Reprint of 2013 piece with 2 of 3 updated links.
Although it may seem as if the concussion crisis in football is a fairly recent issue, the December 19, 1994 issue of Sports Illustrated proves differently. Twelve pages of that eighteen year old issue were devoted to NFL concussions. “Halt the Head Hunting” by Peter King, “The Worst Case” by Michael Farber and “A Bell is Rung” (can’t find in the online SI archive anymore) also by Peter King describe many of the same issues that are going on today and with much of the same urgency.
The following is republished from an article that first appeared June 2013.
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s recent concussion research paper, Incidence of Sports-Related Concussion among Youth Football Players Aged 8-12 Years continues a disturbing history of the UPMC providing their
client grant source with a document that provides highly respected, high-powered marketing ammo for some commercial product. In this example, the NFL through its NFL Charities organization gave $100k to UPMC with Dr. Anthony Kontos as the Principle Investigator to conduct a study about concussions in youth football.
University of North Carolina’s Dr. Kevin Guskiewicz, PhD continued his evangelical-like support of children playing full-contact tackle football during a 2014 concussion discussion presented at Texas A&M. Dr. Guskiewicz was one of nine presenters at the 2014 Huffines “concussion discussion” which included well known Boston University CTE researcher Dr. Ann Mckee, MD. As one of the most engaging, outspoken supporters of full-contact youth football, Guskiewicz continued to be unwilling to cite any age too young for football collisions.
Harvard Teaching Hospital - Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
A study funded in-part by a NFLPA grant offers the possibility of early intervention for CTE following a traumatic brain injury.
In the study, which was recently published online edition of the journal Nature, researchers found that a misshapen isoform of the tau protein can develop as soon as 12 hours after TBI, setting in motion a destructive course of events that can lead to widespread neurodegeneration.
Attorney Chris Seeger appeared on the NFL Network in 2014
Following final approval of the proposed NFL concussion settlement, 11 appeals were filed by former players. In response to those appeals, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs’ class, Chris Seeger, filed a request that the 11 appeals be consolidated and expedited by the court so that the most critically ill players who meet the the criteria for compensation can be paid as soon as possible.
Jim Gossett, Columbia Univ. ATC is the Giants' home spotter. Photo - Columbia Univ.
Athletic trainer concussion spotters will now be able to bypass the teams and speak directly to game officials in order to call for a medical timeout during an NFL game. NFL owners approved the measure on March 24, 2015 for the upcoming season. Without saying so, it seemed as if Rich McKay, chairman of the competition committee, identified that the teams were the weak link in getting a player out of the game quickly. According to the LA Times, McKay said the health and safety committee made it happen.
Three NFL players unexpectedly announced their retirement from the game this week, including possible future Hall-of-Famer, San Francisco 49er LB Patrick Willis. Willis, 30 years old, was selected for the Pro Bowl after each of his first 7 seasons and was chosen as a first-team All Pro linebacker 5 of his 8 seasons. Although none of the three specifically mentioned concussions, CTE or concerns about long-term brain damage, you have to wonder if those potential health issues were part of their logic.