USAToday: Chargers 'devastated' by ex-DB Paul Oliver's suicide at 29    League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis, will air on FRONTLINE on October 8 & 15. Check your local listings    LA Times: Deion Sanders, critic of NFL concussion suits, seeks workers' comp    FOXSports: NFL, players reach proposed $765M settlement of concussion-related lawsuits    Sean Pamphilon's United States of Football in theaters starting Aug 23rd!    Washington Post: Do no harm: Who should bear the costs of retired NFL players’ medical bills?    You can catch all the posts and videos from our recent Third Annual Football Veterans Conference - everything now posted here on Dave's Blog!

Wow! A lot has happened in the past week as we’ve been preparing for our upcoming Conference! We’re edging closer to the vote on AB 1309 in California which will disqualify most professional athletes from Workers Compensation claims in the state. (Click HERE to read the actual bill that’s coming up for a vote as early as next week.)
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More news is coming out about Riddell’s prior knowledge about helmet safety and real their lack of protection from concussions. (Click HERE to read the latest piece from PBS Frontline.)
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And the behind-the-scenes story is also now emerging about the fight for Junior Seau’s brain after he committed suicide. (Click HERE to read that article also on PBS Frontline.)
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Then we have the NFL Alumni pushing a wide press release about a new miracle drug that will not only be an antidepressant but also possibly heal your brain with new stem cells. Only problem is that this drug is from a relatively new company that’s only beginning early-stage trials that only require a few participants and not the thousands that the Alumni (NFL) seems to be wanting to enlist for some strange reason. Retired players will need all the information they can get if they’re to make an informed decision on whether or not to participate in this – or any drug trial – as we continue to move forward with the concussion lawsuits.
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And the NFL Films lawsuit will now be moving into the notification stage to all players involved in the class. We’ll be having representatives from both sides of the Settlement Offer to present their arguments on Saturday so you can make an informed decision.
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We’ll be covering each of these new topics with experts from their fields at our IFV Conference. Watch for live posts and videos during the two days of discussions. And if you can make it down to Las Vegas, we can promise this will be the most informative two days that retired football players won’t want to miss.
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Watch this Blog for more details.
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Charity Begins at Home

18 February 2013

Like the old saying goes, “Charity Begins at Home.” Americans are among the most generous people in the world. Recently, a list was published that actually listed some of the top nonprofits in America and the compensation that their respective CEO’s collected for leading those organizations. It was an eye-opener to see that the CEO’s of certain so-called nonprofits were paid in the millions annually, while others only collected token salaries more in line with their charitable missions. For example, the former head of the Boy Scouts of America was paid over $1 million while the COO of the American Cancer Society almost made $1 million last year. In contrast, the head of the Salvation Army took home a relatively paltry $130,000.
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Here’s a snapshot from Charity Watch showing some of their Top 25 Nonprofit CEO Salaries:
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Nonprofit Salaries
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The top salary on this list from 2012 was $2 million+ to Peter Cordeiro who heads the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. You can view the rest of the chart by clicking HERE.
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And how much closer to home than Roger Goodell and the NFL? It’s only becoming more widely known that the NFL operates as a 501 (c) 6 nonprofit, with all the special benefits that a nonprofit enjoys. And keep in mind that many years ago, they also received an antitrust exemption from Congress.
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You may remember a post we featured last year in July 2011 from Alison Owens, wife of former Charger Terry Owens (click HERE to read that post). Sadly, Terry passed away at home on October 27, 2012 at the age of 68. Terry had only recently been approved for the NFL’s 88 Plan and his wife Alison wasn’t able to find a facility that could give Terry the round-the-clock care he needed in his final years of suffering from dementia. His brain tissue was donated to Sports Legacy Institute to confirm the likelihood of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Our thoughts and prayers go out to Alison and her family.
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Of course, the NFL continues to promote their great new concussion rules even as more and more stories of “undetected” concussions surface every day during the current season. And then you have players like Brady Quinn, who still “think” (for lack of a better word) that they can play through a concussion even after putting on the wrong helmet while sitting on the sidelines.

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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.)
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Hyperbarics for Athletes Dr Bill Duncan from robertinseattle

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Posted with the express consent of Evan Weiner:

