• Barbara Moran

    Barbara Moran, Senior Science Writer

    Barbara Moran is a science writer in Brookline, Mass. Profile

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There are 16 comments on CTE Found in 99 Percent of Former NFL Players Studied

  1. Roger the Clowns hopes and dreams of Tuesday Night Football are evaporating as we speak. The Weak Coward makes 44,000,000 a year and run is M I A when it comes to players Brain Injuries. The Commish needs to loose the Skirt and be a man and address the Issue. What an absolute fake Human Being.

  2. The heading of this story is completely misleading. The study bases its research off of donated brains, which are most likely from families that saw signs of CTE. Thus the sample size of brains is skewed towards people who showed indications of CTE. When developing these stories, you should be more conscientious of providing a full picture of the story in the header rather than providing a partial picture.

    1. Agree with Andrew Freed — and the NYT article on this suffers from the same sensationalization. Also like the NYT, it’s great that you devote a paragraph to limitations of the study, but this effort is totally undermined by an overstated headline. This is not to cast any doubt on the prevalence of CTE among football players, but speaking more generally, science journalists need to take responsibility for their potential to mislead the public. Nobody wants more Baby Einstein scenarios…

    2. I am absolutely stunned, honestly, that a press release like this would be published before the study is even complete. Because the study is *not* complete until data from control groups is collected. If this had been a middle school science fair project that I was judging, and they didn’t even have a control group, it would get a terrible grade.

      How can a full-blown research-grade study at a major university get publication like this with such a glaring omission? This is irresponsible.

    3. Even if the brains donated were the only brains in the entire NFL with CTE, this would give a low-estimation of about 15% of NFL players with CTE. That’s the low end, that’s the starting point. 15% is disturbingly high, that number should be in the decimal places. This is probably why they went for a sensational title.

    4. You’re exactly right, it’s actually stated in the article that these brains were donated from former player’s families and several of them were already suspected to have CTE.

  3. As a former college football player these findings are very troubling. I agree with Andrew Freed that this only represents a population with “bread crumbs” leading to a CTE confirming autopsy. That being said, I believe to deny that concussions/repeated head trauma has a direct relationship with football and eventually CTE is similar to denying that smoking causes lung cancer. This wouldn’t be the first time that something popular in our culture turned out to have negative health consequences. Begs the question: will societal and economical benefits outweight the long term effect of this disease? What does that say about the values of our culture? Those are heavy questions I do not have an answer to.

    1. I’m not sure that anyone is trying to deny that there isn’t a direct relationship between CTE and football, but I don’t think anyone needs to just think that football may be the only sport that can have these kind of issues. Any sport that you play runs risks of head injuries. A question I would like to know the answer to would be how many hits to the helmet can a batter take in baseball because of wild pitches before they too might see this same kind of issue. There are good and bad surrounding everything, and risks involved with everything you do, if you truly tried to weigh the long term effects of diseases, or of medical complications of just about anything you do, or enjoy such as any kind of sports entertainment, against the economical or societal benefits, you’re going to come up short in every single area. There’s always going to be something else come about, it’s a never ending process, as long as you have scientist who want to do research, and can do research and find things that weren’t found 50-100 years ago. Everything can be tied to something. Everything can cause cancer, everything can cause death or injury, if at some point everyone doesn’t stop with all the things that we shouldn’t do as a society in whole, we’re all going to end up needing to live in a bubble.

  4. There is a true need for former NFL players and former college football players, without any signs or symptom of CTE, to donate their brains to Boston University upon their death. Thus, there can be a comparison between those that had signs and symptoms and those that did not.

  5. Cousin Wayne was a howitzer instructor between the Korean and Vietnam wars, standing right beside the big guns. On one particular day, he could no longer cope with people, paperwork or much of anything else. When I met him twenty years later at his care home, he could intelligently carry on conversations, but with little enthusiasm. Just smoked one coffin nail after another, very slowly, staring vacantly, self-medicating in addition to the dozen pills that commonly treat brain problems.

    Basically dark, quiet bars, thousands of VFW halls were in every suburb until recently. Our heroes who jumped continents and changed the world in a little over three years needed decompression, some more than others, and booze and cigs were shame-free medication. Hey, everyone did it, right? Office boys and the guys in manufacturing transitioned better, jumped into the postwar swim of things and mostly did not need that kind of solace. My father’s happy run, slide rule in hand, was radar to atom bombs to reactors to mainframes to Wall Street security software. Never a down day for Dad.

    Boston University recently published preliminary notes studying chronic traumatic encephalopathy within deceased NFL players’ brains, found 99% clearly show permanent physical damage. Families had to deal with depression, anxiety, disinhibition, memory loss, and other mood and behavior impairments [lacking a control group, the study has only begun].

    Perhaps 30 years ago, average age of death for doctors and pro football players alike was 58. Banging one’s noggin a thousand times may have scrambled jock brains, but why doctors? Decades of cramming, stress and chemical exposure, or just, “I only smoke Old Gold. Not a cough in a carload”? Self-medicating, again.

    Some of my favorite time in music (back when it really was an industry) was spent in front of stacks of equipment so loud that plucking was optional: The speakers would play the strings and vice versa. We liked it loud. Shook our gizzards and probably our brains. Self-medicating, burned-out bands in that era are a cliche, too.

    Maybe the self-medicating pattern I see following repeated brain insult is no more real than the callow worldview of our current crop of brainiac professors ranting against isms, phobias, hegemonies, corporations, and free markets. But for at least some of the head hits, I was there.

  6. Learn how to treat it? NO! How about learn how to stop it from happening? Men will play sports, fight, ride motorcycles, in essence hit there heads! The information needs to be better used in conjunction with a cross functional team of Helmet manufacturers, Doctors, and yes our govt (to increase the stds on helmets) to best possible new methods and inventions/equipment that will isolate the trauma to the helmet and much better protect the head.

  7. After years of denials, the NFL acknowledged a link between head blows and brain disease and agreed in a $1 billion settlement to compensate former players who had accused the league of hiding the risks.

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