Sadly, the emerging brain science of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

Despite the immense joys and economic benefits that many sports bring, emerging science about the human brain will require significant attention by many sports organisations. In particular, it seems there is a need to become more acutely aware of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, and incorporate this into organisational policies and practices. Here are some recent links:

On the politics of brain disease: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/16/sports/nfl-concussions-cte-football-jeff-miller.html?_r=0

Mothers complaining to Congress: http://edition.cnn.com/2016/03/16/health/angry-moms-call-for-federal-rules-on-contact-sports/

In the above article, Dr Robert Cantu, from Boston University’s School of Medicine explains that “between the ages of 10 and 12 is a key time for neural circuits to be established for emotion, “our impulse control, our emotions, anxiety, depression”. If the brain is injured at that age, it can potentially impact that circuitry. 

A story about Jarrod Cooper, former NFL player. He explains in vivid detail what it is like to have ongoing brain injury: http://www.mercurynews.com/raiders/ci_29656550/former-raider-struggles-keep-his-mind-right

Interviews with Dr Robert Cantu (neurosurgeon) and Dr Ann McKee (who the NFL deferred to). They discuss if young children should be playing American Football: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sR2WqfpSZYo

Dr Bennet Omalu explains the discovery and implications of CTE (“The motive to do good knows no boundaries”): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOKvhcBelwQ

An interesting quote around the 33 minute mark: “What causes CTE? … Repeated blows to the head.”

Dr Bennet Omalu considers American football: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/07/opinion/dont-let-kids-play-football.html

Retired player Ray Lewis discussing the difficulties of rule changes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbtkcQ5umPA

2016: Interesting policy from Ivy League Universities: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/02/sports/ncaafootball/ivy-league-moves-to-eliminate-tackling-at-practices.html?_r=

2016: Hot off the press: Are There Subconcussive Neuropsychological Effects in Youth Sports? An Exploratory Study of High- and Low-Contact Sports. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/26979930/

A 2016 news article highlighting the plight of one of the favourite players from my childhood: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/nfl-concussion-crisis-doubters-should-read-these-two-sentences_us_571e853ee4b0f309baee455a

Another 2016 news article highlighting the plight of another one of my favourite players from my childhood: http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl-news/4699133-darryl-talley-wife-shares-sad-story-former-nfl-player-mental-health-physical-decline-cte-buffalo-bills

A 2015 British Journal of Sports Medicine research article claiming a high incidence of severe incidence of severe injury, including concussion, in the sport of rugby union: http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2015/12/23/bjsports-2015-095491.full

A 2016 NZ Herald investigation about brain diseases affecting retired rugby players and their families: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/the-longest-goodbye-rugby-and-the-dementia-dilemma/news/headlines.cfm?c_id=1504010

A 2016 study which shows ongoing effects of mild traumatic brain injury for nearly half of people studied http://m.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=11616808

I enjoyed playing rugby and American football growing up. It will be interesting to see how various sports and schools incorporate this emerging scientific knowledge into their policies and practices.

pads
My gridiron pads.

 

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