Well, the NFL and the NFLPA and everyone else in between are spinning out a lot of press before Super Bowl weekend so we may as well also post up a couple of new videos to keep things balanced. . Bob Costas had Dr. Daniel Amen as a guest on his Costas Tonight Super Bowl Edition Thursday night. Dr. Amen talked about his clinical brain study of 135 retired football studies and what he learned about the long-term effects of brain injuries. (Dr. Amen’s segment starts at the 44-minute mark.) Bob Costas notes that they also invited the NFL to send in one of their experts but got no response.(You can read our post about the Amen Study from 2010 by clicking HERE.)This episode also featured several retired players including Tony Dorsett and Rodney Harrison, all discussing their own experiences and fears about concussions. And the tide keeps turning… . continue reading »
. 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: . continue reading »
We started the second day of our IFV Conference last April in Las Vegas at the South Point with a panel discussing some of the latest information and studies on concussions, brain damage and current state-of-the-art treatments. Retired 49′er George Visger talks about his personal journey after football to recover some of his lost memory after 9 brain surgeries and years of living out of notebooks to help him remember his daily routines. Dr. William Duncan talks about the latest information on hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT and the current efforts to advance legislation for HBOT in Washington on behalf of veterans and the general public. You can follow along Bill Duncan’s presentation by opening up his PowerPoint presentation while playing the video in the background. (We’ve also included a copy of George Visger’s slideshow below Bill Duncan’s presentation.) .
Terry Bradshaw opened up on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show once again when asked about his injuries and concussions from his years in football. Best stuff starts around 2:30 in this clip from his appearance on June 13th – including a well-deserved plug for The Amen Clinic: .
For a normally quiet time in the off-season, there’s a lot going on. Concussion lawsuits continue to be filed and the latest count indicates there may be over 3,000 retired football players who have filed suits against the NFL to date. We also understand that there may be a possible Statute of Limitation deadline coming up shortly and strongly urge that you get signed up with one of the firms soon if you haven’t done so already. . Let’s start with a Washington Post article on the concussion lawsuits that featured Dr. Daniel Amen: .
NFL concussions lawsuits aim to improve the damaged brain
DANIEL G. AMEN, MD RESPONDS TO JUNIOR SEAU SUICIDE .
“These players need to know there IS help for them!” .
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (May 3, 2012) — While Junior Seau’s apparent suicide breaks the hearts of football fans nationwide, Daniel G. Amen, MD pleads with other football players and athletes that “there’s help from chronic traumatic brain injuries, depression, irritability and memory problems they suffer.” .
Dr. Amen, founder and CEO of Amen Clinics, Inc., and two-time Board Certified psychiatrist has conducted three clinical studies with 115 active and former players from the National Football League. Each study shows that it’s not only possible, it’s likely, that with a brain-directed health protocol, significant improvement can been experienced in decision making, reasoning, depression, mood and memory. .
“Junior Seau was a legend. But even legends cannot escape the ravages of chronic brain damage,” said Dr. Amen, who is the lead researcher on three published studies on NFL players and brain damage. He is also a leading researcher on a brain imaging study called SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) and has looked at over 73,000 scans. .
“My message to the football community is that players need to get their brains examined before they play and after they stop and at any time they get a concussion. I often say how do you know unless you look.” .
Dr. Amen began studying the effects of football on brain health in 1999 when Brent Boyd, a former NFL player came to the Amen Clinics. After Anthony Davis came to the clinic in 2007 his work with active and former NFL players took off. He has partnered with the Los Angeles Chapter of the Retired NFL Players Association to performed the world’s largest brain imaging/brain rehabilitation study. .
“Our studies found significant evidence that, fortunately, there are treatment protocols that can often reverse many of the symptoms caused by brain damage and improve brain function.” The studies include: .
1. Effects of Elevated Body Mass in Professional American Football Players on rCBF and Cognitive Function, Transl Psychiatry (2012) 2, eK, doi:10.1038/tp.2011.67 .
2. Impact of Playing Professional American Football on Long Term Brain Function. Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci 23:1, Winter 2011, 98-106. .
3. Reversing Brain Damage in Former NFL Players: Implications for TBI and Substance Abuse Rehabilitation. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 43 (1), 2011 Online publication date: 08 April 2011 .
“Junior may have damaged his pre-frontal cortex which is responsible for decision making,” Dr. Amen said, also noting that Seau was arrested in 2010 for domestic violence which also may have been a result of poor decision making. “Brain trauma symptoms can appear decades after the playing days and can include dementia, memory loss, violent behavior, obesity, mental illness and depression. And unfortunately, suicide is more common in people who have experienced brain trauma.” . The Amen Clinics, Inc. (ACI) was founded in 1989 by Daniel G. Amen, M.D. Amen Clinics now has locations in Newport Beach and San Francisco, California, Bellevue, Washington and Reston, Virginia (www.amenclinics.com). ACI specializes in using detailed clinical histories, brain imaging, and lab testing for innovative diagnosis and treatment for a wide variety of problems, including weight issues, ADD, anxiety, depression, autistic spectrum disorders, and memory problems. Dr. Amen is a physician, child and adult psychiatrist, brain-imaging specialist, and Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Amen has authored five New York Times bestsellers “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life,” “Change Your Brain, Change Your Body,” “Magnificent Mind At Any Age,” “The Amen Solution” and his latest “Use Your Brain to Change Your Age.” ACI is headquartered at 4019 Westerly Place, #100, Newport Beach, California. For more information, call (888) 564-2700. .
