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Old 01-19-2018, 11:53 AM
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Default A thread for discussion on CTE and related injury

http://abc7chicago.com/health/new-co...ease-/2965668/

Researchers have improved their understanding on the relationship between head trauma and the formation of tau proteins in the brain, one of the indicators of CTE through research on mice.

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While it seems likely that the recent head injuries could be the source of the brain changes, Goldstein said, "we can infer it, but we can't prove it."
To try and understand the source of the changes, Goldstein and his colleagues mimicked the experiences of the human brains in mouse models, by exposing mice to repeated head trauma, like that in football, and single blast head trauma, similar to military combat.

The researchers found similar pathologies in both the mouse and human brains, regardless of the type of blast exposure they had experienced. Goldstein and his colleagues also measured the mice for concussion-like symptoms by testing their arousal and balance. They found that even without concussion, the mice exposed to the head trauma still exhibited changes in the brain.

Concussion is "not only not correlated, we can decouple it," said Goldstein. He said that concussion itself is not the injury, but rather the symptoms experienced from injury, such as memory impairment or loss of balance.

But not everyone experiences these symptoms, and so "by looking at concussion, it's not telling you anything about the brain or CTE," he added.
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Old 01-19-2018, 12:20 PM
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CTE is going to doom the NFL if they can't find a way to reverse or prevent the damage it does. It won't all be at once, but their talent pool will shrivel up the way it has with boxing, the quality of play will decline (I argue it already has), and the product will be less interesting to watch. And then you'll have entire generations grown up fearing or despising football for what it does to the brain, and that'll be that. I think the writing is on the wall for this one.

What I'm interested in seeing is how this bleeds into other sports though. For example, this is a massive sleeping problem for soccer. They can begin to address it by outlawing headers, but that would demonstrably lower the entertainment value of the sport and radically change lots of strategy. Double goes for hockey, and to a smaller extent basketball.
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Old 01-19-2018, 12:35 PM
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It's even a thing in baseball. Concussions are a concern for catchers and have shortened at least a couple careers.
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Old 01-19-2018, 03:01 PM
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I'm all for phasing away from sports that result in long-lasting head injuries. But I'm also curious to see what the eventual replacement will be. Will the existing sports figure out a way to eliminate head injuries? That seems virtually impossible without drastically changing the sport but at the same time a 2017 NFL game and 1917 football look very distant from each other. Maybe the NFL can effect radical changes for the better in the coming years? Or maybe the most popular sport of 2056 will just be basketball followed up by soccer and lacrosse?
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Old 01-19-2018, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrenaline View Post
It's even a thing in baseball. Concussions are a concern for catchers and have shortened at least a couple careers.
I was under the impression that catchers careers were mostly impacted by things like leg injuries? Like, spending half your life crouching does a toll on the knees. But my knowledge of baseball is pretty lacking, and I wouldn't be surprised if they have higher concussion rates.
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Old 01-19-2018, 08:35 PM
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Concussions are common enough in baseball that, in the wake of the NFL scandals, MLB implemented specific rules concerning their treatment. Thankfully, concussions are incidental rather than fundamental: headfirst slides, foul balls off the catcher's mask, etc. Their accidents and can be avoided without changing the game too much.
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Old 01-23-2018, 04:07 PM
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Concussions have GREATLY reduced my enjoyment of football. I love the sport in a lot of ways, but the "hits" don't thrill me at all any more. Kind of similar to Wrestling, now that I'm smarter on what actually does and does not fuck people up.

Concussions are a lot less common in baseball and tend to come from people running into each other. Fielders running into teammates or walls going after balls, or runners going into catchers. They have made rules to try to cut back on the latter, at least, and I wouldn't call it chronic nearly like the NFL. People probably get concussions in their own homes at about the same rate as baseball players now.
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Old 01-23-2018, 04:33 PM
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Concussions in most sports occur when things that shouldn't happen happen. In football the cause of concussions is pretty much baked in to the game.
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Old 01-23-2018, 08:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rascally Badger View Post
Concussions in most sports occur when things that shouldn't happen happen. In football the cause of concussions is pretty much baked in to the game.
I've heard speculation that you would have way fewer concussions if you had NO helmets because then dudes would actually protect themselves. I ... think that sounds like bullshit, but you can't deny that putting the strongest, fastest dudes in armor and then launching them at each other doesn't practically guarantee injuries.

