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My Dinner With Andre

CTE could end the game of Football as we know it

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As for the physics of OJ's big head adding to potential damage...

Which side of a head-on collision would you like to be on...a mid 70's Cadillac, or a Smart Car w/no air bags??

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We know Dorsett has documented CTE, do most would guess OJ might.

So why bring up OJ if you are not going to claim it caused his criminal behavior? Because Omalu is every bit intoxicated with media attention as the people he says are "intoxicated with football"

With what we're learning about CTE I would be surprised if any NFL RB who played more than a few years didn't have it, at least in some form

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Wow. Curtis Martin -- 3500 career carries -- boxes for excercise, sparring 30 rounds a week.

Talk about throwing caution to the wind. Must have exceptional genes.

Edited by My Dinner With Andre

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In news that should shock no one:

http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/15667689/congressional-report-finds-nfl-improperly-intervened-brain-research-cost-taxpayers-16-million

WASHINGTON -- At least a half-dozen top NFL health officials waged an improper, behind-the-scenes campaign last year to influence a major U.S. government research study on football and brain disease, congressional investigators have concluded in a new report.

The 91-page report describes how the NFL pressured the National Institutes of Health to strip the $16 million project from a prominent Boston University researcher and tried to redirect the money to members of the league's committee on brain injuries. The study was to have been funded out of a $30 million "unrestricted gift" the NFL gave the NIH in 2012.

After the NIH rebuffed the NFL's campaign to remove Robert Stern, an expert in neurodegenerative disease who has criticized the league, the NFL backed out of a signed agreement to pay for the study, the report shows. Taxpayers ended up bearing the cost instead.

The NFL's actions violated policies that prohibit private donors from interfering in the NIH peer-review process, the report concludes, and were part of a "long-standing pattern of attempts" by the league to shape concussion research for its own purposes.

"In this instance, our investigation has shown that while the NFL had been publicly proclaiming its role as funder and accelerator of important research, it was privately attempting to influence that research," the report states.

Democratic members of the House Committee on Energy and Commercelaunched the investigation in December after Outside the Lines reported that the NFL backed out of the seven-year study, which aims to find methods for detecting -- in living patients -- chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a disease found in dozens of deceased NFL players.

The report, first obtained by Outside the Lines, also shows:

• The co-chairman of the NFL's committee on brain injuries, Dr. Richard Ellenbogen, was one of the league's "primary advocates" opposing Stern, even though Ellenbogen had applied for the same grant and stood to benefit personally. Ellenbogen previously denied to Outside the Lines that he tried to influence the NIH, but the report sharply criticizes his actions.

• The NFL was warned that taxpayers would have to bear the cost of the $16 million study and that the NIH would be "unable to fund other meritorious research for several years" if the league backed out. The NFL offered a last-minute $2 million payment after an intermediary suggested a partial contribution would "help dampen criticism." The NIH turned down the offer.

• Even after an NIH review panel upheld the award to Stern, the NFL sought to funnel the $16 million to another project that would involve members of the league's brain injury committee. The plan would have allowed the NFL researchers to avoid the NIH's rigorous peer-review process. NIH Director Francis Collins rejected the idea.

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-New Jersey, told Outside the Lines that the NFL's attempts to influence the NIH threatened to compromise the integrity of the research.

"Once you get anybody who's heavily involved with the NFL trying to influence what kind of research takes place, you break that chain that guarantees the integrity, and that's what I think is so crucial here," Pallone said. "Fortunately, the NIH didn't take the bait. It shouldn't be a rigged game. If it is, then people won't really know whether what we're finding through this research is accurate."

The NFL has repeatedly denied that it withheld funding because of objections to Stern, a professor of neurology and neurosurgery and the director of clinical research at Boston University's CTE Center. But in emails and phone calls documented by congressional investigators, league officials said they believed Stern was biased and his selection marred by a conflict of interest because a grant reviewer had previously appeared on a scientific paper with one of Stern's colleagues. The NIH ruled that the allegations were unfounded.

Jeff Miller, NFL executive vice president of health and safety, told investigators that the NFL voiced its concerns through appropriate channels and believed it had done nothing out of the ordinary.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy on Monday said: "We are reviewing the report but categorically reject any suggestion of improper influence."

However, Dr. Walter Koroshetz, who directs the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke for the NIH, described the NFL's campaign as unprecedented, telling investigators he "was aware of no other instance" in which a private donor attempted to intervene in the NIH grant selection process.

