Tag Archives: NFL

Concussions Likely Cause of Degenerative Brain Disease in Football Players

This one has been stewing for a while. The league began to take things more seriously a few years ago, banning certain types of hits, and upgrading helmets and rules.

What is terrifying about this though is that even people who played Pop Warner football as kids may suffer this level of brain damage.

New: 87 Deceased NFL Players Test Positive for Brain Disease

A total of 87 out of 91 former NFL players have tested positive for the brain disease at the center of the debate over concussions in football, according to new figures from the nation’s largest brain bank focused on the study of traumatic head injury.

Researchers with the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University have now identified the degenerative disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, in 96 percent of NFL players that they’ve examined and in 79 percent of all football players. The disease is widely believed to stem from repetitive trauma to the head, and can lead to conditions such as memory loss, depression and dementia.

In total, the lab has found CTE in the brain tissue in 131 out of 165 individuals who, before their deaths, played football either professionally, semi-professionally, in college or in high school.

Forty percent of those who tested positive were the offensive and defensive linemen who come into contact with one another on every play of a game, according to numbers shared by the brain bank with FRONTLINE. That finding supports past research suggesting that it’s the repeat, more minor head trauma that occurs regularly in football that may pose the greatest risk to players, as opposed to just the sometimes violent collisions that cause concussions.

But the figures come with several important caveats, as testing for the disease can be an imperfect process. Brain scans have been used to identify signs of CTE in living players, but the disease can only be definitively identified posthumously. As such, many of the players who have donated their brains for testing suspected that they had the disease while still alive, leaving researchers with a skewed population to work with.

Even with those caveats, the latest numbers are “remarkably consistent” with pastresearch from the center suggesting a link between football and long-term brain disease, said Dr. Ann McKee, the facility’s director and chief of neuropathology at the VA Boston Healthcare System.

“People think that we’re blowing this out of proportion, that this is a very rare disease and that we’re sensationalizing it,” said McKee, who runs the lab as part of a collaboration between the VA and BU. “My response is that where I sit, this is a very real disease. We have had no problem identifying it in hundreds of players.”

In a statement, a spokesman for the NFL said, “We are dedicated to making football safer and continue to take steps to protect players, including rule changes, advanced sideline technology, and expanded medical resources. We continue to make significant investments in independent research through our gifts to Boston University, the [National Institutes of Health] and other efforts to accelerate the science and understanding of these issues.”

The latest update from the brain bank, which in 2010 received a $1 million research grant from the NFL, comes at a time when the league is able to boast measurable progress in reducing head injuries. In its 2015 Health & Safety Report, the NFL said that concussions in regular season games fell 35 percent over the past two seasons, from 173 in 2012 to 112 last season. A separate analysis by FRONTLINE that factors in concussions reported by teams during the preseason and the playoffs shows a smaller decrease of 28 percent.

Off the field, the league has revised safety rules to minimize head-to-head hits, and invested millions into research. In April, it also won final approval for a potential $1 billion settlement with roughly 5,000 former players who have sued it over past head injuries.

Still, at the start of a new season of play, the NFL once again finds itself grappling to turn the page on the central argument in the class-action lawsuit: that for years it sought to conceal a link between football and long-term brain disease.

The latest challenge to that effort came two weeks ago with the trailer for a forthcoming Hollywood film about the neuropathologist who first discovered CTE. When the trailer was released, it quickly went viral, leaving the NFL bracing for a new round of scrutiny over past efforts to deny any such connection.

The film, Concussion, starring Will Smith, traces the story of Bennet Omalu, who in 2005 shocked the football establishment with an article in the journal Neurosurgery detailing his discovery of CTE in the brain of former Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster. At the VA lab and elsewhere, CTE has since been found in players such as Hall of FamerJunior Seau, former NFL Man of the Year Dave Duerson, and Indianapolis Colts tight end John Mackey, a past head of the player’s union.

While the story is not a new one, for the NFL, it represents a high-profile and potentially embarrassing cinematic interpretation of a period in which the league sought to refute research suggesting football may contribute to brain disease.

From 2003 to 2009, for example, the NFL’s now disbanded Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee concluded in a series of scientific papers that “no NFL player” had experienced chronic brain damage from repeat concussions, and that “Professional football players do not sustain frequent repetitive blows to the brain on a regular basis.”

In the case of Omalu, league doctors publicly assailed his research, and in a rare move, demanded a retraction of his study. When Omalu spoke to FRONTLINE about the incident for the 2013 documentary, League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis, he said, “You can’t go against the NFL. They’ll squash you.”

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Posted by on September 19, 2015 in News


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Former NFL Player Now Farms for Charity

After my last post on idiots behaving badly on a NYC Subway, it’s easy to lose faith.

Then there is this inspiring story.

Why a star football player traded NFL career for a tractor

LOUISBURG, N.C. – At one point number 60, Jason Brown, was one of the best centers in the NFL.

At one point he had a five-year, $37 million contract with the St. Louis Rams.

And at one point he decided it was all meaningless – and just walked away from football.

