“If 10 percent of mothers come to believe that football is dangerous—to the point of brain damage, effectively—that’s the end of football as we know it.”
NPR ran this story about brain injury in major league football players, interviewing the authors of a book which is the basis for a forthcoming documentary. The story opened with the death of a celebrated football player, and what happened when a pathologist who decided to study the player’s brain sent his findings of brain injury to the NFL. Here are the money paragraphs:
“He thought that well, this is information that the National Football League would probably like to have,” Fainaru says. “He says he thought [the NFL] would give him a big wet kiss and describe him as a hero.”
That’s not what happened. Instead, the NFL formed its own committee to research brain trauma. The league sent its findings to the medical journal Neurosurgery, says Fainaru-Wada. “They publish in that journal repeatedly over the period of several years, papers that really minimize the dangers of concussions. They talk about [how] there doesn’t appear to be any problem with players returning to play. They even go so far as to suggest that professional football players do not suffer from repetitive hits to the head in football games.”
You can find this stuff easily. The PubMed search
(“Neurosurgery”[Journal]) AND national football league
takes you to the articles, several of which bear the affiliation “Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee, National Football League.”
I think this could be fertile ground for an evaluation exercise. I’d like to talk about/brainstorm around it.