It’s Official: Concussions Can Cause Brain Damage

Jan 10, 2013

Roger Goodell Haste Makes Waste

The continuing flood of news coverage and studies has been relentless during this football season with no sign of letting up even as more retired players add their names to the growing list of concussion lawsuits. The results of Junior Seau’s brain study were finally released by the National Institute of Health (NIH) following months of speculation and rumors of a potential coverup following his suicide last May. We lead our latest concussion update post with the breaking ESPN report on the NIH study:

Doctors: Junior Seau’s brain had CTE

Updated: January 10, 2013, 10:11 AM ET
By Mark Fainaru-Wada, Jim Avila and Steve Fainaru
SAN DIEGO — Junior Seau, who committed suicide in May, two years after retiring as one of the premier linebackers in NFL history, suffered from the type of chronic brain damage that also has been found in dozens of deceased former players, five brain specialists consulted by the National Institutes of Health concluded.
Seau’s ex-wife, Gina, and his oldest son Tyler, 23, told ABC News and ESPN in an exclusive interview they were informed last week that Seau’s brain had tested positive for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a neurodegenerative disease that can lead to dementia, memory loss and depression.
“I think it’s important for everyone to know that Junior did indeed suffer from CTE,” Gina Seau said. “It’s important that we take steps to help these players. We certainly don’t want to see anything like this happen again to any of our athletes.”
Read the rest of the article on ESPN – click HERE. ESPN videos below:
Other recently released studies have also shown that a disproportionate number of retired players suffer from depression and cognitive problems leading to early onset sementia and Alzheimers:
CBSnews logo

NFL retirees more likely to have depression and cognitive problems, brain study shows

By Ryan Jaslow /January 7, 2013
A new study of NFL players adds to the evidence that repeated head blows absorbed during a football career could lead to changes in the brain that affect the athletes’ behavior.
The study, published Jan. 7 in JAMA Neurology (formerly known as the Archives of Neurology), found retired NFL players were more likely to report cognitive impairment and depression and show physical brain changes on an MRI scan compared to healthy individuals.
“NFL players may be more likely to develop cognitive impairments (problems with memory, naming and word finding) or depression as they age compared with the general population,” wrote the authors, led by Dr. John Hart Jr., medical science director at the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas.
Read the rest of this article on CBS News – click HERE.

The effects of a concussion can last up to two months: study

Dave McGinn
Published Monday, Jan. 07 2013
Here’s one more reason to get your kids out of contact sports: A new study from the University of Oregon has found that the brain continues to show damage from concussions up to two months later.
In the study, high school athletes – most of them football players – who had suffered a concussion were assessed by researchers within 72 hours and then again one week, two weeks, a month and two months later. Each of the 20 students were matched with a non-concussed control subject of the same age, sex, body size and sport.
“After two months following the concussions, these individuals were still significantly impaired in their executive function, compared to the age-matched, activity-matched and gender-matched control populations,” said co-author Louis Osternig, who is a professor emeritus of human physiology and a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine.
Read the rest of this article from The Globe and Mail – click HERE.
Healthfinder logo

Brain Changes Found in Small Study of Former NFL Players

White matter damage could be at the root of mental deficits among retired players, researcher says.
MONDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) — In a small study of former NFL players, about one quarter were found to have “mild cognitive impairment,” or problems with thinking and memory, a rate slightly higher than expected in the general population.
Thirty-four ex-NFL players took part in the study that looked at their mental function, depression symptoms and brain images and compared them with those of men who did not play professional or college football. The most common deficits seen were difficulties finding words and poor verbal memory.
Twenty players had no symptoms of impairment. One such player was Daryl Johnston, who played 11 seasons as fullback for the Dallas Cowboys. During his accomplished career as an offensive blocker, Johnston took countless hits to the head. After he retired in 2000, he wanted to be proactive about his brain health, he told university staff.
All but two of the ex-players had experienced at least one concussion, and the average number of concussions was four. The players were between 41 and 79 years old.
Read the rest of this article from HealthFinder – click HERE.

7 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Henrietta Watson
    January 10th, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

    Sid Watson

    Isn’t it amazing that it has taken so many studies and so much time for so many to decide that when you hit your head, it HURTS! …in so many ways.

