Concussion and Masculinity in Sport
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Club rugby player dies after brain bleed - National - NZ Herald News

Club rugby player dies after brain bleed - National - NZ Herald News | Concussion and Masculinity in Sport |
Club rugby player Willie Halaifonua died in Auckland hospital last night after collapsing with a head injury at the end of a match on Saturday afternoon.

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Rural versus urban causes of childhood concussion

Rural versus urban causes of childhood concussion | Concussion and Masculinity in Sport |
Researchers at Western University (London, Canada) have found youth living in rural areas are more likely to sustain concussions from injuries involving motorized vehicles such as all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes, whereas youth living in urban areas suffer concussions mostly as a result of sports. Hockey accounts for 40 per cent of those injuries. The study which reveals where and how children are receiving concussions is published in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery.Dr. Doug Fraser, a scientist with the Children’s Health Research Institute at Lawson Health Research Institute and Tanya Charyk Stewart, the Injury Epidemiologist for the Trauma Program at Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) and their team tracked all the youth under the age of 18 who presented to the LHSC emergency departments with a concussion over a six year period. There were 2,112 paediatric concussions, with a steady increase in number treated each year.”It was important for us to learn about who is getting injured, where they’re getting injured, and why they’re getting injured. Once you answer those questions, then you can implement targeted injury prevention programs,” says Dr. Fraser, an associate professor in the Departments of Paediatrics, Physiology & Pharmacology and Clinical Neurological Sciences at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.Concussions are a particular concern for children and adolescents because their brains are still developing and they are more susceptible to effects of a head injury. The goal following this research is to create injury prevention programs that target and educate those at high risk of sustaining a concussion.Concussions can often be predictable. Along with properly following the rules of the sport and wearing the protective equipment, Charyk Stewart suggests, “In sports, if you have been hit, then just get off the field immediately and stop play. If you are experiencing any symptoms, be seen by a doctor.”Dr. …
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Childhood concussion linked to lifelong health and social problems

Study suggests that even mild childhood head injuries can increase the risk of low educational attainment, psychiatric hospitalisation and early death

Children who suffer a traumatic brain injury, including mild concussion from a blow to the head, are less likely to do well at school and are at increased risk of early death, researchers have revealed.

As adults they are also more likely to receive a disability pension, have failed to gain secondary school qualifications and nearly twice as likely to have been hospitalised for psychiatric reasons.

The team analysed data from more than a million people born between 1973 and 1985, finding that around 9% had been diagnosed with at least one traumatic brain injury before the age of 25. More than 75% of these were mild injuries.

The researchers compared the outcomes for these individuals with those of others who had not experienced a head injury, as well as carrying out a second comparison, where possible, with siblings who had not been injured.

Once factors such as age and sex were taken into account, the team found that those diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury have an increased risk of experiencing a number of health and social problems. Those who had suffered a traumatic brain injury were 76% more likely to receive a disability pension, 58% more likely to have failed to gain secondary school qualifications and nearly twice as likely to have been hospitalised for psychiatric reasons, compared to those who had sustained no injury.

When the researchers looked at patients who had siblings that had not sustained a traumatic brain injury, they found similar – although smaller – effects, suggesting that genetics could also play a role.

The study also indicates that more than one brain injury increases the risk of ill effects and that the older the child, the more profound the potential impact.

Writing in the journal PLOS Medicine, researchers from the UK, US and Sweden describe how they examined a number of Swedish national registries to explore how traumatic brain injuries could affect a variety of outcomes later in life.

To summarise, we found that even a single mild traumatic brain injury will predict poor adult functioning, said Amir Sariaslan, first author of the research from the University of Oxford.

Peter Jenkins, a neurologist from Imperial College, London who was not involved in the research, described the study as powerful. I think clinically in healthcare at the moment we dont necessarily recognise these persistent problems [and] we dont necessarily have the resources available to help deal with those problems, he said.

The study comes just five months after UK health experts called for a ban on tackling in school rugby games, citing a number of concerns including the risk of fractures and head injuries.

But experts are quick to warn that the new study does not mean that parents should prevent their children from taking part in sports. What we also know is that across a range of health-related conditions sport is very good for you, said Alan Carson from the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences at the University of Edinburgh, who was not involved in the study. He added that exercise is also good for the brain as it thought to reduce the risk of dementia.