“My agent told me, ‘You’re making the biggest mistake of your life,'” said Brown. “And I looked right back at him and I said, ‘No I’m not. No I’m not.'”

So what could possibly trump the NFL?

You wouldn’t believe.

Jason Brown quit football to be a plain, old farmer — even though he’d never farmed a day a in his life.

Asked how he learned to even know what to do, Brown said:

“Get on the Internet. Watch Youtube videos.”

He learned how to farm from Youtube.

Thanks to Youtube and some good advice from other farmers here in Louisburg, N.C., this week Jason finished harvesting his first, a five-acre plot of sweet potatoes.

“When you see them pop up out of the ground, man, it’s the most beautiful thing you could ever see,” said Brown. He said he has never felt more successful.

“Not in man’s standards,” said Brown. “But in God’s eyes.”

But God cares about the NFL, right? There are people praying to him on the field all the time.

“Yeah, there’s a lot of people praying out there,” said Brown. “But, when I think about a life of greatness, I think about a life of service.”

See, his plan for this farm, which he calls “First Fruits Farm,” is to donate the first fruits of every harvest to food pantries. Today it’s all five acres–100,000 pounds–of sweet potatoes.

“It’s unusual for a grower to grow a crop just to give away,” said Rebecca Page, who organizes food collection for the needy. “And that’s what Jason has done. And he’s planning to do more next year.”

Brown has 1,000 acres here, which could go a long way toward eliminating hunger in this neck of North Carolina.

“Love is the most wonderful currency that you can give anyone,” said Brown.

“Are you sure you played in the NFL?” I asked.


“Because I feel like cuddling you right now.”

“Don’t do that!” he said.

Brown may have left the NFL, but apparently holding is still a penalty.

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Posted by on November 18, 2014 in Giant Negros, Men, The Post-Racial Life


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Adrian Peterson’s Son Murdered

Most times in professional sports when you see a player’s name in the headlines for something other than the game they play – it is bad news of the player’s own making.

This brutal tragedy, isn’t.

I don’t know how Peterson is dealing with this, or how anyone in the same situation could, but I think it is fair to say everyone’s heart goes out to him and his family in this tragedy.

Adrian Peterson’s Son Dies After Allegedly Being Assaulted

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson mourned the death of his young son Friday, while words of support poured in from all corners of the sports world.

Authorities said a 2-year-old boy died Friday of injuries suffered in an alleged child abuse case in South Dakota, and a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press the boy was Peterson’s son.

Lincoln County State’s Attorney Tom Wollman confirmed the death of the child, who had been in critical condition in a hospital with severe head injuries since Wednesday. The boy died at 11:43 a.m. at Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls after being removed from life support, Wollman said.

Wollman said he’ll review police and medical reports before making further decisions about criminal charges, possibly by early next week. Joseph Patterson, 27, was charged with aggravated assault and aggravated battery in the child’s death. He had a court appearance Friday and was ordered held on $750,000 cash bond.

Peterson declined to talk about the case after practice Friday, and prosecutors and police in South Dakota declined to confirm the boy was his son. However, a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed the connection to the AP on condition of anonymity because Peterson had requested privacy.

Speaking to reporters about an hour after the time of death, Peterson said he was certain he’ll play Sunday against Carolina.

He smiled politely and spoke softly while taking questions at his locker.
“I’ll be ready to roll, focused,” Peterson said. “I will be playing Sunday, without a doubt.”

Peterson is second in the NFL with 421 yards rushing and first in the league with five touchdowns. He came back from reconstructive knee surgery to rush for 2,097 yards and win the league MVP award last season.

“Football is something I will always fall back on,” Peterson said. “It gets me through tough times. Just being around the guys in here, that’s what I need in my life, guys supporting me. … Things that I go through, I’ve said a thousand times, it helps me play this game to a different level. I’m able to kind of release a lot of my stress through this sport, so that’s what I plan on doing.”

Later Friday, after news of the boy’s death spread, Peterson thanked his family, fans and even fans of other NFL teams for their support.

Joseph Patterson, the accused has a history of domestic abuse and battery charges. Patterson was indicted in June 2012 on several counts of simple assault involving an ex-girlfriend and her 3-year-old son, according to the Argus Leader. Patterson was later charged for violating a no-contact order. He was sentenced to one year in jail for both cases but that time was suspended on the condition he attend domestic violence counseling.The victim in that case said in a request for a protection order that Patterson had spanked her 3-year-old so hard for misbehaving in church that he needed ice for welts on his buttocks, according to the Argus Leader.

He tweeted: “The NFL is a fraternity of brothers and I am thankful for the tweets, phone calls and text messages from my fellow players.”

Dozens of current and former professional athletes wished Peterson well on Twitter, expressing support, offering prayers and voicing disgust about the alleged abuse.

“Sick for my friend. Strong guy but this one will bring the strongest down,” tweeted NBA star LeBron James.

The Panthers, this week’s opponent, were sympathetic.

“It’s absolutely terrible. Our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family, and hopefully things work out,” coach Ron Rivera said.

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said he thought Peterson practiced as well as he could Friday considering the circumstance.