    Henrietta Watson
    widow Sid Watson (1932 – 2004)
    Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Redskins
    1955 – 1958

  2. Brian J. Nemeth
    January 10th, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    Brian Nemeth

    While I only played two seasons, I’ve noticed that some players – myself included – concuss easier than others. I also noticed that getting hit in the side of the helmet actually caused me to black out several times. I guess some people use their heads to hit more than others. We were taught in high school to spear! When the body weight changes, so does the head trauma.

    I find myself turning down wrong streets going home. My wife thinks I am fooling around, thank God! I can’t believe it took so long and cost so much to figure it out.

    Brian J. Nemeth
    1976 draft from South Carolina
    to San Francisco 49ers
    (unknown T.E.)

  3. Leslie Hoffman
    January 10th, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

    Leslie Hoffman

    The Federal Government needs to be reminded about TBIs.

    Read more:

    Hillary Clinton ‘thrilled to be back,’ gets football helmet from staff

    Leslie Hoffman

  4. Dr. X
    January 10th, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

    Well, looks like the dam finally broke. Junior Seau’s personal tragedy, along with Jovan Belcher, Dave Duerson and probably so many other players should be recognized for what it is… criminal negligence on the part of the NFL.

    This is the only business where you can shake off your employees after you have rung out their bodies and brains. Lie to them that there is no connection to brain injuries and CTE or dementia (Dr. No was good at that). This type of information has been known since the 1950’s for God’s sake! Yet the NFL kept on lying to its players and denying them their due in terms of benefits, salaries and compensation.

    The NFLPA also bears a great deal of the fault for not protecting their players in a very basic labor dispute and negotiation.

    Dr. X

  5. Theo
    January 10th, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

    I think the AMA is actually to blame for the concussion crisis. The NFL maybe, but primarily the AMA for suppressing treatments and knowledge that would prevent and otherwise heal concussions more rapidly (vitamin C at gut saturation levels, vitamin E and hyperbaric oxygen in very bad cases), particularly in the young. Here’s proof: Buy vitamin C crystals (Trader Joe’s). Figure out the maximum amount you can take (dissolved in water or juice) at one time without it causing diarrhea within two hours. Be accurate. 1/8 tsp can make a difference. That maximum amount is your personal gut saturation amount. Former football players can probably take a lot (like a tablespoon at a time) because of high oxidative stress levels created by the healing brain, the gut will absorb more. May need to work up to higher amounts over months. Take your max amount as frequently as you can each day without causing diarrhea. At least 4 times a day. Take 1000IU of d-alpha-tocopherol vitamin E each day (natural form) along with the vitamin C practice. Then, if you feel ill, take your gut saturation amount of vitamin C. Wait 30 mins. If your symptoms are still present, take the gut saturation amount again. Repeat until symptoms subside. When your symptoms subside, it is proof of a massive conspiracy and mass brainwashing…a war on humanity. The problem, of course, is that this knowledge obsoletes the medical industry. This has been known for decades:

    So football players and others are sacrificed and the proper treatment methods are suppressed. Young players who would practice this method for years before and during playing would not be nearly as susceptible to concussion. Why don’t goats get concussions when they ram heads? Why are we not taught that all animals make huge amounts of vitamin C in their livers when they’re stressed? Humans make no vitamin C because of a genetic flaw common to primates. So our brains are weak at the cellular level, susceptible to concussion and don’t heal nearly as rapidly from impact. That’s the problem. The NFL is actually not entirely to blame – at least not the only organization to blame.


  6. Jeff Watson
    January 16th, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

    Baylor Bears

    I played football for 8 years from high school to pros. I had concussions constantly during my playing years. Coach would say, “Get back in there and be a man!” Well, I did that back then and now I’m paying for it today: Loss of memory, depression, ringing in the ears etc.

    Now trying to get some help from my doctor – we will see what happens.

    Jeff Watson

  7. Ralph Perretta
    January 21st, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

    Ralph Perretta

    I played for almost 20 seasons from Pop Warner thru my NFL days and I got the same crap as you, Jeff. I’ve had my bell rung so many times that the ringing is constant! Har Har!

    Ralph Perretta
    San Diego Chargers
    1975 – 1980