Saturday, November 15, 2014

President Obama, CTE and the NFL

President Obama, Adrian Peterson, Reggie McKenzie, Jim Brandstatter and Thom Darden

An article published in the November 9, 2014 edition of The New York Times Magazine, focused on the coming settlement over brain injuries in the NFL and suggested the likelihood of forthcoming legal and regulatory nightmares. For a few facts: 1. There are 1.2 7 million lawyers in the US or one for every 300 Americans 2. Dr. Omalu performed an autopsy on Mike Webster and found that he suffered from a degeneration of tissue and other markers of decline usually present only in people much younger. 3. In this doctors published study, he found evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) – football, caused irreversible brain damage. 4. The NFL filed documents in federal court and estimated that 28% of retired players eligible for settlement will develop long-term cognitive deficiencies, many of them at a statistically younger age. 5. Current NFL players Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, college player Jameis Winston, high school players from Sayreville, New Jersey are all in the news for their inappropriate behaviors. 6. A proposed settlement with the NFL has set aside about $765 million for brain injured players-NFL’s total liability paid out over decades may not rise much beyond 1 billion.

Perhaps, as result of research regarding brain injuries in football even Pres. Obama said that if he had boy children, and he would not allow them to play football. And in California, a law was passed barring state middle school and high school teams from conducting full contact practices for more than three hours a week during the season. Physical contact is not allowed at all in the off-season. And between 2010 and 2012, Pop Warner, the nation’s largest youth football program lost about 10% participation. An unnamed family member said he would not allow his 10-year-old play football but has him involved in club wrestling and raves when his son wrestles older and bigger kids. I just had to add that fact.

The New York Times writer went on to suggest that football might become like the tobacco industry .This industry it’s lost many US smokers (about 18% of American adults smoke) and that there are very few places or locations where an individual can smoke. He’s suggesting there are going to be more regulations and lawsuits, which is good for the attorneys.

Currently, as far as the number of people watching TV programs on the 2013 list, only the Academy Awards broadcast at number 7 broke into the top 10. The other nine most-watched TV programs were NFL related.

Joe DeLamielleure was mentioned as a client of one of the attorneys in the article. Joe was a teammate of Reggie McKenzie of the Buffalo Bills. Reggie and I talked at length about his life, both past and current. Although, Reggie has some physical problems, he never mentioned other symptoms.  I did not conduct a mental status evaluation with him.

Thom Darden played with the Cleveland Browns. Thom and I spoke about physical impairments and conditioning only. Once again I did not conduct a mental status evaluation with him. If the reader is at all concerned about the dangers of football, I especially refer you to the chapters on Reggie and Thom. Although Jim Brandstatter did not play professional football, he is still the radio voice for the Detroit Lions and the Michigan Wolverines. Just listen to him on the radio to determine if he still has it.

From the players that I have interviewed, not one has said that they wouldn’t have played the game of football. So if they had, do overs, football would be on the list.

This is a bye week for the Wolverines. Practice well and prepare for Maryland on November 22, 2014. Do you remember what happened on November 22, 1969?

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