NFL HEALTH AND SAFETY UPDATE -JANUARY 23, 2013
NFL, USA Football host forum on Heads Up Football for parenting writers and bloggers
Last week, the NFL and USA Football hosted more than 40 bloggers and writers who focus on health and parenting issues for an open forum on USA Football and its Heads Up Football initiative.
Participants learned more about the program, its progress in its pilot year, and plans to expand the program in its second year. Speakers included USA Football Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck, USA Football Player Safety Coach Michael Brandt, Sandi Brown, the parent of a youth football player participating in Heads Up Football, and Jeff Miller, NFL Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Public Policy.
Dr. Elizabeth Pieroth, PSY.D., ABPP, Head Injury Consultant, Chicago Bears; Neuropsychologist, NorthShore University HealthSystem then lead the group in a discussion on youth sports safety, where bloggers shared their feedback on the difficulties of implementing change in their communities; the pressures on youth athletes to excel at sports at increasingly younger ages; qualified medical personnel on sidelines at youth sporting events; and the risk and reward of sports participation.
As Jessica Cohen, a blogger from Found the Marbles wrote of the event, “The National Football League understands the popularity of its sport and has accepted this as a social responsibility to take on the difficult topics of total health and safety…the bottom line is that in addition to all of the incredible work that the NFL and USA Football are doing with regards to youth health and safety, parent and player involvement is vital to the reduction of concussions.”
New study reports signs of CTE in living athletes
A study released this week by researchers from UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior and the NorthShore Neurological Institute reported signs of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in living former NFL players.
According to USA Today, “The investigators admit the study was small and more research is needed, but it is a potential breakthrough in fighting a disease that has been only diagnosed after death.”
“The hope would be if you could identify them while they are in the early states that they could be treated,’” Dr. Julian Bailes, co-author of the report, told USA Today.
Dr. Richard Ellenbogen, co-chair of the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee, commented on the study, saying “This is promising work that we will evaluate. We appreciate that the researchers were honest about the limitations of the study as well as being excited about the findings.”
To read the full USA Today story, click here.
Study reports traumatic brain injury does not increase risk of dementia
A recent study led by a researcher from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai indicated that a history of traumatic brain injury (TBI) with loss of consciousness is not associated with an elevated risk for developing dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease. The paper was published recently in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.
“There is a lot of conflicting information in the literature about the link between TBI and dementia,” said Kristen Dams-O’Connor, PhD, first author of the study and an Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “The findings from this study do not support the commonly held belief that TBI leads to dementia.”
To read the paper, click here.
Honolulu high school football players learn about health and safety at NFL-USA Football Clinic during Pro Bowl Week
Football players from Farrington High School will participate in a health and safety clinic on Jan. 25 at Farrington High School in Honolulu, as part of NFL activities during Pro Bowl Week. USA Football representatives will present on concussion awareness, heat and hydration safety and the USA Football Heads Up Tackling program. Representatives from Riddell will be on hand to teach the players about proper helmet fitting practices. Following the event, the NFL will provide Farrington High School players with new helmets.
– NFL Communications