The researchers say more should be done to prevent children and adolescents from experiencing head injuries, and to make sure that any problems arising from such an injury are picked up early on.

[Design of] playgrounds, helmets, the use of helmets, even certain rules in certain collision sports may need to be thought about, said Seena Fazel, co-author of the research from the University of Oxford. With many head injuries in young adults down to traffic accidents, messages around road safety and drink driving are also important, he added.

Researchers say that parents should seek medical advice if their child has received a blow to the head, or appears to be having problems at school following an injury. There is some vigilance required when the injury is severe, or there are changes to the trajectory of your child, said Fazel.

While it is not known exactly how traumatic brain injuries affect later outcomes, scientists have proposed a number of possible mechanisms, including damage to the brains neurons, changes to levels of chemicals in the brain and long-term inflammation of the brain. Other effects, such as interruptions in a childs education due their need to take time off from school, could also play a role.

But, the researchers point out, while traumatic brain injuries appear to be linked to a increased risk of a number of problems, the chances of experiencing such issues are still low. Most children will be unaffected, said Fazel.

For those who had not experienced a traumatic brain injury, the chances of an early death were just under 1%, while the chances of failing to achieve secondary school education was 9%. For those who had sustained an injury the figures were 1.6% and almost 14% respectively.

Peter McCabe, chief executive of brain injury charity Headway, said: This research is a clear warning signal that the physical and psychosocial implications of brain injury can last a lifetime.

McCabe says more support needs to be in place for those who have sustained traumatic brain injuries, and that teachers, social workers and GPs should all be aware of the possible effects.

The often hidden effects of brain injury can make it difficult for people to get the diagnosis and help they need, he said. This is particularly the case in young people whose naturally developing personalities may mask any psychosocial changes following a traumatic brain injury.

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Concussion: Horror Of Sports-Related Brain Damage Is Only Now Emerging

Not so long ago, it was a diagnosis that was barely mentioned. Now it feels like theres a plague of concussion in modern sport, with endless news articles and commentaries on the injury and its consequences. There are calls for heading to be banned in childrens football and for parents to think again about letting their sons and daughters play rugby. Most recent is an award-winning Hollywood movie on the subject starring Will Smith, imaginatively titled Concussion, which launches in the UK on February 12. So why all the fuss? Should we all be wearing helmets?

Concussions were traditionally seen as causing short-term functional problems like memory loss and impaired concentration. Now people are becoming increasingly aware that they result in structural damage, in particular to fine nerve-cell fibres called axons deep inside the brain.

A further common misperception is that you need to be knocked out to be concussed. In truth, as little as 10% of concussion is associated with loss of consciousness. Concussion is any disturbance in brain function caused by injury, either through direct contact with the head or through whiplash as a result of a blow somewhere else on the body.

The long list of signs and symptoms includes headaches, seizures, memory loss and visual disturbance, of which the commonest is headaches. Symptoms can be delayed, presenting hours or even a day after the event. Yet recent data shows that concussed athletes remaining in play are at increased risk of further injury. This can include non-brain injuries, although they particularly run the risk of worsening their brain injury if they sustain another blow including the rare complication second impact syndrome, which can lead to severe complications and even death. If in doubt, sit it out, is the advice in all sports at all levels.

Increased Dementia Risk

Specialists are becoming more aware of the fact that brain injury, including even concussion, increases the risk of degenerative brain disease leading to dementia. Originally thought to be exclusive to retired boxers, this dementia was for many decades recognised as punch-drunk syndrome or dementia pugilistica.

Michael Devine fighting Tommy Martin in 2015. Reuters

But as the new Will Smith film makes clear, just over a decade ago we began to see cases of the same pathology in other athletes exposed to repetitive concussions, including rugby and soccer. The film tells the story of the first case described in American footballers, and the struggle of pathologist Dr Bennet Omalu (Will Smith) to raise awareness of the condition with the National Football League (NFL).

Following the recognition that it is brain injury rather than a single sport that carries the risk of this degenerative brain disease, the condition is now referred to as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). But despite increasing reports of CTE in a growing list of sports, as yet there is no diagnostic test. So far, all cases diagnosed have been at post-mortem examination. This has included over 100 former NFL players, for instance.

