TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Posts tagged ‘NFL’

Brain Injury Resources CTE & Football (chronic traumatic encephalopathy )

Brain Injury Resources . . . CTE & Football

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

Brain th-2The regular season of the NFL (National Football League) begins this week. Although American football can be exciting, we in the brain-injury community are very aware of the havoc that both concussive and sub-concussive head impacts play not only on the brain health of the pros, but also on the brain health of college and high school players (1). We are especially sensitive to the high risk of the trusting and still-developing young players in Pop Warner leagues (2, 3).th

There has been a growing public awareness of the brain disease CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), which can develop from hits to the ctehead and lead to “memory loss, confusion, impaired judgement, impulse control problems, aggression, depression and progressive dementia.” Some players have retired early (4, 5). Former players have sued or are suing the NFL (6). There is still a great deal of ignorance about CTE, but much research has been done and is being continued vigorously. This article tells us some basic facts that we should know.

Here is a brief outline from the article:

“Concussions in the NFL are more widespread than we thought

“An estimated 96 percent of deceased NFL players had CTE

“Researchers are working on a test for living players

“The NFL has donated $0 to this important new brain injury study”

I urge you to read the article for the details.

 

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

 

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SPEAK OUT! NewsBit: . . . . . . Wanting A “Sound Mind,” 30-Year-Old Football Player Retires

Wanting A “Sound Mind,” 30-Year-Old Football Player Retires

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

husain_abdullah

Husain Abdullah – NFL Player

For seven years, Husain Abdullah played football in the National Football League (NFL), the premier professional football league in the United States. For four years, Abdullah, a safety, played with the Minnesota Vikings, and, for three years, he played with the Kansas City Chiefs. He graciously thanked both teams for allowing him to play. In the 2015 season, he had the fifth concussion of his career. While he was recovering, he thought about his many life-goals. Husain realized that he would need a “sound mind” to achieve his goals.

The research showing a link between the head trauma of football and the neurodegenerative disease CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) is thought-provoking, and it has several players concerned. Even the NFL has admitted that there is a link between playing football and CTE, although the league later tried to downplay its comment. (CTE, originally known as “dementia pugilistica,” had only been seen in the brains of some boxers.

Dr. Bennet Omalu -

Dr. Bennet Omalu –

Dr. Bennet Omalu was the first to find the disease elsewhere – in a football player. Dr. Omalu renamed the disease “CTE.” Dr. Omalu’s discovery is the subject of the December 2015 movie Concussion, starring Will Smith. The real-life story is told in the PBS Frontline documentary, League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis – available free online.)

Abdullah’s retirement follows other early retirements, most notably that of San Francisco 49er star rookie linebacker, Chris Borland, who cited the high risk of brain disease as his reason for retiring after playing only one year. Another rookie, Green Bay Packer wide receiver Adrian Coxson, retired after getting a severe concussion in practice and being told that the next hit might seriously affect his brain function or kill him.

Abdullah Husain - NFL Player

Abdullah Husain – NFL Player

It remains to be seen if Husain Abdullah’s retirement will be the last early retirement in the NFL due to football’s risk to the brain. (Full story)

 

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Brain Injury Resources: . . . Movies & Documentaries About Sports and Brain Injury

Brain Injury Resources: Movies & Documentaries

About Sports and Brain Injury

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

The following are in alphabetical order.

Brain th-2

 

Concussion

Concussion

ConcussionThis drama is based on the discovery of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) in the brains of deceased former NFL (National Football League) players by forensic neuropathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu. CTE is a serious disease of the brain, found mostly in football players. It is caused by concussions and repeated sub-concussive hits. CTE has been found to cause several neurological problems, including early memory loss, impulsive behavior, and dementia. The movie details Dr. Omalu’s life, especially after his discovery, and the walls that he had to tear down to make this discovery known.

The movie, currently in theaters, stars Will Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu.

Movie details and trailer are at http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/concussion/.

 

Gridiron Gladiators

Gridiron Gladiators

Gridiron Gladiators This movie documents the history of football since the late 1800s. It depicts how football has evolved through the years and shows the extreme violence of the game. This documentary shows that, though football is one of America’s favorite sports, it is in dire need of reformation to reduce greatly or cease the possibility of getting a brain injury.

A stream of this documentary can be rented for $7 at http://gridirongladiatorsmovie.com/. Click “Stream Movie” to see the trailer.