THE BUSINESS AND POLITICS OF SPORTS
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Saturday, 19 May 2011
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BY EVAN WEINER
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
COMMENTARY
In 1905, United States President Theodore Roosevelt used the power of the bully pulpit by ordering the Presidents of Harvard, Yale and Princeton to the Oval Office so that the heads of the three schools would work together to clean up the game of football. There was some thought that President Roosevelt could actually ban the game although history suggests that Roosevelt liked football but was aware that new rules needed to be imposed to make football safe.
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In 1905, eighteen players died from injuries that were suffered on the field while another 149 were reported to have serious injuries. Roosevelt’s pressure produced a number of changes including the introduction of the forward pass, the distance to be gained for a first down increased from five to ten yards and all mass formations and gang tackling were banned.
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Roosevelt’s Oval Office meeting would eventually led to the formation of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and college football would grow in popularity with significant attention being paid to the college game coming in the 1920s.
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The game of football is again being scrutinized but neither the President of the United States not Congress is leading the charge. Instead more than a thousand former players are suing the National Football League claiming the league didn’t inform them of the risks of playing football and that they have suffered life altering injuries because of their service to the game.
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In some quarters the football industry looks to be under siege but it is hard to see how that is the case. Municipalities are still throwing money into building football facilities with the latest set of politicians being in St. Paul, Minnesota where the legislature and Governor Mark Dayton are willing to give the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings franchise at least a half a billion in taxpayers’ dollars to build a new stadium for the team. Cable TV networks are willing to fork over big dollars for college football and the public likes football. But there are some warning signs out there.
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“I think it is wrong to characterize it as under siege,” said Steve Hatchell, the President and CEO of the National Football Foundation. “The game has always been under siege. The whole aspect that we are talking about is that there are not hundreds but thousands of kids that are playing football that go on to have unbelievable lives of leadership, great productivity and do great things in our society.
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“The problem is that nobody really wants to listen to that. So it was as you talk about guys who played the game, guys who have been in the pros who do not have head injuries. That’s a whole separate story that needs to be addressed and needs to be juxtaposed to what you would call are the issues.
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“The issues themselves like concussions need to be addressed and it is being addressed. There are a lot of very fine people looking at that. Is it concussions, is it depression. Are there other aspects of this thing that require a great study?
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“So I think that there are a lot of ways to look at this that are far greater in their expanse than what is being looked at right now. The game has never been hotter, it has never been more than it has been accepted right now and there has never been a time where there are fantastic people playing the game who want to do great things in life.
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“We work hard to try to get that story out there, it’s just that nobody wants to listen to that.”
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In 1905, Harvard President Charles Eliot, who was no friend of Roosevelt, led the charge to ban football.
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One hundred seven years later, no one is calling for a ban on football but some people like former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman question how viable football might be in 20 years. But football’s vitality was questioned in 1905 as well.
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“It is not the same,” said Hatchell of the public debate in 1905 and the stories that are now coming out on the safety of the game from former players who were on the field in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and in the 21st century. “I think it is easy to draw it back into 1904 and say you got those issues. I think you can come up with a lot of statistics. There is football being played in a very intensive way all around the country, not just in the Ivy League where President Roosevelt had that concern. There were also other issues. Some of those kids who were in school at that time weren’t really in school or if there were there, there were basically as professional people.
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“It’s one of the reasons that the NCAA rule book is as big as it is. It is because of the rules that were violated or things that weren’t been done by Ivy League schools back in the early 1900s. I think now we are better equipped to take on the issues. I think we are better equipped to examine them than ever before. We will in a negative society where things are wrong and then you got to prove it backwards. We don’t tilt at that. We don’t think it is anywhere near where it was in 1904. There is better coverage on it right now of everything that goes on than what was ever before. So the negative find a good voice where the positives don’t find a voice at all. So I don’t think it is a fair comparison to go back to that span of time because it was very different and it is very different right now.
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“But the game now isn’t like it was then. We put a guy in the (College Football) Hall of Fame (William Lewis) from the late 1800s from Harvard who had already played at several different schools. He created the neutral zone. There were things like neutral zones or – this was a different kind of a game – it was very, very violent. The game is violent now and it has always been violent.
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“You don’t have to play the game of football if you don’t want to play it. Our whole point is, if you are going to examine the people who are playing the game who have the problems now, you also have to examine the guys who are playing the games now or in the past that didn’t have any issues. You got to have balance and there isn’t that balance out there right now.”
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So far, only former NFL players are threatening football’s structure and they are a fraction of the number of players who have been on the football field since the first college game between Princeton and Rutgers in 1869. On the horizon though is the potential for an onslaught of lawsuits from former players who performed on just the high school level or on the high school and college level. There is no question that public education in the United States is under attack from various interest groups and that school budgets have been slashed with music and the arts being eliminated. It could be that an expensive sport like football or hockey may face severe cuts because of higher insurance premiums and the fear of catastrophic injuries. Around the country, high school football is king but will it remain that way?
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“Oh sure, I think you have to look at all of those,” said Hatchell talking about the future of high school football in the United States. “But there have already made that decision in a lot of places to do away with band, anything that happens to be after school, not just football. Football is an easy one to target because there are a lot of expenses involved and you make up the rule that it is too dangerous or you are not getting the right coaching. It’s pretty convenient as opposed to how do how do you make it really work?
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“We (Hatchell) live in the state of Texas and high school football is not dropping off in the state of Texas. It has never been bigger. It has never been more significant than it is before. I think to say expenses are the way or the reasons to do away with things is wrong. Money is incredibly tight but we are talking about education and the other half of education that the High School Federation talks about. You got what you are doing in school and what you are doing after school and I think we need to have both in this society and I think they both have to be promoted. There are ways to get that done and we (the National football Foundation) work carefully with a lot of school districts around the country that try to keep football alive and well. It takes a lot of work.
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“Football is still awfully strong whether you are in Seattle or Washington or New Jersey football is pretty good football right now. I think there are great outposts of it around the country. Our whole point is this: Yes, let’s highlight what is negative and what needs to be repaired but on the other hand let’s highlight as well with the same passion, the good things that are happening in the game and the benefits that the kids have about going to colleges and doing a lot of other things. I think we can take advantage of that.”
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Football is a collision sport and not a contact sport. But that may not be the underlying problem for the future of football.
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“I think the bigger threat isn’t cost or injuries or anything to football,” said Hatchell. “I think it is the varied interests that kids have today. One of the burgeoning sports in the state of Texas today is lacrosse. Now it is a very big sport in the state of Texas. I think because of coverage and the coaching, there are a whole lot of other sports that are going to be emphasized greatly, the kids are going to have, they will not be limited to three of sports like when we were growing up. I think in 20 years (if football’s popularity wanes) it would be due to a general lack of interest as opposed to anything that has to be with injuries and other things. I think interests change and people move on.”
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Evan Weiner, the winner of the United States Sports Academy’s 2010 Ronald Reagan Media Award, is an author, radio-TV commentator and speaker on “The Politics of Sports Business.” His book, “The Business and Politics of Sports, Second Edition” is available at www.bickley.com or amazonkindle. He can be reached at evanjweiner@yahoo.com
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For the Record

