

HS
kmp10's picture

In the meantime, we're performing a vast experiment with the developing brains of our young people, and so far we haven't the foggiest what the end result might be.

But, that 'experiment' has been ongoing for a century, and the results simply do not validate the implication... that one can connect the dots between football and CTE. Again, there would massive numbers of suicidal American men walking the streets this very moment if the doomsday, anti-football crowd were right. I played organized, tackle football from age 10 through high school, and while I have orthopedic issues I have no neurological issues to speak of. None of the guys I know who played football, some at FBS level schools, suffer neurologically. For every Dave Duerson there are 100+ players who are neurologically fine... and they played the game long before the current safety measures were in place. 

When I die, sprinkle my ashes over the 70's 

HS
GrandTheftHarley's picture

Again, there would massive numbers of suicidal American men walking the streets this very moment if the doomsday, anti-football crowd were right.

Suicidal thoughts (and the terminal result) aren't the only symptoms, to be sure. Quoting from that same Boston University:

The repeated brain trauma triggers progressive degeneration of the brain tissue, including the build-up of an abnormal protein called tau. These changes in the brain can begin months, years, or even decades after the last brain trauma or end of active athletic involvement. The brain degeneration is associated with common symptoms of CTE including memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, suicidality, parkinsonism, and eventually progressive dementia.

I played football in middle and high school, and got my bell rung a few times. But I also suffered minor head injuries in falls, in fistfights, in the Army, and hang gliding. So I'm not necessarily suggesting football is the root- or only possible cause- of CTE, or that me and you are guaranteed to develop CTE. But the evidence is being gathered, and it suggests the risks are higher for the disease for those who played the game. Even if only 1% of participants are so afflicted (and I believe that the percentage is higher), is that a risk worth taking? Some may say yes; others, no.

http://www.bu.edu/cte/about/frequently-asked-questions/

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

HS
kmp10's picture

I hear you, GTH. I'd say that there are all kinds of physical risks associated with activities/sports. UFC, motocross, boxing, ice hockey, bull riding, SOCCER, etc., have associated inherent risks, but they aren't being attacked like football because "CTE" is the disease/cause of the day and because of a few high profile suicides. Boxing has very high rates of brain disease among its participants. Listen to Ali, Holmes, Spinks, Frazier, Leonard, et al., speak... they all have/had neurological issues to varying degrees, but boxing isn't under attack like football. The media found a crack and they're running wild with half-truths and exaggerations, and a large portion of younger members of society are eating it up. I can find statistics that show over 90% of boxers suffer brain damage over the course of their career, or that there is a 75% chance of getting a concussion in soccer, the sport darling of young moms everywhere. I believe professional cycling has more casualties than any other sport. So, is that a risk worth taking? Football is being attacked, and there are all sorts of reasons why. Some have merit and are worthy of further investigation/discussion, while others are bullshit. 

When I die, sprinkle my ashes over the 70's 

HS
GrandTheftHarley's picture

As always, there's the hype. There's the unknown. And somewhere in between is the truth. If the game we love is under the microscope, hopefully it's for a good cause.

I personally think the sport of American football will survive. It may yet undergo a kind of Teddy Roosevelt oversight and modification, and it might not be quite the same game we currently enjoy, but I don't think it will disappear entirely. There will always be young men of physical prowess and courage who will don the uniform for the foreseeable future. And that gives this Buckeye fan a good feeling.

Wishing you continued good mental and physical health in the years to come, Kmp10.

P.S.- I'll continue to add relevant linked articles on CTE as they appear. I generally present them with minimal comment, and encourage the kind of discussion we've been doing.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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kmp10's picture

Thank you, GTH. Same to you... and I really enjoy the debate / discussion. Thanks for posting. 

When I die, sprinkle my ashes over the 70's 

HS
GrandTheftHarley's picture

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

HS
GrandTheftHarley's picture

This in the news today on CTE. A different perspective for the record.

From the article:

"I don't think it's been proven that the game of football causes CTE. We don't really know that," Larry Fedora, the University of North Carolina's head football coach, told reporters in July. "Are there chances for concussions? Of course. There are collisions. But the game is safer than it's ever been."

"I totally agree with him," Dr. Peter Cummings, a forensic pathologist and neuropathologist, said days after Fedora's remarks. "Association is not causation. CTE has also been found in individuals not exposed to contact sports. It’s not a settled matter by any means."

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/sports/despite-evidence-skeptics-try-cast-doubt-cte-football-link-n897416

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

HS
GrandTheftHarley's picture

Here's another article regarding the NCAA lawsuits on CTE. What I found a bit startling was former Buckeye- and brother to Archie- Ray's Griffin's comments.

From the article:

Former Ohio State and Cincinnati Bengals player Ray Griffin said the hundreds of hits he took in the 1970s left him cognitively impaired.

"We gave up our futures for them. We gave up our brains for them," Griffin said.

"So what did they tell you about concussions in college?" Werner asked.

"They told us nothing about concussions in college," Griffin responded.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ncaa-wrongful-death-lawsuits-cte-head-injuries/

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

HS
bd2999's picture

I am more surprised that people are surprised that guys can get brain injuries at any level of football, not just if they play pro. High school kids can very much start messing up their brains and heads pretty early on or earlier. Even if it is not tramatic micro injuries can build up over time.

At least in the NFL the guys are making millions of dollars and are more aware now. In college, they are playing for an education but that may be trickier if you are hurting your brain in the process. Is the trade off worth it? Was the NCAA or other programs honest with what was known at the time and tried to protect their players?

This sort of thing is only going to become more frequent.

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BRO-DUDE's picture

No, this notion of hyper reaction and panic is a false premise. Its a lot of fake news.

Kids at pee-wee/middle/high school level aren’t at the same risk level as college and NFL, due to the inferior speed/strength/velocity/ centrifugal force involved.

HS
NavyBuckeye91's picture

Well, actually, that's not entirely true.  Because of the number of neural pathways the brain develops in teen years (HS and college), there is significant evidence that damage during these years is more significant and more damaging over time.

"You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, & in the manner in which you live.
So, live. Live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight then lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you. "
- Stuart Scott

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allinosu's picture

I played pee wee to HS and I don't know how anyone could distinguish head trauma (if I had it)between football and the several bicycle wrecks, falling off one of our horses or out of a tree or roller and skateboard falls or everyday being a kid. Truth is I had far more trauma just being a kid than I ever did playing football.

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BGSUBucksFan's picture

Playing baseball in my backyard, chasing a pop up, I ran full speed into my neighbor's gas tank, head smashed into the nozzle. Staples in my head and had to be the most head trauma I've ever had, football included. I think with football it's more about the amount of minor trauma incidents as opposed to the severity of any single incident. I think we simply don't know all that much about head trauma and the long-term effects. I'm not sure we want to know, either. We'll all be walking around with personal helmets at that point.

HS
allinosu's picture

WOW, that sounds bad. My point was just rising our bikes down lovers leap busting my ass and several bloody noses along with street football on a daily basis and the many other times we all ended up with black eyes and bruises, I don't know how you can prove it was football. Hell just trying to master riding my bike on one wheel I hit my head several several times.

HS