 

Head Games

Head Games

Head Games This documentary is not just about American football, but about any sport that can readily cause brain injury, including soccer and hockey. George Visger, a former NFL (National Football League) player for the San Francisco 49ers, states in the documentary, “It’s been known for a long time that banging your head over and over and over again can be a bad thing.” This documentary also addresses the risks of children playing sports that can cause brain injury.

See it free online at http://www.hulu.com/watch/446640.

 

League of Denial

League of Denial

League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion CrisisThis Frontline documentary shows the role of the NFL (National Football League) in the serious problem of getting concussions on the playing field. It unveils the stories of several NFL players who were diagnosed posthumously with CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), a disease of the brain discovered by forensic neuropathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu. The story of Dr. Omalu and his discovery of CTE in American football players is the basis for the movie “Concussion.”

See it free online at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/league-of-denial/.

Read about it on my blog at

https://survivingtraumaticbraininjury.com/2016/01/06/so-whaddya-think-football-puts-childrens-brains-at-risk/.

 

The Crash Reel

The Crash Reel

The Crash Reel” This documentary is a gripping 4+ star movie about Kevin Pearce, a champion snowboarder who was expected to win a gold medal in the 2010 Winter Olympics. While training on the half-pipe, Kevin missed his mark and severely slammed his head. His dream of an Olympic gold medal disappeared as he was faced with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). You will see breathtaking footage of Kevin snowboarding before his TBI.

See it free online at https://vid.me/x2HU/the-crash-reel. See the trailer at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KkFZ-QC53Q.

 

The United States of Football

The United States of Football

The United States of Football This documentary is yet another look at the dangers of concussions in American football. It features 40-year-old Kyle Turley, former player for the New Orleans Saints, the St. Louis Rams, and the Kansas City Chiefs, as he talks about his fears and concerns about his own possible impending memory loss and dementia. It features other former NFL (National Football League) players who are in the throes of brain damage and shows how their lives have collapsed after repeated concussions. It delves into the harm that football can cause youngsters, whose brains are still developing.

A stream of this documentary can be rented for $3.99 at http://theusof.com/store.

The trailer can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8JMSMvWsBE.

Read about it on my blog at https://survivingtraumaticbraininjury.com/2015/10/19/4643/.

 

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So, Whaddya Think? . . . . . Football Puts Children’s Brains at Risk

So, Whaddya Think?

Football Puts Children’s Brains at Risk

by

David Figurski and Donna O’Donnell Figurski

(Note: This is our third opinion essay on brain trauma and American football. The first and second were published on this blog on December 17th and December 26th, respectively.)

 

So Whaddya Think Brain th-4Lack of awareness of new knowledge has allowed society to continue what some of us now know to be dangerous practices with respect to children. To understand what we mean, watch these short videos of children practicing or playing American football (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

The danger to the brains of children in the videos is readily apparent to us (video, story). Parents often believe a brain injury is rare. But the evidence indicates otherwise. The hundreds of sub-concussive hits that a player of American football receives each season can result in the degenerative brain disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE can lead to loss of memory, loss of cognitive ability, dementia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), aggressive behavior, depression, and suicidal thoughts. It has been seen in the brains of high school football players. In fact, individuals who started playing organized American football at a young age seem to have a higher rate of CTE.

Bennet Omalu

Dr. Bennet Omalu – neuropathologist – discovered CTE

Recently, Dr. Bennet Omalu, who discovered CTE in an American football player by studying the brain of Hall-of-Fame center Mike Webster, was the author of a recent New York Times Op-Ed entitled Don’t Let Kids Play Football. In an interview for zap2it.com, Dr. Omalu said, “As a modern society it’s our duty to protect our most vulnerable, most precious gifts of life: our children. This is where I stand.”

(We highly recommend your seeing the newly released movie Concussion, which will bring about more awareness of the danger to the brain from playing American football. The movie tells the true story of how the National Football League – NFL – tried to dismiss Dr. Bennet Omalu’s discovery of the connection of brain disease and the playing of American football. Former players are suing the NFL, claiming that the NFL knew of the dangers, but did not inform the players.)kid-football-players-clip-art

In the documentary Head Games (online and free), we are reminded that children are not miniature adults. A child’s head is larger than an adult’s in proportion to his or her body. The neck muscles are not proportionately stronger, so a child’s head is more vulnerable than is an adult’s head. Brain development continues until at least age 14. (Some neurologists think brain development may continue longer.) In addition, the neurons in a developing brain are not yet fully myelinated. Recent research has shown that a concussion in a child impairs brain function for two years. The risk to the brain is the major reason why US Soccer banned heading for children 10 and under.