Undoubtedly there have been many more cases of CTE diagnosed as an alternate dementia. With current best estimates suggesting between 5% and 15% of dementia may be brain-injury related, there are probably many people living now with CTE without knowing it. Do you know a former rugby or soccer player with dementia? With the Six Nations annual rugby tournament getting underway again, it is a sobering thought.

Whats The Cure?

We are inevitably only at the beginning of understanding CTE. This will gradually change through programmes of research in sports concussion and the pathology of CTE like my one in Glasgow. As this knowledge grows, targets for treatments might emerge, which may also help us treat other similar degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimers.

In the absence of a full understanding of the risk factors and with no diagnostic tests or treatments, CTE is one condition that seems best managed by the mantra prevention is better than cure. The simplest and most effective way of reducing the incidence of this form of dementia might just be to lower the risk of concussion and become better at recognising and managing the injury.

In the meantime, while there may be anxieties about the risks of concussion, there remains no doubt about the lifelong health benefits of sport. As such, my view is that we should continue to encourage wider participation in sport, while promoting better recognition and management of the inevitable concussions. This includes being aware that despite all the technology and research invested in headgear, it still provides no meaningful protection against concussion. But if we approach the problem with the best available knowledge, we can get the benefits of sport while reducing the risks from concussion.

William Stewart, Honorary Clinical Associate Professor, University of Glasgow

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The post Concussion: Horror Of Sports-Related Brain Damage Is Only Now Emerging appeared first on Headaches Help.

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Ultrasound headset tests for concussion

Ultrasound headset tests for concussion | Concussion and Masculinity in Sport |

In a study involving more than 200 high school athletes, a team led by Robert Hamilton of brain health technology start-up Neural Analytics found that its technology – which combines transcranial Doppler ultrasound in a headset with machine-learning software – generated promising results for differentiating between concussed patients and healthy subjects.

Although the technology is still in the research phase, its developers believe that the specially outfitted headsets could potentially be deployed on sidelines to provide fast assessment of potential concussion in athletes. After a concussion has been diagnosed, the headsets could also help physicians determine when patients can return to competition or their everyday life.

"[These decisions] would be based now on physiology, and not just subjective thinking," said Hamilton, co-founder and chief science officer at Neural Analytics, which was formed to commercialize technology developed at the University of California, Los Angeles, and who presented the study at AAN 2016.

Assessing concussion

Diagnosing and managing concussions can be challenging, as it often relies on subjective symptom evaluation based on physiological changes. While quantifiable cerebral blood-flow changes have been shown to occur following concussion, this information has previously been available only through functional MRI or MRI with an arterial spin labelling (ASL) sequence, Hamilton said.

"MRI has done an excellent job at assessing blood flow and blood-flow regulation, but there are inherent limitations in MRI [involving its] portability, timing and spatial resolution," he said. "We wanted to develop a technology that would give clinicians the ability to measure subtle variations in blood flow outside of the hospital setting. We're starting with concussion, but the ultimate vision is to address really any neurological condition with blood-flow alterations, including stroke, dementia, depression, and so on."

Transcranial Doppler (TCD) ultrasound technology has been proposed as a surrogate measure of cerebral blood flow that is low-cost and portable. But conventional cerebral blood-flow velocity waveform metrics such as mean velocity, pulsatility index and cerebrovascular reactivity index have shown limited diagnostic utility, according to the researchers.

Available since the mid-1980s, transcranial Doppler has been traditionally employed in major injuries such as stroke and severe traumatic brain injuries, Hamilton said. "Unfortunately, it's been severely underutilized," he said.

Most TCD scans are currently used by neurologists and radiologists only to calculate mean velocity – how quickly blood is moving through an artery.

"But if you actually look at the waveform, there's an incredible amount of information in the pulsatile features of the morphology of that waveform that is [currently] ignored," he said. "Our machine-learning platform captures that information and gives the clinician additional information about how the blood flow is being regulated. ... This is something that has been there all along, but it's just unfortunately been ignored."

