Ban Football

27 Jan

concussion scansI feel bad, because it took me three Up w/ Chris Hayes segments, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ face, Kevin Turner‘s pained articulation, obscuring his reasonable arguments, and Terry Bradshaw, but not Junior Seau’s demeaning death, to consider what needs to be done about football and concussion-related deaths and illnesses.

The scientists found that compared to the healthy men, the NFL players had elevated levels of FDDNP in the amygdala and subcortical regions of the brain. These regions control learning, memory, behavior, emotions, and other mental and physical functions. Those players who had experienced a greater number of concussions were found to have higher FDDNP levels.

“The FDDNP binding patterns in the players’ scans were consistent with the tau deposit patterns that have been observed at autopsy in CTE cases,” said study author Dr. Jorge R. Barrio, a professor of molecular and medical pharmacology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Each of the research volunteers also received a standard clinical assessment to gauge their degree of depression (Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, or HAM-D) and cognitive ability (Mini-Mental State Examination, or MMSE). The players had more depressive
symptoms than the healthy men and generally scored lower on the MMSE test, demonstrating evidence of cognitive loss. Three players had mild cognitive impairment, one had dementia and another had normal cognitive function.

Elevated levels of FDDNP have been shown in studies to be associated with cognitive symptoms in normal aging, mild cognitive impairment and dementia, according to Barrio. The FDDNP signals appear to reflect a range of mental symptoms that have been observed in CTE cases, he noted.

Although the FDDNP marker also binds to another abnormal brain protein called amyloid beta, previous autopsy studies have shown the amyloid plaques are observed in less than a third of CTE cases in retired football players, suggesting that the FDDNP signal in the players represents mostly tau deposits in the brain.

As a kid through adolescence, I watched football religiously. I had the cards, and I traded for any Colts card. I regarded players, like Bert Jones or Lydell Mitchell, even Roger Staubach or Terry Bradshaw, like warrior-heroes. I played football in the alley after school. Even on the cracked asphalt, kids tackled and threw each other down. We wanted to be tough like our heroes.

Lawrence Taylor’s monologue is just not scary enough.

Football cannot reform itself. Let’s not forget Penn State. There’s still too much of the hero worship the National Football League stokes.

I’m going with a hero: ban the game for the kids.

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One Response to “Ban Football”

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  1. Ban Football, Still | Infidelworld - 24 March 2013

    […] haven’t changed my mind about […]

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