Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Long Term Effects

A new study "commissioned by the NFL" found that Alzheimer’s or other similar memory-related diseases occur at a greater rate in NFL players than the general public:
...have been diagnosed in the league’s former players vastly more often than in the national population — including a rate of 19 times the normal rate for men ages 30 through 49.

While this is a good first step for the NFL to recognize the relationship between repetitive concussions and long-term changes in the brain, they are not quite ready to accept these findings:
An N.F.L. spokesman, Greg Aiello, said in an e-mail message that the study did not formally diagnose dementia, that it was subject to shortcomings of telephone surveys and that “there are thousands of retired players who do not have memory problems.”

“Memory disorders affect many people who never played football or other sports,” Mr. Aiello said. “We are trying to understand it as it relates to our retired players.”

So, if I understand Aiello's logic: there are many people who get in car accidents and do not have head injuries, and there are many people who have head injuries from activities other than car accidents... therefore, car accidents and head injuries may not be related?

I hope this relationship gets cleared up before we start seeing Collegiate athletes experiencing brain changes as well. Anyone who saw Florida QB Tim Tebow sustain a concussion and then vomit on the sidelines has to wonder when the NFL and NCAA will realize that these severe concussions will have a cumulative effect. Fortunately, it appears that he is receiving proper treatment, including:
...daily testing and we continue to monitor the resolution of his symptoms.... "I talked to him for a minute," (Coach) Meyer said. "This isn't like a turf toe or a shoulder, this is a concussion."... According to Meyer, Tebow is not allowed to read or watch television "until later in the week -- maybe Thursday."