"They wanted to look like the good guy, like they were giving money for this research," said Pallone, the ranking member on the Energy and Commerce Committee. "But as soon as they found out that it might be somebody who they don't like who's doing the research, they were reneging on their commitment, essentially."

According to a five-page research plan provided in the report, the NFL agreed to the objectives of the CTE study in July 2014 and committed $16,325,242 -- nearly the entire budget. The document was signed by NFL general counsel Jeff Pash, along with representatives of the NIH and the Foundation for the NIH (FNIH), a non-profit organization. In addition to raising money, the FNIH was created by Congress to help preserve the independence of the NIH, the nation's largest biomedical institution.

The report indicates the FNIH "failed" in that role, which resulted in the NFL "circumventing appropriate protocols of communication, attempting to influence NIH's selection of grant recipients and ultimately violating its obligation to provide funding for that grant." The FNIH had no immediate comment Monday.

The NFL first registered its concerns in spring 2015, after the NIH notified Stern that his group had been selected. As Outside the Lines has previously reported, a competing proposal for the grant was led by Kevin Guskiewicz, a prominent concussion researcher who chairs the NFL's Subcommittee on Safety Equipment and Playing Rules, and included three other NFL advisers, including Ellenbogen.

On June 17, Dr. Elliot Pellman, the NFL medical director who once ran the league's discredited concussion research program, emailed Dr. Maria Freire, FNIH executive director, to say the NFL had "significant concerns [regarding] BU and their ability to be unbiased and collaborative." He asked Freire to "slow down the process until we all have a chance to speak and figure this out."

Freire forwarded the email to Koroshetz.

"Yes, we knew this was coming," Koroshetz replied the next day, according to the report. "Lots of history here. But our process was not tainted and all above board. ... Trouble is of course that the [stern] group is led by people who first broke the science open, and NFL owners and leadership think of them as the creators of the problem."

Less than a week later, the NFL's chief health and medical adviser, Dr. Betsy Nabel, emailed Koroshetz directly. She attached a 61-page affidavit that Stern had submitted in support of players who opposed the settlement of a class action lawsuit against the NFL in 2014.

"I hope this group is able to approach their research in an unbiased manner," Nabel wrote, according to the report.

On June 29, the FNIH arranged a conference call to discuss the NFL's objections. Along with Miller, the report states the NFL was represented by Ellenbogen and Dr. Hunt Batjer -- the co-chairmen of the Head, Neck and Spine Committee, which helps set league concussion policy -- and another committee member, Dr. Mitch Berger. (During Super Bowl week in February, Berger made headlines by saying he did not believe a link had been established between football and brain disease.)

On the conference call, the NFL raised concerns about Stern's alleged bias and the potential conflict of interest during the peer-review process.

Koroshetz told investigators that shortly thereafter, Ellenbogen called back to reiterate that "he could not recommend that the NFL fund the BU study, because he believed that Dr. Stern had a conflict of interest and that the grant application process had been tainted by bias."

Ellenbogen previously denied to Outside the Lines that he was part of any effort by the league to influence funding, saying that he doesn't know Stern "and therefore do not have an opinion of him."

The report is particularly critical of Ellenbogen, who chairs the neurological surgery department at University of Washington, for intervening as both a grant applicant and a representative of the NFL.

"Dr. Ellenbogen is a primary example of the conflicts of interest between his role as a researcher and his role as an NFL adviser," the report states. "He had been part of a group that applied for the $16 million grant. After his group was not selected, Dr. Ellenbogen became one of the NFL's primary advocates in expressing concerns surrounding the process with the BU grant selection. ... This series of events raises significant questions about Dr. Ellenbogen's own bias."

Through last fall, the NIH struggled to find out whether the NFL would honor its commitment to pay for the study.

"Clearly, it would be best if [the NIH] could count on the entire support from the NFL for the CTE project, as originally agreed," Freire wrote Miller on Oct. 19.

In a separate email, she noted, the NFL had put the NIH "in a difficult budgetary situation because this is a very large grant -- a cost that was not expected to be paid by taxpayers' dollars." Using public money would mean the NIH "will be unable to fund other meritorious research for several years."

Freire proposed that the NFL at least pay for the first year.

"Frankly, this would also be an important statement about NFL's commitment to research and will help dampen criticism," she wrote. "We understand that this is a very awkward situation all around, but some level of compromise would be the best possible solution."

Six weeks later, the NIH was still waiting on the league.

In December, days before the study was to be announced, the NFL offered to contribute $2 million, Miller told investigators.

At the same time, the NFL was continuing its efforts to redirect the $16 million to its own researchers, according to the report.