“He seems like he was into it, engaged in what he had to get done,” Frazier said. “Obviously, tough. He’s human. But he was into it mentally, best as he could be.”

Fellow running back Toby Gerhart said: “It’s hard for any man to admit that he’s hurting or he needs help or anything like that. For us to be around him and tell him we’ve got his back, if there’s anything he needs that we’re there for him, I think that goes a long way.”

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Posted by on October 12, 2013 in The Post-Racial Life


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Cowboys Coach Wade Phillips Fired?

A lot of speculation around the WWW today that in a 4PM Press Conference it will be announced that Cowboys Coach Wade Phillips has been fired after an embarrassing loss to the Green Bay Packers Sunday Night…

Wade Phillips Fired? Signs Point to Ax Falling

By all indications, the ax may have already fallen on beleaguered Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips, reports’s Andy Benoit.

ESPN reports that Phillips’ leased SUV was not in the Cowboys’ Valley Ranch parking lot as of 9:00 a.m. CT, although Phillips was later seen around the facility.

Normally, Jerry Jones meets with the Cowboys coaching staff on Monday mornings to watch game film.

In an even more ominous sign, the Cowboys have called a 4:00 p.m. CT press conference. Phillips has not confirmed with the media whether he has discussed his job status with Jones.

After Sunday night’s embarrassment at Green Bay, Jones said, “There are a lot of people here who are certainly going to suffer and suffer consequences. I’m talking about within the team, players, coaches, who have got careers. This is certainly a setback. I know first hand what it is to have high expectations.”

Their listless performance has kicked off a new round of speculation about the job security of coach Phillips, despite recent statements from Jones that a midseason firing was unlikely.

Afterward, a despondent Phillips said simply: “We looked like a bad football team – with bad coaching.”



Posted by on November 8, 2010 in General


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NFL Stars – Palin Better in Playboy… Than the White House

TO and Ocho Cinco dig themselves into a deep one with this…

Even though Palin isn’t “Playboy Material” in their view…

They would rather see her in Playboy than the White House!

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Posted by on September 24, 2010 in Nawwwwww!, The Post-Racial Life


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NFL Player Suicide – Broncos Kenny McKinley

Another one of those unfathomable tragedies. You never know what is going on inside someone’s head which might make what seems to you as a successful career into a roaring hell in their view. McKinley was the third active Bronco to die in 4 years from different causes – making the Broncos “snakebit”, considering the youth and apparent physical health of these guys.

Kenny McKinley of the Denver Broncos jogs on the field during a game against the Seattle Seahawks last year.Broncos WR Kenny McKinley found dead in apparent suicide

Broncos wide receiver Kenny McKinley was found dead Monday at his Colorado home in an apparent suicide, police said.

“It was apparently a suicide, but we’re still investigating,” Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said.

Authorities were called to McKinley’s home in central Centennial at about 3:25 p.m. Monday. McKinley’s body was discovered in a second-floor bedroom with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The 23-year-old, second-year pro has been on the team’s injured reserve list since early August with a knee injury. He played in eight games as a rookie in 2009, mostly on special teams, with seven kick returns for 158 yards. He suffered a season-ending knee injury in the second-to-last game

of last season and had surgery in the offseason.

The Broncos will hold a full team meeting Tuesday at Dove Valley to discuss McKinley’s death. Grief counselors will be available at the facility for any players who want help.

“Kenny had a promising future on the football field, but more importantly, he was a great teammate whose smile and personality could light up the room,” coach Josh McDaniels said in a statement Monday night. “This is a tragic loss for our football team, and his family is in all of our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

An NFL source told The Denver Post that McKinley had been in Atlanta visiting family recently but had returned to Denver on Sunday along with his young son.

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Posted by on September 21, 2010 in News


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Tax Cuts for the Rich? Naaaaaaw! Sherrod Brown Gets to the Really Important Stuff!

At last, a Senator who understands whats important in America! If the Rethugs try and filibuster this one…

There won’t be any elected Rethugs come November.

Of course, those of us who are Redskins fans in the DC area are having a good week, with the dreaded Cowboys going down Sunday last in yet another of those Redskins/Cowboys last second finishes…

Sherrod Brown Urges NFL to End TV Blackout Policy Given Tough Economy

The NFL season got underway this past weekend, and Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown is worried that some fans hard hit by the faltering economy won’t be able to watch games in person or on TV. In a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Brown urged the league to revisit it “blackout” policy that keeps games off local television stations when they are not sold out 72 hours in advance.

The Democrat had the interests of Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns fans in mind, the Hill newspaper reports, but those aren’t the only ones in danger of having home games blacked out on TV. According to a survey conducted by USA Today, at least 11 teams could have games kept off the air this season.

“During these difficult times, working families are struggling to make ends meet. Although appealing, attending a football game is simply cost prohibitive for too many Ohioans. The average price for an NFL game ticket is $77 – nearly ten times the hourly minimum wage,” Brown said in his letter.

He acknowledged “the need for the league to sell tickets and maintain an attractive television product” but said “the worst economic crisis in generations” should also be taken into consideration.

There’s been no word on an NFL response to the letter.


Posted by on September 14, 2010 in News


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