Going beyond just calculating average blood-flow velocity, the Neural Analytics software analyses the entire TCD waveform signal to track morphological changes between every heartbeat; this provides information to clinicians about the health of vasculature, Hamilton said. The software then calculates what the researchers call a hemodynamic index; a reading above 0.5 indicates dysfunction (i.e., the blood-flow regulation in the brain is abnormal).


To test their technology, they used the headset to perform transcranial Doppler scans on a group of 66 high-school athletes who played contact sports and were recently diagnosed with concussion. The scans were performed within an average of 6.2 days after the initial diagnosis of concussion was made by the treating physician based on neurocognitive and symptom evaluation.

They also gave TCD scans to an age-matched control group of 169 healthy subjects that included high school athletes from both contact and noncontact sports. For the study, contact sports were considered to include football, soccer, basketball, hockey, water polo and lacrosse; noncontact sports included cheerleading, cross country, cycling, tennis and track. Approximately 30% of both study cohorts were female.

With the participants wearing the headsets and following a cerebrovascular reactivity breath-holding protocol, the team gathered all TCD measurements via bilateral monitoring of the middle cerebral artery. The group also collected arterial blood pressure, end-tidal CO2 and concussion evaluations.

The researchers then used receiver operator characteristics (ROC) analysis to compare the performance of the conventional TCD metrics to the morphological analysis from the machine-learning algorithm.

Area under the ROC curve ratings in differentiating concussed and healthy groups were as follows:

• Morphological analysis: 83%
• Cerebrovascular reactivity index: 60%
• Mean velocity: 55%
• Pulsatility index: 53%

Morphological analysis yielded 71% sensitivity and 83% specificity.

"Even in mild traumatic brain injury, there is still significant deviation [in cerebral blood-flow regulation] from normal given that population," he said.
Returning to play

In addition to helping to diagnose concussion, the technology could be used by physicians in determining when to allow athletes to return to competition or work.

"This is what our next steps are, to look at how blood flow recovers over time to provide clinicians with tools to make an accurate assessment based on physiologic measures, not just subjective symptoms," Hamilton said. "What we do know from the literature today is that patients may be asymptomatic but still be unable to regulate blood flow efficiently."

Neural Analytics is in the process of collecting data to support an application for US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance, Hamilton said. Two initial validation studies have now been completed on high school athletes with the company's prototype system in the Los Angeles area. Another study, set to begin this fall, will compare the performance of their technology with ASL-MRI and functional MRI in high school athletes.

While the firm is currently using a third-party, FDA-cleared ultrasound system in the headset design, it's in the process of developing its own ultrasound technology, he said. In addition, Neural Analytics has a robotics team that is working on an automated platform to allow transcranial Doppler to be performed by sports trainers, emergency medical technicians and sports medicine physicians.

"By doing that, we greatly expand the utilization of the technology and put it in the hands of individuals who need to have tools to be able to assess blood-flow changes," Hamilton said.

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test for concussion

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Could Marijuana Help Prevent the Rare Brain Disease Afflicting Football Players?

The NFL is back and I'm very excited about the upcoming season. But there is something that I have become more aware of recently that I can't help but think about while watching the game -- the issue of concussions, their effects on the brain, and how medical marijuana can help play a role in treating the problem.

There is a growing body of evidence that shows football players at any level, especially ones who repeatedly use their head to hit another player, can eventually develop a brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The leading researchers studying the brains of deceased football players just released new figures showing they have found evidence of CTE in 87 out of 91 brains of former NFL players. The disease can lead to conditions such as memory loss, depression and dementia. The powerful special produced by PBS' Frontline, "League of Denial: The NFL's Concussion Crisis," first opened my eyes to the gravity of the issue.

My loves for football and drug policy reform collided when I found out about the great work being done by a former Super Bowl champion, Marvin Washington, who is leading the fight calling on the NFL to incorporate medical marijuana in their strategy for treating and preventing concussions. According to a patent held by the federal government, a non-psychoactive chemical in the marijuana plant called cannabidiol (CBD) can act as an antioxidant and neuroprotectant for the brain. It's truly incredible - marijuana can help protect the brain! How can the NFL not want to pursue the benefits of marijuana?

