Following All the Concussion Stories

Aug 17, 2010

Brain Image

Our heads are hurting from following the growing coverage on concussions in the mainstream media just as the NFL season kicks off.

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A couple of new articles on the link between concussions and ALS (Lou Gehrig Disease). One from Alan Schwarz in The New York Times:

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.The New York Times


August 17, 2010
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Study Says Brain Trauma Can Mimic A.L.S.

By ALAN SCHWARZ

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In the 71 years since the Yankees slugger Lou Gehrig declared himself “the luckiest man on the face of the earth,” despite dying from a disease that would soon bear his name, he has stood as America’s leading icon of athletic valor struck down by random, inexplicable fate.

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A peer-reviewed paper to be published Wednesday in a leading journal of neuropathology, however, suggests that the demise of athletes like Gehrig and soldiers given a diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, might have been catalyzed by injuries only now becoming understood: concussions and other brain trauma.

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Although the paper does not discuss Gehrig specifically, its authors in interviews acknowledged the clear implication: Lou Gehrig might not have had Lou Gehrig’s disease.

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Doctors at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Bedford, Mass., and the Boston University School of Medicine, the primary researchers of brain damage among deceased National Football League players, said that markings in the spinal cords of two players and one boxer who also received a diagnosis of A.L.S. indicated that those men did not have A.L.S. They had a different fatal disease, doctors said, caused by concussionlike trauma, that erodes the central nervous system in similar ways.

Read the rest of the article – click HERE.

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And a blog post from Barry Petchesky over at DeadSpin:

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Concussions Killed Lou Gehrig, Killing NFL Players

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The drumbeat to address concussions in football just grew a little louder, with a new study that links brain trauma to a very ALS-like disease. Lou Gehrig himself may have contracted his namesake disease that very way.

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The study, being published tomorrow in the Journal of Neuropathology & Experimental Neurology comes from a team of Boston researchers including former WWE wrestler and crusader for concussion safety Chris Nowinski. Their findings, announced tonight on HBO’s Real Sports, stem from a curious statistic: NFL players are eight times more likely to contract ALS than the average person.

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Similar rates are found among CFL players, boxers and Italian soccer players.

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The link: repeated head trauma, which produces toxic proteins that migrate to the spinal cord. The result: a disease that for all the world looks like ALS.

Read the rest of the article – click HERE.

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And preceded Tuesday evenings first showing of HBO Real Sports much-anticipated piece on ALS. A lot of the work is coming out of the Sports Legacy Institute’s Dr. Ann McKee and Chris Nowinski. Here’s the preview  clip:

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Head Injuries
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EDITOR’S NOTE: The New York Daily News’ Michael O’Keefe just released his story on the correlation of concussions and ALS symptoms after we had put up this post – click HERE to read the Daily News story.

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We want to keep putting it out front and center every chance we get: WHAT ABOUT THE RETIRED PLAYERS??!! The guys who helped build the game? Who made little money playing? Who continue to consistently get denied their earned benefits? If it’s time to finally start admitting the reality of concussions in the present and the future, then it’s also time to acknowledge the consequences from the past. It’s long overdue. Who’s going to finally show some leadership here?

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One Response so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Gordon A. Wright
    August 18th, 2010 at 5:30 am #

    Gordon Wright - NY Jets
    On brain injuries as someone who loves Football

    I played in High School and we were undefeated for five years. I played for free because of my love for the game. I played in college in hopes I would make it to the NFL. I made to the NFL as one of the TOP TEN CIAA PICKS. My first contract was for $8,500.00 with the Jets in 1965. I know I have to take some responsibility for my own injuries but I just wish I could have had Universal Healthcare from the day I started playing Football for fun, before I was picked for High school, College and finally the NFL. I do suffer from head injuries sustained from my Football career.

    My brain scans show damage to my brain. One of my symptoms: I can be talking and completely forget what I was talking about! I do this daily and it started a couple of decades ago. I spoke with John Mackey about it before he acknowledged he had a problem.

    Gordon Wright
    Philadelphia Eagles & New York Jets
    1967 – 1970

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