Another member of the Head, Neck and Spine Committee, Dr. Russell Lonser, a former NIH researcher, reached out to a senior NIH official to explore using the $16 million for a project that would involve the same NFL advisers. Under the plan, the researchers would not have been subjected to the NIH's peer-review process.

The report indicates Lonser's actions were "inappropriate" and "in direct contravention of NIH policy prohibiting donor involvement in the grant decision-making process."

The congressional investigators applaud the NIH leadership for maintaining "the integrity of the science and the grant-review process," but it adds that the NIH "may have gone too far in attempting to accommodate the NFL."

The report, which will be distributed to officials with the NFL, the NIH and the FNIH, recommends that the three groups amend their current agreement to ensure that "each party has a clear understanding of its role for the remainder of this partnership." The congressional committee will follow up with the NIH and the FNIH on its recommendations, which include establishing clearer guidelines for donors and communication with NIH officials.

The Stern study, which will include 50 researchers from 17 institutions and hundreds of former college and NFL players who will participate as subjects, officially launches next week in Boston.

Pallone told Outside the Lines the NFL's actions are particularly harmful to the league's players: "It says to them that they really can't trust the NFL to do the right thing."

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said on SportsCenter on Monday that the union decided, years ago, to split from the NFL on such matters because of the league's conflicted history around brain research. He said the league has no commitment to the health and safety of its players.

"It's one of the most troubling and disturbing reports I've seen," Smith said of the Outside the Lines story Monday, adding he wasn't surprised, however. "It reaffirms the fact that the league has its own view about how they care about players in the NFL."

Pallone said he hopes the report will push the league to make changes.

"The history with the league is, if you catch them, then they start to listen," Pallone said.

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Arent they (concussions) potentially an end to many sports?  I know in youth soccer at certain age, heading has been outlawed, baseball and fast pitch softball  have been experiencing concussion issues, especially for catchers on foul tips straight back and jarring the mask.  Other sports with contact, Hockey, Boxing, MMA, etc.  

 

Its not just a football problem.  

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9 minutes ago, parrothead said:

Arent they (concussions) potentially an end to many sports?  I know in youth soccer at certain age, heading has been outlawed, baseball and fast pitch softball  have been experiencing concussion issues, especially for catchers on foul tips straight back and jarring the mask.  Other sports with contact, Hockey, Boxing, MMA, etc.  

 

Its not just a football problem.  

 

Wait,  you can't head the ball in soccer?  

 

Other than mma and boxing I've got to think the concussion rate in the NFL is astronomically higher than in other sports.

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9 minutes ago, parrothead said:

Arent they (concussions) potentially an end to many sports?  I know in youth soccer at certain age, heading has been outlawed, baseball and fast pitch softball  have been experiencing concussion issues, especially for catchers on foul tips straight back and jarring the mask.  Other sports with contact, Hockey, Boxing, MMA, etc.  

 

Its not just a football problem.  

CTE is not synonymous with concussions.  The frequency of heading in soccer may make it more relevant there, but I don't believe head impacts are a dozens of times per game and hundreds of time throughout practices occurrence.  It's the subconcussive impacts to the head that are supposed to be the real issue with CTE (although concussions themselves are nasty). A lineman who never had a concussion in his life can have CTE because his head is constantly getting jarred around blocking, leading to his brain receiving a bunch of small injuries, that is suspected to be the main cause of CTE (at least to the extend of my limited research). 

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A couple of different ways.  First, the popularity of the game could fade due to fewer kids playing it.  Mama's arent going to let their kids play sports that they know will cause them long term brain damage.  Kids will then gravitate to other sports and pay less attention to football. Over a couple generations, other sports will bypass football, as unlikely as it now seems. Football may also face regularity challenges which would dramatically alter, or even outlaw, the game.  It wouldnt be the first time that sports have been legislated out of existence. The NFL has the 800 pound gorilla in the room.  But the government has an interest in ensuring the health of its citizens.  They could absolutely start regulating the game.  Finally, let us not forget the exposure these institutions would have in a court of law.  They could sued out of existence, by huge judgments against them.

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Concussions happen in other sports but aren't necessarily a problem.
Are you going to stop driving because you can get concussed? Are you going to stop ice skating because you might fall and nail your noggin? 
Many sports have about as little risk as this unless you are playing reckless.
I happened to get concussed playing basketball (flipped over trying to block a shot) but I considered many of the things I did as reckless and unnecessary. 

I do agree that it is a huge problem in football and am thankful my parents kept me from trying to be a high school hero and getting mashed potato brain in the process.

