EDITOR’S NOTE: We’re completing our schedule for our upcoming Third Annual Independent Football Veterans Conference once again at the South Point Resort in Las Vegas next month May 3 – 5. We’re going to start posting announcements about our list of prominent panelists who will be flying in to speak and interact with our attendees. Today, we’re very excited to officially announce one of our Brain Injury panelists. As always, there is no attendance fee for retired players and their guests and approved media (and we won’t be playing golf either!). But you have to book your travel arrangements NOW and register for your admission badges before rates go up. Links to signing up are at the end of this post.
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CTEThe term most used today in football brain injuries is CTE: Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. More and more of you retired players have been reading and hearing this term used in the concussion lawsuits and sports reporting as it continues to make its way into our daily conversations. For those of you still unfamiliar with the terms CTE and tau protein, here’s the definition from Wikipedia:
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Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a form of encephalopathy that is a progressive degenerative disease, which can only be definitively diagnosed postmortem in individuals with a history of multiple concussions and other forms of head injury. The disease was previously called dementia pugilistica (DP), as it was initially found in those with a history of boxing. CTE has been most commonly found in professional athletes participating in American football, ice hockey, professional wrestling and other contact sports who have experienced repetitive brain trauma. It has also been found in soldiers exposed to a blast or a concussive injury,[1] in both cases resulting in characteristic degeneration of brain tissue and the accumulation of tau protein. Individuals with CTE may show symptoms of dementia, such as memory loss, aggression, confusion and depression, which generally appear years or many decades after the trauma.
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This is one of the best chronologies of the NFL’s history of denial on the long-term effects of brain injuries and concussions. While it only starts with 1992 following the death of Mike Webster, we’re hoping that The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates will research and develop an earlier timeline to show just how far back this coverup actually goes.
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Concussion coverage continues to take center stage in mid-season as ESPN keeps digging deeper into the contradictory position the League continued to take on the long-term damages of brain injuries from a career in football. Mark Fainaru-Wada reports on the findings of a joint ESPN Outside the Lines and PBS Frontline investigation. Dave’s concussion lawsuit attorney Jason Luckasevic was part of a discussion panel with ESPN’s Outside the Lines this past Friday – here’s the audio:
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And here’s an earlier OTL video from back in February 2012 with background on the growing concussion lawsuits being filed:
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Then there’s a very recent clip from ESPN discussing the “smoking gun” that could damage the NFL’s claims of ignorance about concussions even as the Disability Board unanimously approved three disability claims based on concussion injuries suffered by players – all while denying the majority of similar claims by publicly disavowing any connection of long-term damages from concussions and brain injuries. Hall of Famer Mike Webster is the most prominent of those three approved claims with a $1.8 million settlement to his estate after giving the NFL and its Disability Plan a sound beating in the appeals process.
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And the article from Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada at ESPN:
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Mixed messages on brain injuries

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Patrick Hruby: Game Over

5 September 2012

Posted with the express permission of Patrick Hruby and with acknowledgement to SportsEarth.com.
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by Patrick Hruby
August 29, 2012
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The hotel restaurant was closed. So we ate at the bar. It was early August, and I was in town visiting a former NFL lineman. Call him Max. It’s better not to use his real name.
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During his time in football, Max was hit in the head. A lot. He since has endured nine brain surgeries. He has trouble remembering things. Serious trouble, like the main character in the movie “Memento.” Max and I were both carrying notepads, but for different reasons.
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Bob Kuechenberg 2012 - credit Jennifer Thibeaux

Bob Kuechenberg 2012 – credit Jennifer Thibeaux

Herb Adderley, John Mackey, Mike Webster, Andre Waters. And the carnage goes on and on and on.
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Unless and until the 21st Century NFL undergoes a sea change – a total paradigm shift toward actually caring for their beloved 20th Century warriors – I have no interest in being associated with the NFL in any way, including the erstwhile noble idea of its Hall of Fame
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I am, however, keenly interested in contributing to bring into the American public’s consciousness the unbelievably shameful travesty known as the “NFL Retired Players Pension.
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I want to bring lasting attention to the deplorable and deliberate manner in which the NFL owners have set up a “maze” of red tape designed to prevent the hundreds – if not thousands – of living former NFL warriors from “having a life after football.
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Posted with the express consent of Evan Weiner:

THE BUSINESS AND POLITICS OF SPORTS
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Click to enlarge

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For Gregg, Dave and all the wounded brothers out there –

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After several serious hits viewed by millions during many games last week, the League is now preparing to make an announcement about suspensions for illegal hits (but of course, they also continue to allude to an 18-game season out of the other side of their mouths). The issue of concussions does not appear to be going away any time soon. That said, the only thing mentioned so far for the older retired players is that the League is now discussing expansion of its Plan 88 coverage with the Union. While it may be a good gesture, we want to point out that Plan 88 is primarily focused on the needs of those players who have already progressed into more advanced – and more obvious stages – of dementia or related brain damage. In other words, you and your families will have to suffer through denials of disability benefits and the devastating costs on your own until you’re finally in a position to “prove” that you’ve been damaged over the years from football.

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I feel for the “terror” today’s players must be facing regarding a work stoppage. (To read the Sporting News article ‘NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith: ‘A lot of players are terrified’ about a work stoppage’Click HERE.) Luckily, I was able to support myself and family these last 28 years on the $65,000 plus partial playoff money (another $14,000) I made while a member of San Francisco 49’ers team in ’81. Shoot, if I wasn’t such an economically suave 23-year old when I was injured, I never would have survived the next 7 brain surgeries over the years. (The fact I had to sue for Workers Comp to get brain surgeries #2 and #3 paid did help keep the creditors at bay for a while.)

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Amen, Terry Bradshaw

29 November 2009

Dr No's NFL BandaidsThe NFL doesn’t seem to care about their active players and they despise the retired players! All they offer is lip service to serious, life-changing head injuries. Unless a player is carried off the field on national TV, it’s almost impossible for a retired player to access his earned disability benefits. And his Union is nowhere to be seen when it comes to representing him. The NFL disability system has been illegal and it violates ERISA Law as well as their own plan document!

AAA

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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?

Tony Davis Nebraska vs. Minnesota

Fellow Retirees:

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