This weekend’s top stories regarding health and safety issues involving football:
* Newsday wrote about former New York Giants linebacker Harry Carson in spreading the word about concussion awareness.
“I was asked two years ago to be a lead complainant by a law firm in New York, but it wasn’t something I was looking to do,” Carson said in an interview with Newsday. “Some of my old teammates called me and said, ‘Why haven’t you joined the lawsuit?’ I told them it’s better for me not to so I can continue to deliver the message, what can be done to help players once they’ve sustained concussions. Those are the ones who need help.” But why not join the lawsuit, which could lead to billions of dollars paid out by the NFL to players who suffered head trauma during their careers? ”Because people will think that I’m only speaking out for my own financial well-being,” said Carson, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006 after playing his entire career from 1978-88 with the Giants. “It’s more important for me to deliver the message but allow it to stay pure and not have it be influenced by money.”
* New York Times op-ed columnist Joe Nocera took on the subject of youth football participation in light of concussion studies.
As I discovered after talking to a number of brain researchers who are studying C.T.E., the science really isn’t able to make that definitive claim — at least not yet. What we know for sure is that multiple concussions can lead to C.T.E. Dr. Ann McKee, a co-director at Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, recently published a study with colleagues that examined, posthumously, brain samples of 85 people who had repeated mild brain trauma as opposed to concussions. Some 80 percent of them, the study found, showed evidence of C.T.E. Does this mean that football players are more likely to get C.T.E., just because of the relentless pounding they take? Yes, says McKee: “Exposure to the sport itself is associated with this disease.” (UNC researcher Kevin) Guskiewicz, however, is not yet convinced. “Studies like that clearly show that C.T.E. exists in players without a history of concussions, but they haven’t completely connected the dots. It’s a little like saying that if there are a rash of ankle sprains on a tennis team, and they all wear Nike tennis shoes, then the tennis shoes must be the culprit.”
* The Quincy Patriot-Ledger reported on the concussion rates for women compared to men.
* A columnist with the National Post wrote about the documentary “Head Games” and how it makes you look differently at head injuries.
* The Ingram (Mich.) County Chronicle reported on the new protocols the state passed with its new concussion laws.
* Philadelphia Flyers prospect Andrew Johnston has suffered a concussion, according to the BroadStreetHockey.com.
– Bill Bradley, contributing editor