Friday, April 13, 2018

How the NFL is Dealing with CTE and Sports Injuries

How the NFL is Dealing with CTE and Sports Injuries


    In 2009, GQ writer Jeanne Marie Laskas reported on the rash of suicide deaths among veteran NFL players with symptoms of CTE (Chronic traumatic encephalopathy). Laskas’ article introduced the public to Dr. Bennet Omalu, a Pittsburgh area neuropathologist, and his struggle against the NFL to publish his findings on CTE. She expanded on this story with her 2015 bestseller, Concussion, which soon became a movie starring Will Smith.
    Two years have passed since the book and movie. The NFL still feels the burn even now. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the “Play Smart, Play Safe” initiative which pledged $100 million dollars toward making the game safer for players. The rulebook was then amended to outlaw head-to-head tackles. Discussions have also been held over implementing “synthetic turf” designed to reduce ground contact. The NFL has even begun funding research into the field of athletic induced cases of CTE. This may sound promising except the study is focused on horse jockeys, and only jockeys.
    This study is headed by Dr. Michael Turner, medical director of the International Concussion and Head Injury Research Foundation. Dr. Turner’s studies have drawn skepticism not only due to the differences in sport, but also his unorthodox attitude towards the issue. His scientific presentations are considered “lively.” He commonly showcases a highlight reel of sports injuries set to laugh tracks and cartoon noises.
    While Dr. Turner was showcasing his “funniest” home videos, Dr. Omalu went public with the first living patient diagnosed with CTE. Former Minnesota Vikings linebacker, Fred McNeill, was confirmed to have had CTE following his death at the age of 63. He was also diagnosed with Lou Gerhig’s disease and had also suffered from dementia, one of many symptoms associated with CTE.
    A study conducted by The Journal of The American Medical Association (JAMA) surveyed a sampling of 202 brains donated from American football players; that number includes non or semi-pro football players. From those donors they found 99% of them to be CTE positive. When presented this information the NFL reiterated their previous statements on the issue.     
    Sports injuries, such as fractured ankles, worn out knees, or even muscle spasms in back, are usually quick to spot and treatments are readily available. CTE, on the other hand, is like a killer in disguise. You think it is one thing, but you never find out until it’s too late.
    The rate of concussions in the NFL has spiked to nearly 300 cases in 2017 alone. And that’s just from practice runs. Since New England Patriots tight end, Rob Gronkowski, was cleared to play in the Super Bowl despite his concussion, one has to wonder how much the NFL is willing to do stem the tide of concussion related disabilities.
    In an article about JAMA’s findings for The Institute for Public Relations, Timothy Coombs wrote that the cure is more than money. “The NFL can afford to pay for its CTE liabilities. What the NFL can’t afford is a crisis that drives fans from the game.”
As always keep it southern y'all!

  

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