Thursday, December 3, 2015

Will Frank Gifford Autopsy Finding CTE Deliver Blow to Football's Popularity?

CNN reports:
The family of Frank Gifford says the revered sportscaster and NFL star suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a progressive brain disease linked to the types of brain injuries and head trauma common in football.
"While Frank passed away from natural causes this past August at the age of 84, our suspicions that he was suffering from the debilitating effects of head trauma were confirmed when a team of pathologists recently diagnosed his condition," the family said in a statement released Wednesday.
Gifford's family said they decided to have his brain studied "in hopes of contributing to
Frank Gifford
the advancement of medical research concerning the link between football and traumatic brain injury." And they decided to make his diagnosis public to honor Gifford's commitment to promoting player safety, dating back to his involvement in creating the NFL Players Association, a union representing players' interests, in 1956.
CTE can be diagnosed only after death.
Gifford's diagnosis comes amid a growing focus on the risks athletes face from suffering repeated concussions, and just hours after the NFL admitted its concussion protocols had failed when St. Louis Rams quarterback Case Keenum kept playing Sunday even after his head slammed into the field

The problem is blows to the head start in youth football and continue through high school, college and the NFL, at least for the players who make it that far. So far nobody has developed a solution.  Helmets might actually make the situation worse by encouraging players to lead into tackles with their heads, resulting in more cranial blows.
For years I looked back with regret that I didn't play high school football.  Instead I was very blessed to play on a state ranked baseball team that had a hall of fame coach. While I thoroughly enjoyed that experience, I was at best a mediocre baseball player.  I think I was much better suited physically for football and would have been much better at that sport.  But now looking back, knowing former high school football players who have early onset arthritis, knees replaced and other problems, including CTE, I'm glad my parents only let me play one sport and I chose baseball.


Anonymous said...

Finally, the explaining of why your interest in such an exciting sport that is exceeded in interest by watching grass grow and paint dry.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Anon 1:35, nowhere in my post do I mention soccer.

Greg Bowes said...

Alright Paul, you are hitting me where I live. Some of the best soccer matches I have watched involved a 1-0 score. When the players are constantly moving, and constantly seeking an option for a score, that is much more exciting that waiting for the pitcher and the catcher to decide what kind of pitch to throw, and having the whole play over in just a few seconds, so everyone, including the players, can stand around and wait for the next pitch. It gives the TV broadcasters much time to insert commercials, and let us go to the kitchen to get a beer, but I would not call that exciting.