Washington and other Super Bowl champs have called on the NFL to rethink their entire approach to marijuana. Medical marijuana can be useful in treating brain injuries and chronic pain, and nearly half of the league's teams are in states where medical marijuana is legal but the players can't use it. They've got it completely backwards! The NFL prohibits marijuana despite the fact that it can help treat so many problems that come along with playing the game. And despite the rules against it, Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel found that 50-60 percent of players are using marijuana -- for both medical and recreational purposes. The league doesn't benefit by suspending its players for marijuana, and the players are missing out on something that could be very helpful to their health and conditioning.

While the big hits can often get some of the biggest reactions during a game, they come at a cost. Perhaps because the helmet can give a false sense of invincibility, players often lead with their head. I am sure I'm not the only person to wonder if removing helmets from the game would help reduce the number of concussions. But if the league won't consider that and if head injuries continue to plague the league, then they need to consider allpossible treatments -- including medical marijuana.

Commissioner Roger Goodell was once asked if there would ever be a time where players could use medical marijuana in states where it's legal.

As reported by CBS:

Instead of saying no, Goodell offered the following, "I don't know what's going to develop as far as the next opportunity for medicine to evolve and to help either deal with pain or help deal with injuries, but we will continue to support the evolution of medicine," the commissioner said, via

The science is in, Commissioner Goodell. The NFL needs to put science ahead of politics and reform its marijuana policy accordingly. It's painfully obvious.

Derek Rosenfeld is the manager of social media and media relations at the Drug Policy Alliance.

This piece first appeared on the Drug Policy Alliance blog.

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Concussions - The Hidden Risk for Student Athletes [Infographic] | Only Infographic

Concussions - The Hidden Risk for Student Athletes [Infographic] | Only Infographic | Concussion and Masculinity in Sport |
Each season the average college football player receives more than 1,000 blows to the head of a magnitude greater than 10 G-Force.

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Is Football Nearing a Cultural Crossroads as Concussions Grow?

Is Football Nearing a Cultural Crossroads as Concussions Grow? | Concussion and Masculinity in Sport |
Football, the game that sacked baseball as the national pastime, may not exist as we know it in 10 years — as evidence mounts that brain damage from big hits...

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Taking a Pounding: How Woodpeckers Avoid Concussions

Taking a Pounding: How Woodpeckers Avoid Concussions | Concussion and Masculinity in Sport |
Woodpecker adaptations can inspire designs that prevent impact and vibration damage.

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Informing athletes about concussions may not change behavior | Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Educating athletes about the risk of concussion may do little to change long-term behavior, a new qualitative research review has found.
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Hedgehogs Hold the Secret to Preventing Concussions

Hedgehogs Hold the Secret to Preventing Concussions | Concussion and Masculinity in Sport |

"If you ever find yourself watching hedgehog go about its day, you’ll notice that they tend to fall out of trees — a lot. Wild hedgehogs climb trees as high as 30 feet, looking for insects and food to eat. Sometimes they fall by accident, other times they fall on purpose to evade a predator or because falling is a lot faster than climbing down. As a hedgehog falls toward the ground, it keeps itself safe by rolling into a ball to surround itself with “spines” that absorb the impact. (Hedgehog spines are colloquially referred to as “quills,” which is the official term for what porcupines have. Hedgehog spines function differently, however, than porcupine quills.) It’s an effective method of protection — and one that humans want to steal."

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Can you imagine a hockey helmet with a mat of spines on it?
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New technology may help doctors monitor concussions, aging, and neurological ... - EurekAlert (press release)

New technology may help doctors monitor concussions, aging, and neurological ... - EurekAlert (press release) | Concussion and Masculinity in Sport |
New technology may help doctors monitor concussions, aging, and neurological ...
EurekAlert (press release)
Boston, MA, Feb.

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Arduino Blog – Teenage student creates a wearable system to reduce concussions

Arduino Blog – Teenage student creates a wearable system to reduce concussions | Concussion and Masculinity in Sport |
For a high school science fair project, Berto Garcia came up with an idea to help reduce concussions among football players. Now a student at Texas Tech University, he holds a provisional patent for the award-winning, life-changing project.
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10 Things to Teach your Son about True Manhood

With all the different types of media today, your son may be getting the completely wrong idea about what it means to be a man. Here are ten things to teach your son about true manhood.