Thanks to our friend, Jennifer Thibeaux, we have a great collection of photographs from our well-attended Second Annual Independent Football Veterans Conference held April 20 – 22 2012 at The South Point Resort in Las Vegas. Videos and PowerPoints to follow shortly! .
Here’s the slideshow from flickr (there’s an enlarge button in the lower right hand corner of the slideshow screen if you want to view our slideshow fullscreen; just hit ESC to close fullscreen mode): .
March 4, 2012 .
On January 6, 2012, I met with Congresswoman Linda Sanchez at her southern California office with Mr. Mike Greenhaulgh, part owner/operator of the Sacramento Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment center where I have been receiving treatments for the last two years, and Dr. William Duncan, President of the Hyperbaric Medical Association and Capital lobbyist. My 49ers teammate, Dan Bunz, and I also met with Senator Ted Gaines on December 27 and February 22, 2012. All the meetings were to address the legality of the NFL’s lack of benefits for its injured employees. Both Congresswoman Sanchez and Senator Gaines are looking into additional Congressional hearings on this matter. .
We are trying to gather solid information to ascertain the status of former employees/players of the NFL. For many years, we have been inundated with mixed information regarding the percentage of former employees/players who actually qualify for NFL retirement benefits, the percentage of former employee/players forced to draw SSI and life expectancy of former employee/players. With you being the President of the NFL Players Association, in charge of securing and overseeing the player’s/employee’s benefits, I am requesting data on the following:
What is the average life expectancy of a former NFL employee/player? Many years ago a letter was issued from the NFL encouraging players to take their retirement benefits early as most would not live to retirement age. This was followed up with a recent survey letters asking if we were still alive. I had been told for years that the average life expectancy of a former NFL employee/player was his late 50’s.
What percentage of all pre-93 employees/players who played in the NFL actually played long enough to reach the 4-year vesting threshold? From what I am reading now, the average NFL career is only 3.2 years. The numbers I was given when I played in 1980 and 1981 was 2-½ years. Surely the NFLPA maintains a roster of all players who were on active rosters at one time or another.
What percentage of employee/players have successfully been approved for SSI? After my 3rd evaluation at Dr. Amen’s clinic January, 2012, I was given a referral to file for SSI as Dr. Amen had me rated at 100% disabled due to frontal lobe dementia and damage to my temporal lobes of my brain.
If a player qualifies for SSI disability, how can he be denied NFL disability? How can the NFL’s disability requirements be higher than those of the general public?
What percentage of employee/players have successfully been approved for Medicare?
How many of Tom Condon’s clients were approved for NFL benefits as opposed to the general number of players who were approved (or declined)?
When did NFL employee/players begin filing for Workers Compensation?
What percentage of NFL employee/players have been approved for Workers Compensation?
EDITOR’S NOTE:George Visger caught up with me on the phone this morning just before arriving at a job site. George is back at work trying hard to help his family recover from losing their home after suffering another near-fatal brain shunt failure last October. George is one of the most remarkably intelligent and resilient guys I’ve ever met and his tenacity comes through in everything he does. I often talk to him about what might have happened with his life had he never played professional football and sustained his life-altering brain damage. He starts off with an answer to John Hogan’s earlier post (click HERE to read John Hogan’s comment). .
From TheUnion.com: George Visger, a Grass Valley resident, shows his 1981 San Francisco 49ers team photo and Super Bowl ring. Visger has undergone nine brain surgeries since he stepped off the football field for the final time.
This past week, we’ve probably seen even more media coverage on concussions than all past years combined. It’s been like a huge tsunami of people, events and timing all converging to drive interest in a subject that’s been hidden away by years of denial. . Terry Bradshaw had already made some side comments publicly last year while he was on the air and just as suddenly as he blurted them out – and as with all things NFL on network television – nothing more was ever brought up again until this past week. Bradshaw mentions his recent visit to the Amen Clinic in Newport Beach as part of Dr. Amen’s continuing studies on concussions and the brain. Here’s the clip from FOX Sports: . Video: Terry talks treatment .
And you can read the full article on MSN/FOX Sports – click HERE.
Dave - . I read that earlier post with the article on Fred McNeil (click HERE) and wanted to thank you and Robert once again for the great tireless job you both do on educating everyone about the real world of professional football. . We’ve discussed this in the past, and after reading more and more posts on your blog from all the players suffering with early symptoms of CTE (short term memory issues, poor judgment, anger management issues, uncontrollable emotions), I would like to reach out to all and compile a database of contacts. I know if we put our collective minds together (or whatever pieces we have that still function), we can share coping mechanisms each of us has learned to live by. I know I have my bag of tricks and would like to share them with everyone. . I hope Fred McNeil (and others) have looked into some of these fairly simple, non-medicinal rehab/recovery processes; these are a few of the things that get me through each day: .
