One of the looming questions surrounding the NFL concussion settlement has been about the diagnosis and compensation for Mild Cognitive Impairment. How are the levels of impairment defined and who determines if a player is eligible for treatment or compensation? To confuse the issue even more, there have been recent developments in the live diagnosis of CTE. Related to this, there have been several recent positive steps in predicting oncoming symptoms of mild cognitive impairment and alzheimer’s. Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University and University of Pittsburgh have all conducted promising research toward identifying key predictive markers in people with symptoms of cognitive decline.
Rocky Bleier and Suzanne Somers in the 70's
The NFL concussion lawsuits continue to push all kinds of technology, education and marketing efforts toward brains, concussions and sports. FINDING ADEQUATE REWARD IN LIFE: THE BRAIN, a medical seminar organized by Internist Eric Braverman, MD and offered as CME credits by the University of Florida will take place in New York City on March 21, 2014. The line-up of speakers includes UPMC neurologist and NFL Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee member Dr. Joseph Maroon, Pittsburgh Steeler great Rocky Bleier, and television star Suzanne Somers.
2 of Jack Kerouac's books reference football concussions
“Kerouac had all of the symptoms of C.T.E.” Dr. Robert Cantu, neurosurgeon and football concussion cause celebre tells writer Ian Scheffler for the New Yorker piece, Football and the Fall of Jack Kerouac. Kerouac, the legendary beat writer suffered notable head trauma several times during his short life including possible repetitive damage due to years of youth and prep football play. The question of Kerouac and cumulative brain damage was first raised by Joyce Glassman Johnson, a former girlfriend, confidant, and later biographer of Jack Kerouac. In the New Yorker piece, Scheffler investigates the issue to see if he can answer Johnson’s question, “did the effects of cumulative damage to the brain over Jack’s lifetime . . . contribute to his deepening alcoholism and depression?”
The Iron Neck Strength Conditioning Tool
One result of the awareness created by the NFL concussion lawsuits is the myriad of concussion solutions hitting the market. Improved helmets, mouthgards, sensors, tests, techniques, supplements and other gear including one of the most recent, a neck-strengthening piece of equipment being introduced at this year’s NFL combine. The “Iron Neck” will be presented by inventor Mike Jolly to an audience of NFL strength and conditioning coaches as part of a product showcase during a conditioning clinic.
Ray Easterling, 2009 (courtesy of Jeff Nixon)
Jeff Nixon’s first year in the NFL, 1979, was Ray Easterling’s last. Both had attended the University of Richmond and Nixon tells the story of when in his senior year in college, the seventh year pro Easterling came to Richmond to persuade Nixon to work out with him in preparation of his rookie season with the Bills.
Before we started working out, I thought I was in good shape, but he showed me I wasn’t even close to being in the kind of condition I needed to be in – physically, mentally and even more importantly, spiritually. Ray ran me ragged on the track, on the football field and in our cross country workouts. He made me do more than I thought I could do in the weight room. He pushed me beyond the boundaries of endurance that I set for myself. I don’t know if Ray knew how much he helped me, not only in preparing me for the game of pro football – but in preparing me for the game of life.
#C4CT Concussion Summit Held at the United Nations during Super Bowl Week 2014.
“We are speaking on the floor of the United Nations about brain trauma. This has never before been possible.”
One of the most impressive results of the NFL concussion litigation has been the increased concussion awareness of fans, parents and media since the first lawsuit was filed in April 2011 on behalf of Ray Easterling, Jim McMahon and three other former NFL players. Just three years ago, there was a very common fan reaction of “hey, these guys knew what they signed up for” and “they’re just suing because they blew all their money and now they just want a handout.”
Hidden deep behind the Monday brouha surrounding one of the corners on the Seattle Seahawks was an interesting Peter King interview with Chris Seeger, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the NFL concussion litigation. After Judge Anita Brody quickly rejected the motion to approve the proposed settlement offer on January 14th, Seeger and his team presumably got busy putting together the financial forecasts and economic models that he previously said were used to determine that the $765 million dollar settlement figure would be sufficient to fulfill the obligations according to the terms of the settlement. A few interesting things appear in the interview that may help explain how the numbers might work.