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cgibbons's curator insight, July 26, 2014 8:26 PM

A little bit of a religious spin but could be a good activity to do with class- get the students to develop their characteristics of what it means to be 

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Rugby And The Brain: Tackling The Truth

"What is the cause of concussion ?
It’s not simply a matter of a direct blow to the head or being knock that in fact only one in ten concussions result in a loss of consciousness the brain is only loosely secured in the skull an it’s jelly-like and soft so any sudden movements particularly the kind of wrenching and twisting forces generated in collision can cause the injury we call concussion. This is where nerve cells can be temporarily damaged, causing symptoms like dizziness, nausea, memory loss and even personality change and those symptoms can persist turning lasting in post-concussion syndrome, lasting for days, weeks or months"

A very interesting documentary from the BBC which explain the causes and the effects of the concussion on rugbymen. We learnt that head injury have direct symptoms just like i'v said. There is also post-concussions causes which can be depression, restlessness, changed personality or dementia.

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Sabat Lu's curator insight, February 27, 2017 4:50 PM
You must watch this documentary which is very interesting. It sent shivers down my spine and allowed me to take conscience of the danger of this beautiful sport.
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Rugby and dementia: Concussion leads to increased risk of suicide - Sport - NZ Herald News

Rugby and dementia: Concussion leads to increased risk of suicide - Sport - NZ Herald News | Concussion and Masculinity in Sport |

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Young designer strikes a blow - Sport - NZ Herald News

Young designer strikes a blow - Sport - NZ Herald News | Concussion and Masculinity in Sport |
A young Aucklander has won a top technology prize for a concussion-detecting mouthguard as the links between sport concussion and dementia continue to grow. - New Zealand Herald

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Ex-NFL Player Laments Not Knowing About CTE Prior To Football Career

Former NFL player and Super Bowl XLV champion Tom Crabtree responded to Frontline’s damning CTE report on Friday by discussing the sport's lack of transparency regarding the seriousness of head injuries.

The new research, conducted in conjunction with the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University, determined that 96 percent of the former NFL players studied tested positive for CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the brain disease closely linked to repeated head trauma.

Crabtree, who retired this past April after four seasons in the NFL, took to Twitter to express his dismay over the results of the study.

What an exciting way to start my weekend. I probably have CTE.

— Tom Crabtree (@itsCrab) September 18, 2015

Asked if he would have still pursued a career in football if he had fully known the risks of the game, Crabtree responded:

Depends. If next week i lose my mind and can't watch my kids grow up then no way.

— Tom Crabtree (@itsCrab) September 18, 2015

That's why the "would you do it all again?" question is hard. I need to answer it in 50 years. If i can.

— Tom Crabtree (@itsCrab) September 18, 2015

The former tight end also tweeted that he learned about the potential consequences of head trauma only after breaking into the NFL, explaining that a concussion “was always looked at as a less severe injury with no long-term prob[lems].”

In fact, the league has a long history of showing negligence toward the concussion question, continually brushing off connections between brain trauma and the sport. Throughout a 2009 Congressional hearing, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell avoided giving a direct answer to inquiries into the link between CTE and football.

Goodell stuck to the party line despite the fact that, as Wayne Coffey of New York Daily News wrote at the time, “the hearing [had been] called in the wake of a recent NFL-commissioned survey that revealed that retired NFL players may suffer from [CTE and dementia] … at rates far greater than the general population.” And that was back in 2009.

Crabtree himself has experienced this negligence firsthand. In his last tweet, when asked how much information the NFL had given him about the brain disease, his response was emphatic.

About CTE? None.

— Tom Crabtree (@itsCrab) September 18, 2015

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The Death of American Football, Hockey and Rugby is Spelled M-O-M

You make breakfast. Pack your teenager's lunch. Give them a kiss on the way out the door. Hand them the car keys and the helmet and wish them luck in taking out as many cars as they can on the way to school. Ridiculous? If you send your kid to a team playing American football, ice hockey or rugby, it's pretty much the same thing.

42 varsity high school football players in 2009 sustained 32,510 impacts over a season, according to a study of of head impact exposure, according to a study appearing in the American Journal of Sports Medicine. That's like being in approximately 774 car wrecks or more. Per player. Per year.