Edited by CL3VELANDBR0WNS

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I think football's longevity as America's sport will likely depend on how quickly CTE is determined to have appreciable affects on the brain.  If you have to play 10+ years to have a significant chance of significant effects, I think the sport will be fine. The guys that play that long have financial incentive to continue. If it's linear and starts the moment you start playing tackle, I don't think you'll have a prolonged dying out due to an ever lessening stream on incoming talent.  

 

But it'll be delayed.  Speaking as someone who lives in what is widely considered THE football state, with multi-million dollar high school stadiums, you're going to have a large group of people that simply won't care because they turned out "just fine" playing and are going to emphasize the positive lessons they learned themselves against the potential downsides they never experienced (or won't consider as having experienced).

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CTE is devastating and I feel terrible for anyone who has to go through that and live with it the rest of their lives. I think football has made some strides in concussion prevention and treatment, but obviously there is still a long way to go. 

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It's going to take more than that to end football.  Also, concussions are not the reason behind CTE, it's all of the sub-concussive hits that add up and lead to it.  Football, rugby, boxing, MMA and soccer are all sports that can lead to it.

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1 minute ago, jbshaw said:

I think football's longevity as America's sport will likely depend on how quickly CTE is determined to have appreciable affects on the brain.  If you have to play 10+ years to have a significant chance of significant effects, I think the sport will be fine. If it's linear and starts the moment you start playing tackle, I don't think you'll have a prolonged dying out due to an ever lessening stream on incoming talent.  

 

But it'll be delayed.  Speaking as someone who lives in what is widely considered THE football state, with multi-million dollar high school stadiums, you're going to have a large group of people that simply won't care because they turned out "just fine" playing and are going to emphasize the positive lessons they learned themselves against the potential downsides they never experienced (or won't consider as having experienced).

 

Unless the public starts rejecting football- there will always be opportunities at a life out of reach for most kids.  

 

Its so ingrained into our culture- just don't see it changing regardless of CTE.    For decades at least.

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11 minutes ago, Impreza178 said:

 

Unless the public starts rejecting football- there will always be opportunities at a life out of reach for most kids.  

 

Its so ingrained into our culture- just don't see it changing regardless of CTE.    For decades at least.

Oh, this is definitely a multi generation change you'd be looking at.  Even if your educated upper middle class stops playing entirely and immediately, your poorer income groups are going to still see it as a potential ticket to a life that they think is out of their reach by traditional means (either through the scholarship college education to normal career route or the football career route), regardless of how possible those outcomes really are to the individuals joining up in the first place.  Plus the jocks are always going to be the cool guys.

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Click bait title bro.

 

Why would it end football? Here, sign this waiver and let's play. Problem solved.

 

 

 

 

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For some kids, this is there only shot at a better life or getting out of their situation. The only thing that keeps them in line. There will always be people willing to play football.

Boxing and mma have been around for a long time, and they cause more deliberate hits and knock outs to the head then any other sport. There's been nothing done to stop the sport and there probably never will be.

NFL is at least taking the steps to secure their players the best they can. And as we go on, new technology will be invented. Players are already scared to hit to high and you can see them thinking about it. Concussions are down quite a bit from last year too. Its not a fix, nor is it perfect, but there trying and they may get there one day.

As long as it draws attention and makes money, NFL will be here for a long time.

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2 minutes ago, vikingapocalypse said:

For some kids, this is there only shot at a better life or getting out of their situation. 

 

There's also the military.  Granted, you could end up dead or injured but it is a very real alternative to getting out of a poverty stricken world.  That's the route my Dad took. 

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3 minutes ago, 96mnc said:

 

There's also the military.  Granted, you could end up dead or injured but it is a very real alternative to getting out of a poverty stricken world.  That's the route my Dad took. 

True, and these kids do have other options, but military isnt going to pull you and your whole family out of poverty like the fame and fortune of football. Not to mention, these guys view these players as idols, hear their stories and grow up wanting to be just like them. There will always be kids wanting to play.

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15 minutes ago, vikingapocalypse said:

True, and these kids do have other options, but military isnt going to pull you and your whole family out of poverty like the fame and fortune of football. 

 

No,  it's not a fix for your entire family.  But what it did was get my Dad out of poverty and by extension put me in the fortunate position of not being born into poverty.  Instead I grew up middle class and have the opportunity to move higher up the economic food chain per se.  He broke the cycle.  And that's really the key,  someone has to break the cycle.  

 

Banking on a pro sports career is a very risky proposition.  There are other alternatives.  And the more role models from outside sports these kids see the better their chances.

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