Weekend Coverage on Concussions

Nov 28, 2009

Mainstream MediaMore momentum on the concussion front as the brain injury story continues to makes its way upstream into the mainstream media. This seems to be one story that’s becoming harder and harder for the NFL to suppress or spin – Thank you, Doctor No!


Friday’s MacNeil Lehrer Report covered many of the highlights from the recent Congressional hearings on effects of brain concussions in the NFL. (Of course, NPR doesn’t pay for broadcast rights to NFL games so they’re not obliged to keep things light.) NPR’s Ray Suarez covers the story – just click on the Download link (below the Editor’s Note) to play the piece.




Hard Knocks: Does Playing in NFL Cause Brain Trauma?

A House committee heard testimony from medical experts in October, as well as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to determine whether professional football contributes to brain diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. Ray Suarez reports.

In response to pressure from Congress and the players union, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Nov. 22 that when a player sustains a concussion, teams will now be required to seek advice from “independent” neurologists.



You can read the entire transcript on NPR by clicking HERE. The Online News Hour also added two other pieces under the original story: Experts Detail Concussion Treatment (click HERE) and New Research Raises Questions on How to Treat Concussion ‘Epidemic’ (click HERE).


And we were reminded that investigative reporter Carl Prine had started covering the issue of brain concussions as far back as 2005:


By Carl Prine

Sunday, January 9, 2005


In the milliseconds it takes for a player’s head to recoil from a sledgehammer tackle, his brain swishes like a fat olive in the cocktail glass of his skull. Synapses snap. Nerve fibers shear away. Bathed in a swirl of cerebrospinal fluid, the brain stem twists inside like a dish rag, wringing out cognition.

Some concussions are mild, dizzying jolts that heal quickly. Others cause temporary blindness, amnesia, loss of breathing and permanent brain damage. Long-term effects from repeated blows include depression, punch-drunk syndrome and precursor symptoms for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

Five concussions in eight years ended the career of former Steelers fullback Merrill Hoge. There was that time he found himself playing in Kansas City, not Tampa Bay, where he thought he was. He could even hear the ocean.

His wife would tuck her telephone number into his wallet because, inevitably, he would space out while driving, unable to remember his way home. And sometimes, when he got there, the family didn’t look familiar.


Read the rest of Carl’s article by clicking HERE.


2 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Dave Pear
    November 28th, 2009 at 11:51 pm #

    Dave Pear Superbowl Ring
    Dear Roger Goodell,

    Maxine Waters was right when she said, “It is time to remove the antitrust exemption from the NFL.”

    Dave & Heidi Pear

  2. John Houser
    November 29th, 2009 at 12:36 pm #

    John Houser
    Hey Dave:

    Following your lead, I’ve scheduled Dr. Amen’s clinic for a brain scan and memory tests on Dec. 11, 2009.

    Now I can learn if I sustained any brain damage when Ordell Braase and I collided while attempted a trap block on him during the Rams/Colts game in 1958… I say attempted because when I woke up I found I was blind in one eye and had tunnel vision in the other! George Menefee, the Rams trainer, restored my vision by twisting my helmet around to the front. It seems that from the collision most of the rivets holding the helmet’s suspension webbing in place popped out, collapsing and turning the helmet sideways over my head causing me to look through an ear hole with one eye and the inside of the helmet with the other. To see if I was coherent enough to understand the plays, George gave me the two finger test. I said four, they said close enough and sent me back in the game with a new helmet and a pass play.

    See you at SUMMIT II…

    John Houser
    Independent Retired NFL Player Advocate
    1957 – 1963
    LA Rams, Dallas Cowboys, St. Louis Cardinals