14 May 2012

On Sunday, the Denver Post published an article and interview I did last week with sports journalist, Terry Frei. Over the course of our conversation which mostly covered the issues of injuries and concussions and the subsequent consequences of the League’s general attitude of denial at all levels. (A link to that article is at the bottom of this post.) At one point in our conversation, I told Terry, “The concussion issue, if not handled right, has the potential to end football.” (My emphasis.) What I did NOT say was that the concussion issue would end football. No sooner than Terry’s article was posted, then the other media and bloggers immediately re-wrote the story and started to misquote me. The worst misquote? NFL.com with this headline: Ex-player Dave Pear says concussion issue could end NFL. Not really what I said at all.
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Most of our readers know that my long battle has always been about legal and open access to OUR earned pension and disability benefits. And any resolution on concussions will need to address three separate groups of players: Past, Present and Future. (By the way, you might remember that this slogan used to be on all our NFLPA membership cards.) Each of the retired players who played will need to have direct access to their benefits that should include testing and treatments from their football-related concussions and brain damage, as well as access to assisted care and monitoring in later years. There is no doubt that most of the earlier players from the 50′s and 60′s were not given the safest equipment during their playing careers. It was even more about the money back then than it is today – just ask the men who played on the original hard surfaces of Astro Turf about the toll it took on their bodies and their heads. All for the savings the owners made from not having to maintain real turf. And they went on strike in the late 50′s and early 60′s not for more money but to make the owners pay for their uniforms and equipment.
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For the present-day players, the addition of independent neurologists on the sidelines certainly helps, along with better-defined rules to ensure that concussed players don’t return to the game unless cleared by experts (no more Dr. No’s). Many of the new rules are a good step in the right direction. Newer treatments such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) are being shown to shorten recovery while helping with healing to the damage that concussions leave behind. Even if owners are more concerned about profits, the ROI on getting a million-dollar-a-year asset back on the field in half the normal time makes pure business sense. And while the League is at it, a great PR move would be to allow retired players free access to these hyperbaric chambers when they’re not being used by the team.
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For future players, any improvements in the rules and knowledge gained from players past and present can only serve to provide them with a much safer game while still preserving the game of football as we know and love it. But if we’re going to save football, players from the past, present and future will need to work together in order to help protect each other first. Current and future players owe the retired players a priceless debt for the sacrifices they paid with their bodies and brains – as well as the long years of denial – to get to this point where there is finally a serious discussion on something that affects us all. The players of the future will surely also benefit from the way the game is shaped for today’s players.
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Ex-NFL player Dave Pear seeks to change league policy on concussions

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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!
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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):
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From Top Business Degrees: A numbers analysis of professional sports. Of course, football tops the list and generates nearly as much as MLB AND NBA combined. And as most of us already know – especially after BountyGate exposed the tip of the iceberg – gambling makes up the largest piece of the big picture. Just one more topic to discuss at our upcoming Conference in Las Vegas April 20 – 22 – click HERE to register.
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The Business of Sports

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