Look into Workers Compensation. California has been allowing claims to be filed if you were injured while playing in the state, even if it’s not your team’s home state. I successfully sued the 49ers for Workers Comp and won in 1986. Since then, I even used Vocational Rehab to return to school to complete my biology degree (1986 – 1990). They will fight you tooth-and-nail over every penny but be relentless. This isn’t a handout. You paid into Workers Comp and earned every penny!
Sleep apnea exam. Ask your wives or significant others if you show symptoms of very loud snoring and long “pauses” in breathing. Inadequate sleep and loss of oxygen when you skip breathing can cause inflammation of neurons and interfere with everyday reasoning and functioning.
If you drink: QUIT. I discovered I was having brain seizures from alcohol several months after my third brain surgery and quit in 1982. I had been arrested 3X in the 8 prior months after my first surgery! A couple beers may seem OK, but can cause short circuits in the brain’s electrical system.
Look into Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment (HBOT). I have had great results with my first 80 treatments. I am beginning to suspect my latest deterioration is associated with my last Shunt malfunction a few weeks ago and will be tested for petit mal seizures. Prior to the malfunction and subsequently stopping the hyperbarics, I was doing better than I have for decades.
Omega-3 fish oil. The brain is mainly made of EPA and DHA which makes up Omega-3 fish oils. While the jury may still out on whether the body uses these to repair damaged brain tissue, even if Omega 3′s are not necessarily used to repair neurological tissues, they’re great for reducing cholesterol. We all know what our diets were like to maintain our weights.
Work simple memory games. Even kids’ games. It’s been proven that you can “exercise your brain” and grow new neurons into areas of the brain which are not damaged. Humans use less than 10% of their brains. Get those brain cells currently sitting on the sidelines into the game!
Change your routines. If you always brush your teeth with your right hand, start using your left. Shake hands with the opposite hand. Changes out of the ordinary force you to concentrate on simple tasks, which in turn causes your brain to construct new neurons into areas of the brain which aren’t being used.
Stay positive. It’s been scientifically proven that if you think you’ll get better, you’ll function better. Something good always comes out of everything and we’re being tested for a reason.
Get mad. It’s time we quit accepting the fact we are used, discarded pieces of meat when the NFL is done with us and it’s time to kick the owners right in the teeth to get their attention. That means hitting them where it hurts – in the pocket book. And to do that, we need our stories out there to get public support. We all need to be forgiving but anger is not a bad thing if used constructively. Let’s use it to motivate ourselves to be proactive.
Don’t be shy. Get your stories out there. In the last year or so since I discovered Dave’s Blog, I have reached out to media and sent in comments on any articles related to football injuries, traumatic brain injuries etc. every chance I get. We need to let the public know what’s going on. Without public support, we’re just a few thousand “millionaire crybabies” in the public’s eyes. Remember: It’s the public who buys the tickets, pays for cable and supports the greedy owners. What we have done up to now hasn’t worked.
Keep plugged into Dave Pear’s Blog. Reach out to as many other discarded NFL players, college players, coaches etc. There’s strength in numbers and a wealth of information to share here. Just knowing that others are dealing with the same issues I’ve had for years has been huge for me. We were all indoctrinated into the mindset that real men/players don’t bitch about their problems. Everyone has a cross to bear. They’re much easier to carry when some of your brothers hoist up a corner.
We were all excited when the NFL finally got rid of Ira “Dr. No” Casson as Co-Chair of the NFL’s “Mild” Traumatic Brain Injury Committee. What surprised us was the selection of Dr. Richard Ellenbogen as co-chair of the newly-named NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee. Dr. Ellenbogen hails from Harborview Medical Center in Seattle as chief of neurological surgery and has been very proactive at the state level in legislation regarding concussions in youth athletics.
Dr. Daniel Amen introduces and summarizes his recent breakthrough study of nearly 100 retired NFL football players’ brains using SPECT scans at his Amen Clinics. This summary chronicles some of the time line and history of how the study came about and the subsequent negative reaction from the NFL. Scientific evidence continues to mount for the case linking brain concussions to long-term brain damage and we can only hope that brain health finally gains a prominent place in all professional sports. . The good news? Dr. Amen and his Director of Research, Dr. Kristen Willeumier, have also been working proactively to develop a tailored regimen of supplements and healthier choices to improve brain function for each of their study participants. And results so far have been very positive.
. We’ve loaded this summary up on Scribd for easier access and viewing. (Click on the FULL SCREEN button to enlarge it for easier navigation – hit the ESC key to close. You can also click the DOWNLOAD button to save a PDF copy for printing and reading.) .continue reading »
Wayne Hawkins has been fighting a losing battle with dementia and his wife, Sharon, finally got him in to the Amen Clinic recently. When she read Larry Kaminski’s recent post about his visit, Sharon sent us an e-mail about Wayne’s visit. She graciously allowed us to share this with all of you. Our thoughts are with you and Wayne, Sharon!