The Dangers of Football

From Melissa Healy, LA Times:

WASHINGTON — A new study of brains donated after death details the degenerative brain disease that afflicted 68 of 85 subjects who suffered multiple concussions during stints in the military or in organized sports. Among the deceased athletes whose brains were examined for the study were NFL Hall of Famers John Mackey, a tight end, and running back Ollie Matson, both of whom died in 2011 of dementia complications.

Among those diagnosed post-mortem as suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, 26 percent were considered suicidal at some point in their lives, and at least seven ultimately took their own lives, the study found. In addition to difficulties with attention, memory and judgment, most of the affected subjects whose brains were examined by experts at Boston University also suffered from explosivity, aggressive tendencies, paranoia and depression.

More than one in three of the people whose brains were examined in the current study also had a diagnosis of another degenerative disease of the brain, including Parkinson’s Disease, Lewy body dementia, motor neuron disease, Alzheimer’s disease or frontotemporal lobar degeneration.

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  • Ted M. Gossard

    Call me whatever (and I’ll try to listen), but this is simply one reason that I can’t remember the last time I watched a football game (been a little while), though I still do root for Ohio State, and I suppose I’ll be paying attention to the last major college game, since Deb is a Notre Dame fan (as well as the bet you have on that game, Scot- Facebook, as I recall, ha).

    If they could protect the heads so that concussions would be rare, than I wouldn’t mind seeing it, as much. I used to love the hard hits, clean ones, years and years back. But not anymore. And to dislike that is to dislike a fundamental aspect of the game. You hit hard, or you don’t win.

  • Joel Shaffer

    Football helmets have vastly improved their protection in order to reduce concussions since John Mackey played in the 1960’s and Ollie Matson played in the 1950’s and 1960’s. I don’t know if this study really helps unless you are talking about players that NFL played during the past 10 years.