Repeated impacts that move the brain around in the skull are the cause of Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), brain damage from contact sports.

It is real. It's not going away. There is no magic helmet that protects players. No matter whether it is hard head-to-head contact or just being thrown down to the ground or on to the ice hundreds or thousands of times in a season of practice and play, damage, especially to teens in their formative years, occurs.

Baseline tests have been available for decades to determine if someone has a concussion, but the presence of CTE can only be determined after someone dies, as of this writing. Major leagues and a few of their "safety" product suppliers spent decades trying to cultivate the myth that these contact sports are safe. They are not. It is never a matter of a player somehow avoiding this type of brain injury. It really is a matter of how bad it could potentially be.

The death of these contact sports is coming not from the overwhelming financial losses to support players already injured over the decades, but in the growing knowledge of parents, particularly moms, about the certainty of brain injury in the contact sports.

The NFL knows it. The NCAA schools are preparing for it. Even the high schools are slowly starting to wake up to the overwhelming financial liability of hosting destruction derbies on their sports fields.

Parents with dreams of major league stardom and fans can yell and scream all they want, bury their heads in denial, rail at this article or at books and movies, but the the bottom line is the bottom line:

The New York Times reported in September of 2014 that "The National Football League, which for years disputed evidence that its players had a high rate of severe brain damage, has stated in federal court documents that it expects nearly a third of retired players to develop long-term cognitive problems and that the conditions are likely to emerge at "notably younger ages" than in the general population."

Players in high contact sports die younger, often die horribly from a particularly pernicious form of dementia, and frequently take their families down a rabbit hole of mental anguish, violence, and even financial ruin with them.

Erratic behavior, rage, paranoia, violence against others or themselves, and the inability to function causing the destruction of businesses, families, and ultimately themselves has been documented with clarity and frequency.

The discovery of CTE is about to become the subject of a much-anticipated, and, if you work for the NCAA or one of the major league contact sports, much feared film, Concussion, the story of Bennet Omalu, who discovered the disease in the brain of "Iron" Mike Webster. Starring Will Smith, it will be an awakening of millions more moms to the dangers of putting their children into contact sports.

The movie joins the book League of Denial and the PBS Frontline documentary of the same name and "Against Football: One Fan's Reluctant Manifesto," which are wake-up calls not of the haters, but by football's most ardent fans and sportswriters.

The CTE Tsunami

The list of NFL players who have been impacted by concussion-related injuries and recently settled a class-action lawsuit with the NFL is around 5,000. The league will pay out up to $1 billion in the settlement with players imposed by a Judge in April of 2015.

The NFL got off lightly. The Associated Press reports, "The settlement approved Wednesday by a federal judge in Philadelphia would pay them about $190,000 on average."

"The awards could reach $1 million to $5 million for those diagnosed in their 30s and 40s with Parkinson's disease or Lou Gehrig's disease, or for deaths involving chronic brain trauma."

The ruling was a gift to the NFL. Many of the players do not develop symptoms until their early 50s. CTE's "clinical symptoms emerge later in life, usually after an athlete retires from his or her sport," a 2011 article in Clinical Sports Medicine reports. "Based on a recent review of neuropathologically-confirmed CTE in athletes [11,] the mean age of onset is 42.8 years (SD = 12.7; range = 25 - 76 years). On average, onset occurs approximately 8 years after retirement (SD = 10.7), although approximately one-third of athletes were reportedly symptomatic at the time of retirement." So former players in their 50s, 60s and 70s and their families may still have cause to sue the NFL for CTE-related trauma incurred while playing the sport.

Anyone who thinks that the April settlement allows either the NFL or other professional or college leagues to put concussions and CTE into their rearview mirrors is kidding themselves. The waters of lawsuits might look like they are receding, but the CTE tidal wave is coming.

The AP reported that, "The NFL expects 6,000 of nearly 20,000 retired players to suffer from Alzheimer's disease or moderate dementia someday."

So their estimate is that 30 percent, nearly a third of currently retired NFL players, will have significant impairment from CTE-related injury which they incurred from playing their sport.

The ruling only applies to the NFL. If they are liable, though, lawyers are surely going to go after American Rugby, the National Hockey League (NHL) and the colleges and universities of the NCAA, and the high schools that offer American football, hockey or rugby, because injury is injury, and a court of law has determined that those who operate the games have liability for it.

