July 25, 2017

111 NFL Brains Examined By Neuropathologist: All but one were found to have CTE.

posted by beaverboard to football at 12:24 PM - 5 comments

Is horrifying a strong enough word?

posted by tommytrump at 01:15 PM on July 25

As someone who has a bachelor's degree in mathematics, I can unequivocally state that this is strictly a statistical fluke, and in no way should anyone be able to infer that playing in the NFL can cause CTE. To do so would be to fly in the face of science and common sense. If anything, the NFL should consider suing this neuropathologist for the potential public relationship nightmare this has opened up for them.

Now, if you'll excuse me I have to go to my bank and cash this outrageously large donation cheque for my I've received for my think tank from a kind citizen named...[reading cheque] "Roger Woodell".

posted by grum@work at 02:00 PM on July 25

The family of the only N.F.L. player without C.T.E. in Dr. McKee's study did not authorize her to publicly identify him.
Probably just as well.

posted by Etrigan at 03:26 PM on July 25

The New York Times has managed to sensationalize the headline by quoting the raw numbers without including the qualifying statement that appears later in the article. In Dr. McKee's words and with more explanation in the article:

<<"There's a tremendous selection bias," she has cautioned, noting that many families have donated brains specifically because the former player showed symptoms of C.T.E.

But 110 positives remain significant scientific evidence of an N.F.L. player's risk of developing C.T.E., which can be diagnosed only after death. About 1,300 former players have died since the B.U. group began examining brains. So even if every one of the other 1,200 players had tested negative which even the heartiest skeptics would agree could not possibly be the case the minimum C.T.E. prevalence would be close to 9 percent, vastly higher than in the general population.>>

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to cast the study in a bad light. I'm merely complaining about the tendency of some media to make more of a story that it deserves. The problem is that this story deserves a lot of attention, and there is a real problem there. But when the NYT screams loudly, a lot of doubters will automatically reject the numbers as being in error or being "cooked" in some manner. Thus many will not read beyond the headline before the nay-saying begins.

It is now apparent that the NFL cannot continue to function as it is. It almost looks like as more padding and "better" helmets are introduced, the number and severity of injuries increases. Does the better equipment give players a false sense of security? The players are bigger, stronger, and faster than before. How does this contribute? I would like to see if this problem exists in rugby. The players wear minimal head protection and no pads to speak of. The rules of rugby tend to eliminate the high speed collisions we see in football, but there are still plenty of hits.

Another thing that needs to be done, or at least needs more attention, is the nature of head injuries and the sort of injury that produces CTE. Is a hit to the side of the head worse than a direct straight on hit? What about twisting motions or the sudden back and forth motion associated with whiplash? Much more is needed, and perhaps the NFL (and the NHL that seems to have its own problem with head injuries) could do the right thing and begin funding some research.

Here endeth the sermon.

posted by Howard_T at 12:09 AM on July 26

John Urschel has decided to retire so he can pursue an advanced degree. Not just any advanced degree either. Hopefully, he's getting out soon enough.

posted by beaverboard at 01:46 PM on July 27

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