George Visger

Former San Francisco 49er – George Visger – TBI Survivor

On August 16th, Donna conducted a radio interview with George Visger, a former defensive lineman for the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers on her radio show, “Another Fork in the Road,” on the Brain Injury Radio Network. Visger stated that youth football might ultimately end because of the eventual high cost of liability insurance (minutes 30:25-33:45; we think you will also find the intervals 5:40-15:55 and 39:40-42:25 interesting because of their contents – children and football). Dr. Omalu, the discoverer of CTE in an American football player, says in Frontline’s documentary The League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis that he was told if 10% of mothers think playing football is too dangerous, it will mean the end of football.

The consequences of a brain injury can be especially devastating, even fatal, to a young player (video 1, video 2, story of the suicide of a teenage football player). The risk of brain injury from high-impact sports, especially American football, is significant even for adults, but an adult can make his or her own decision to play. In contrast, children rely on parents and Brain in Helmetcoaches. No parent would deliberately put a child’s life-trajectory at risk, but what if the parent lacks awareness? The good news is that apparently society’s awareness is growing quickly. Peter Landesman, the director of Concussion, said that Pop Warner football enrollment is down by more than 30%. (Pop Warner football is for children aged 5 to 16.) The movie Concussion will further increase society’s awareness of the danger of concussions and sub-concussive hits, show what CTE is, tell Dr. Bennet Omalu’s story of his discovery of the relationship of CTE and American football, and show Dr. Omalu’s struggle with the NFL.

Healthy and Damaged Brain

Left – Healthy Brain — Right – Brain with CTE

It is also the brain-injury community’s responsibility to speak out to show society how life-altering a brain injury is.

 

 

 

So, Whaddya Think?

Let’s get a dialogue going. Post your comments in the Comment Section. Directions are below.

So . . . what do you think? Is there something you are passionate about in this Brain Injury (BI) world? Do you want to be heard? Your opinion matters! You can SPEAK OUT! on “So Whaddya Think?”

Simply send me your opinion, and I will format it for publication. Posts may be short, but please send no more than 500 words. Send to Neelyf@aol.com

I hope to HEAR from you soon.

As I say after each post:

Feel free to leave a comment by clicking the blue words “Leave a Comment” below this post.

Please follow my blog. Click on “Follow Me Via eMail” on the right sidebar of your screen.anim0014-1_e0-1

If you like my blog, click the “Like” button under this post.

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(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

So, Whaddya Think? “Concussion” Now in Theaters

So, Whaddya Think?

“Concussion” Now in Theaters

by

David Figurski and Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

(Note: This is our second opinion essay about Dr. Bennet Omalu and his research with brain trauma. The first was published on this blog on December 17th.)

So Whaddya Think Brain th-4The much-anticipated movie, Concussion (trailer), is making current and former players of American football, their families, parents, fans, and coaches think about what is really happening in a sport that has become a large part of American culture. The movie has the same goal as we in the brain-injury community have – greater awareness of the delicate Concussion Movie 2.jpgnature of the brain and the ramifications of brain damage. The movie was released on Christmas Day, but it has made much news before its release.

The movie, which unsurprisingly is not sanctioned by the National Football League (NFL), tells the true story of the Nigerian pathologist, Dr. Bennet Omalu, and his discovery of the relationship of a neurodegenerative disease, which Dr. Omalu named “chronic traumatic encephalopathy” (CTE), and American football. Dr. Omalu studied the brain of Hall-of-Fame center, Mike Webster,

MikeWebsternfl

Mike Webster – Pittsburgh Steeler Pro Football Hall of Fame

who died at age 50 homeless and with dementia. As shown in the Frontline documentary, League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis (available free online), the movie shows how the multibillion-dollar NFL didn’t want to hear of Dr. Omalu’s discovery. The league’s questionable committee on concussions immediately attacked Dr. Omalu. It is a classic “David-vs.-Goliath” story.

David & Goliath.jpg

David & Goliath

(Dr. Omalu said in his Frontline interview, “You can’t go against the NFL. They’ll squash you.”) Former players have sued the NFL, arguing that the NFL knew of the dangers to the brain, but didn’t inform the players. In a class-action lawsuit, the NFL has recently settled for approximately $1 billion in medical expenses, but that settlement is being appealed by former players as inadequate.

Concussion Movie

Dr. Bennet Omalu – pathologist – discovered CTE with Actor, Will Smith

Will Smith plays Dr. Omalu in Concussion. Will Smith, a former football fan whose son played high school football, recently admitted that he has not watched a full game of football since he made this movie. Peter Landesman, the movie’s director, played football into his sophomore year of college, but, knowing what he knows now, he would not let his children play the game.