The numbers are almost staggering.

NFL Settlement Opens A Multi-Billion Dollar Pandora's Box for the NCAA

If you're a college, university or NCAA official, you might want to grab that bottle of Maalox now.

There are more than 850 colleges and universities in this country where American football is played. For Division I schools in particular, they are the big cash-cow of the university. Division I schools pony up millions of dollars just to pay coaches to keep those programs filling stadiums and generating television revenue.

Each team in a Division I school can offer scholarships to 85 players. With those who come into the program without a scholarship or redshirt, the number estimates around 110. Division II and III schools are smaller, so the estimated average is around 100 players per team.

850 teams. 90 players. That's 76,500 players per year. Assuming a quarter come and go each season, an estimated 19,125 young men enter college football each year. Football expanded in the age of television, so we discount slightly for smaller teams back in the 1950s and early 1960s.

65 years of former college football players is approximately 1.1 million men who've played the game.

Let's be generous to the NCAA. A decade of rough play could accelerate the injuries that cause CTE. If just 20 percent of the players of college football develop signs of CTE-related dementia, that's 220,000 players who potentially can sue their alma mater.

If NCAA football players who have CTE-related injuries received just the $190,000 per player that the NFL players received, that's $41.8 billion in compensation.

With a few judgments in the millions, potential claims against NCAA schools for just football could be rise to well over $50 billion. Add in college hockey and rugby.

The colleges cash cow has fiscal anthrax that has the real potential to bankrupt not just the sports programs of the universities, but take many of them down, particularly if their famed coaches were prone to putting players with concussions back into practices and games as the culture of contact sports has done for decades.

Death and violence in contact sports should not be news to the NCAA. The original organization, the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States, was formed at the behest of President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 because 330 college athletes reportedly died from injuries which they sustained on a college football field between 1890 and 1905.

1,088,158 young men play high school football. If the number of players who develop CTE over their lifetimes is just 10 percent, high schools could pay out a whopping $1.24 trillion in compensation to those impacted over the last 60 years.

And those are highly conservative figures.

The real death of contact sports, though, won't be in the financially crushing compensation for those wronged. It is happening now as you read this. Parents, particularly mothers, don't put their babies into harm's way. ESPN says only a quarter of parents are considering keeping their kids out of the sport now, but 80 percent have real concerns about youth coaching and more are becoming aware of the long-term impact of football, primarily.

There are other sports which are fundamentally safer to play, and, for those who peg their children's future on money in professional sports, more lucrative. They can be played longer, and their children might live out their days and be able to enjoy the fruits of the labor of their youth.

Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to play contact sports. Watch. Read. Learn. Decide.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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Suicide and brain injury have long been linked by scientists, but just how many people who have had a brain injury end up committing suicide? A new study has a grim answer: It found that the longterm risk of suicide increases three-fold among adults who have had concussions.

That's the conclusion of a team of Canadian researchers who studied a health insurance database of more than 235,000 people. Their work was recently published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Rather than focus on athletes or people who were hospitalized for days or weeks after head injuries, they looked at ordinary people who had concussions but did not sustain severe brain injury. The researchers matched those whose official death certificates listed suicide with their medical history over a 20-year period. They found a suicide rate of 31 deaths per 100,000 patients - three times the population norm. The mean time between a mild concussion and suicide was 5.7 years, and each additional concussion raised suicide risk.

Via Rob Duke
Rob Duke's curator insight, February 23, 2016 1:20 PM

Interesting link with what we studied the last unit....

William Estrin's comment, February 24, 2016 9:53 PM
This is indeed interesting, considering what I studied in criminology last semester. These go along with the positivist school of criminology that suggests that biological factors beyond one's control are responsible for crime. I remember reading last semester how concussions are theorized to increased crime and deviant behavior. Interesting seeing what I learned last semester applied in the real world and in real world articles. You are not allowed to commit suicide even if you want to, so is suicide theoretically a crime? Except charging someone with a successful suicide would be impossible since there would be no living defendant. The only thing is if someone assisted in the suicide, that living defendant could be charged with aiding and abetting a suicide.
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