It’s football season again, and that means it’s time to talk about head injuries. The New York Times wrote recently about the 5,000 NFL retirees who sued the league for “hiding from them the dangers of concussions.” Most of the plaintiffs have approved a settlement, but a handful are concerned that, “it does not cover future diagnoses of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative neurological condition linked to repeated hits to the head. These players also question how eligibility for payments is calculated, among other issues.”
Similarly, a new study shows that “Eighty-seven of 91 former NFL players who donated their brains to science after death tested positive for a brain disease that is believed to be linked with repeated head trauma and concussions.” The disease? Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE):
The brain tissue of people found to have CTE displays an abnormal build-up of tau — a protein that, when it spills out of cells, can choke off, or disable, neural pathways controlling things like memory, judgment and fear.
While all this is happening, a new movie is coming out, Concussion, starring Will Smith, Alec Baldwin, and Luke Wilson. Says USA Today:
It’s safe to say the NFL won’t be giving Concussion two thumbs up.
With its star cast, big-studio backing and a Christmas Day release, the movie has the potential to do what a Hall of Famer’s suicide, protracted lawsuits and reams of scientific data could not: Present the horrors of football’s concussion crisis in such simple and compelling fashion that no one will ever see the NFL in the same way again.…
Concussion is the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, the pathologist who unearthed the link between football and head trauma. It was Omalu who put a name to the disease that destroyed the brains of countless former players and led Junior Seau and several others to kill themselves.…
The details of Omalu’s story are not new, having been told time and again in interviews for stories, books and documentaries. Nor is the NFL’s callous indifference to the health of its former players a revelation, exposed in court testimony and depositions.
Yet more than a decade after Omalu first discovered chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in the brain of former Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster, setting off the concussion crisis, the NFL is bigger than ever.
We’ll be watching the ongoing discussion of traumatic brain injuries, making sure that the NFL works to keep its players safe. For more information on WSAJ’s dedication to keeping players safe, follow this link to learn about the Lystedt Law to protect youth football players.