The movie is a “must-see.” (video)

 

So, Whaddya Think?

Let’s get a dialogue going. Post your comments in the Comment Section. Directions are below.

So . . . what do you think? Is there something you are passionate about in this Brain Injury (BI) world? Do you want to be heard? Your opinion matters! You can SPEAK OUT! on “So Whaddya Think?”

Simply send me your opinion, and I will format it for publication. Posts may be short, but please send no more than 500 words. Send to Neelyf@aol.com

I hope to HEAR from you soon.

As I say after each post:

Feel free to leave a comment by clicking the blue words “Leave a Comment” below this post.

Please follow my blog. Click on “Follow Me Via eMail” on the right sidebar of your screen.anim0014-1_e0-1

If you like my blog, click the “Like” button under this post.

If you REALLY like my blog, share it intact with your friends. It’s easy! Click the “Share” buttons below.

If you don’t like my blog, “Share” it intact with your enemies. That works for me too!

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

SPEAK OUT! NewsBit NFL Quarterback With Concussion Stays In Game

NFL Quarterback With Concussion Stays In Game

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

newsboy-thThe National Football League (NFL) governs most of professional American football, and it is proud of its “concussion protocol” to protect its players. That system shamefully failed Sunday with 1:04 left in a 13-13 game between the St. Louis Rams and the Baltimore Ravens.

St. Louis quarterback, Case Keenum, had taken his team close to Baltimore territory and was trying to drive for a score. Then Keenum was

Case Keenum 1

Case Keenum Quarterback St. Louis Rams

sacked (tackled for a loss). His head hit the turf hard. Keenum couldn’t get up without assistance, and even when he did, he seemed to be staggering. He showed at least three of the signs of a possible concussion, as defined by the concussion protocol of the NFL. (A concussion was confirmed after the game. It wasn’t a surprise. Fans at the stadium and watching on TV could see Keenum was in trouble.)

Case Keenum 2

Keenum holding head after tackle

The NFL this year empowered the neurotrauma consultants, who are in the broadcast booths for all games, to stop games if necessary. Yet the St. Louis-Baltimore game continued, and Case Keenum remained in it. He fumbled after two plays. Baltimore recovered, which set up a field goal to win the game.

Case Keenum 3

Keenum struggling to return to game

This case seems to show more concern with winning than with Keenum’s health and safety. Both the NFL and the NFL Player’s Association (NFLPA) are investigating. It’s not clear if anyone – the coach, the trainer,

Concussed Brain

Concussed Brain

or the neurotrauma consultant – was at fault. But whatever happened, the system totally failed. (Full story with video)

 

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As I say after each post:

Please leave a comment by clicking the blue words “Leave a Comment” below this post.anim0014-1_e0-1

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SPEAK OUT! NewsBit . . . . . . . . . . “Concussion” Movie Based on True Story – (trailer)

“Concussion” Movie Based on True Story – (trailer)

starring Will Smith

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

newsboy-thAmerica loves football, but the National Football League (NFL) fears a new movie that will be released on December 25, 2015. Team owners in the NFL are already preparing their responses to the movie, “Concussion.”will-smith-concussion-01-600x350

There are a lot people who believe that football cannot survive, including George Visger, a former NFL defensive lineman for the San Francisco 49ers. His comments can be heard in my interview of him two weeks ago during my radio show, “Another Fork in the Road,” on the Brain Injury Radio Network. A rookie linebacker in the NFL resigned after one year of play over fear of brain injury. Already there is a 2.2% decline in participation in high school football, including an even higher rate of decline in Texas, which has led the nation in football players for two decades. One elementary school banned tackling and instituted flag football, to no objections. As more and more parents become aware of the risk of contact sports to the human brain (some will because of this movie), the rate of decline in youth football will increase, and the pool of talented NFL-bound athletes will get smaller. (Full story and trailer)

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

As I say after each post:

Please leave a comment by clicking the blue words “Leave a Comment” below this post.anim0014-1_e0-1

Feel free to follow my blog. Click on “Follow” on the upper right sidebar.

If you like my blog, share it with your friends. It’s easy! Click the “Share” buttons below.

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Feel free to “Like” my post.

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No memory of the day that changed my life

My name is Michelle Munt and this is my story about surviving a brain injury and what I continue to learn about it. This is for other survivors and their loved ones, but also to raise awareness of what can happen to those in an accident. This invisible injury too often goes undiagnosed and it can be difficult to find information about it. I will talk about things that have helped me as I continue to recover and invite others to see if it works for them too.

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