ABC’s Martin Bashir and Roxanna Sherwood did a piece on NFL brain concussions on Friday night’s NIGHTLINE. From their post online:
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“Football players are getting bigger. The game is getting faster. Now, the chorus of concern is getting louder. At least four recent studies have raised serious questions about the impact of pro football on the brains of players. But are they being driven mad by the game?

As many of you know, the N.F.L. is currently conducting a study in which 120 former N.F.L. players are undergoing thorough examinations outside New York City to assess their current neurological function. This is not the Michigan phone survey that was recently revealed — this is an in-person, full-day evaluation conducted by Dr. Ira Casson and other physicians.

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A Simple Lesson in Civics

15 October 2009

First of all, we want to congratulate George Martin for his appointment as the Executive Director of the NFL Alumni Association; George was selected from a broad range of talented candidates with hats in the ring. George steps into this newly-created, salaried position at the Alumni. The choice was appropriate and George Martin is well-liked.
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Today’s official NFL press announcement from the Associated Press also included the following warm-and-fuzzy-aw-shucks clip on retired players (really, who actually sits down and writes this crap?):
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The owners also met with George Martin, who has been hired by the NFL Alumni Association, a group that plans to be the lone voice for retired players. Those players have had their representation fragmented by many groups, and Goodell believes working with one organization will be a positive development.
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”One thing I’ve heard coming out of meetings with retired players was that they want an independent organization that is focused entirely on retired players,” Goodell said. ”Now we can have an entity that is independent that can identify issues that are priorities for retired players.
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”Retired players are an asset. They’re wonderful ambassadors for the game, they mean so much to fans. To be able to cooperate with them to provide opportunities for them, this is a great development for us.”
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Read the rest of the article as published in the New York Times by clicking HERE.
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With that, we want to step into a short and simple civics lesson:

Democracy vs. Dictatorship

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60 MinutesWell, I got reminded a little too late tonight that CBS’ 60 Minutes ran Bob Simon’s episode on brain concussions and brain disease tonight and I missed it (like a lot of you out there, I suspect!).

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Once in a while, we run across a piece so well-written and easy-to-understand that to try and improve on it would be a waste of time. The following is a recent post written by Jordan Kobritz in The Seymour Herald (out of Seymour, Tennessee) and we’re posting the entire piece with the kind permission of Herald Publisher Joe Karl.

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Bob –

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Here’s the official NFLPA Press Release on their newly-announced Concussion & TBI Committee. We want to point out that while any movement forward is always a good thing, sometimes you have to look at what’s NOT said as much as what IS said. Read the announcement carefully and you’ll notice that they say they’re concerned about taking care of CURRENT players who are injured and they also want to study the effects to reduce or eliminate brain injuries and concussions.

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Last Thursday, I made the trip down to the Amen Clinic in Newport Beach for my scheduled brain scan. Dr. Kristen Willeumier was there to greet me and helped me to understand the entire process involved with my brain scan. They did some tests on mental acuity and Dr. Amen happened to be at his main clinic between road trips for his current book tour and managed to take some time to meet personally with me as well. The entire experience was easy and relaxed and I was back on a plane heading home to Seattle that evening.

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Bob Grant at The SummitFor the first time, the NFL and the NFLPA extended an invitation to “The Independent Retired Players” to attend and participate in a meeting called to discuss the problems that continue to plague Retirees. Bob Grant, an Independent Activist and Advocate for our cause, was asked to attend on behalf of the Retired Players.

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Valerie Thomas

In January 2009, four Congressmen signed and sent a letter to the Department of Labor about concerns of the integrity of the NFLPA election process. At the behest of his daughter Mary, Congressman Jim Moran looked into the matter.

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An incredibly powerful story on football-related brain concussions was recently published in GQ Magazine. The article – titled Brain Game – was written by Jeanne Marie Laskas and covers a lot of ground in how a Pittsburgh pathologist’s research into Mike Webster’s cause of death in 2002 caught the attention of the NFL and its owners to the point where they’re trying once more to bury and/or discredit the studies. If you thought you knew enough about brain injuries, this is one story that will open your eyes and make you mad!

And if this chilling article finally gets to each of you and you haven’t already heard, the Amen Clinic is currently offering free brain scans and followup analysis as part of their new independent study on the impact of brain concussions in the NFL. We need 100 of you guys to sign up so this detailed study can be completed and publicized immediately.

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Harry Carson Bust Donald

Harry & Donald Carson

At a time when former players are communicating more than ever and becoming better informed on the various issues involving “us,” I want to urge all players to take advantage of the available resources being offered. Regardless of where you stand on the issues of retired players there is one thing I emphatically know for certain. We all subjected ourselves to hits or blows to the head! Whether it was in practice or in games, we all were subjected to head trauma. Personally, I was diagnosed in 1990 with Post Concussion Syndrome. The date is significant because it was 2 years after I left football and was deemed to be a permanent condition. For almost 20 years now I know what I’ve been dealing with and I have my ways to manage it. Unfortunately, I know so many former players who never thought of the head traumas they sustained as a player but are now having serious neurological issues (depression, mood swings, sensitivity to noise/lights, forgetfulness, etc.) well into the next phase of their lives.

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Another Light Bulb Goes Off!

24 September 2009

lightbulb

It just finally really sank in that Gene Upshaw’s widow was apparently paid a $14 million lump sum directly out of the NFLPA’s bank account when he passed on to a new life (!). As a businessman, I started wondering why that money was paid directly out of the NFLPA’s coffers and not by an insurance policy that they should have had in place for a key employee like most normal businesses usually have? With any of the businesses I’ve started over the years, my investors typically sleep better knowing that there’s an insurance policy on my life to allow the Company to replace me as CEO in case something happens to me. And I also typically negotiate a separate policy that will provide for my family as part of the package. This happens in businesses across the country every day, regardless of whether they’re privately held or public companies. This is common business practice and I doubt if even Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, would argue with that. continue reading »

Another Year of Great Benefits

23 September 2009

Dave Disability Denial

I just received the current renewal form for my annual membership in the NFLPA Retired Players. For belonging, most of us retired players actually only receive an annual membership directory and a fancy plastic wallet card claiming how the NFL supports Past – Present – Future (yeah, right!). continue reading »