The other thing that really bothers me about it is how much of the sport has become a draw for poor, largely minority kids trying to get somewhere. Calling the picks to the NFL a "draft" is a little on the nose
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Old 01-23-2018, 10:29 PM
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In a way they are right about no-helmet football, but thatís because the hits that would otherwise cause concussions would instead cause major skull fractures. Football used to be lethal. The number you hear a lot is 18 dead in 1905. And thatís a much smaller country playing a less popular sport.
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Old 01-23-2018, 11:21 PM
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Yep. Football was so dangerous, people were literally dying on the field and the President threatened to ban the sport all together if they couldn't make it safer (the solution was forward passing). Meanwhile, the human beings playing football over a century later are like, several times stronger and faster than they used to be, and it would be an even worse bloodbath. Anyone advocating for helmetless football... I struggle to say nice things about.
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Old 01-24-2018, 06:59 AM
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Football is obviously way worse for head safety, I was just pointing out that you can't really totally avoid it in any team sport.
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Old 01-24-2018, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrenaline View Post
Football is obviously way worse for head safety, I was just pointing out that you can't really totally avoid it in any team sport.
Definitely. You see subconcussive impacts any time you have people moving that quickly around each other.

Where sporting organizations have betrayed the trust we placed in them is in downplaying the risks even after they were aware of them. Boxing is the OG brain killer, but the risks are known and participants can make an informed decision about those risks. But when a trusted NFL or NCAA tries to sweep the facts under the rug thereís no way to that. Itís especially unconscionable because they do it to protect already corrupt profit sources. The obvious counterpart is big tobacco covering up addiction and lung cancer research, or oil & gas firms attacking climate research.
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Old 01-24-2018, 10:59 AM
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Where does Rugby fit into this? That's pretty high-impact and, at least, doesn't see people dropping dead on the field at dramatically higher rates.


And there's also the oft-repeated bit about how the boxing glove actually made boxing far more dangerous in the long-term because it allowed people to slug each other at full power which made jarring brain damage a lot more common. Not that MMA is, like, any safer AFAIK, so...


But yeah. CTE is one reason I won't watch football if I can avoid it anymore.
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Old 01-25-2018, 08:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul le Fou View Post
Where does Rugby fit into this? That's pretty high-impact and, at least, doesn't see people dropping dead on the field at dramatically higher rates.


And there's also the oft-repeated bit about how the boxing glove actually made boxing far more dangerous in the long-term because it allowed people to slug each other at full power which made jarring brain damage a lot more common. Not that MMA is, like, any safer AFAIK, so...


But yeah. CTE is one reason I won't watch football if I can avoid it anymore.
I, too, am finally breaking up with football. I grew up playing it and watching it and loving it. It wasn't my introduction to physical culture, but it was where my fantasy love affair with strength really took off.

This year I watched maybe three games that my alma mater played (Roll Tide!), and zero NFL games. Part of turning off the NFL was due to Kaep getting blackballed, but I'd been souring on the sport for years.

Two things have happened lately that made it easier to finally tune out: having a son and playing rugby.

I had decided already that if I ever had a kid they would never play football. Actually seeing my kid made me realize that at some point I'd have to explain to him why it's ok for me to watch and enjoy other people's children play the sport. And obviously I have no good answer for that.

The other big change was joining a rugby club. The two sports that really captured my heart as a young man were football and wrestling. I've been yearning to play a sport again (hey, midlife crisis starter kit!), but my options seemed sort of limited.

I like watching baseball, but don't give a damn about playing it or softball. I have never played an organized game of either, I am terrified of stuff being thrown at me, and the level of violent contact is way too low to hold my interest. I am terrible at basketball. Horrid. I played in a charity game between the local bar association and a group of doctors and was under explicit instructions to play D, use my fouls, and never EVER shoot. Golf NO. Tennis is fucking awesome and I am horrible at it. I turned my garage into a gym about 5 years ago and have been lifting steadily every since and flirted with powerlifting, but 1) my bench press is trash and 2) I just can't get fired up about competing in lifting, other than competing with myself. It doesn't give me the rush that direct competition does. Beer league wrestling does not exist here.

But, hark! What is that? A rugby club 30 mins to my north! It fulfills my need for competition, for controlled violent contact with willing participants, for camaraderie! But, is it safe(er)?

Yeah, I think it is. Playing without body armor makes a difference and so does strictly outlawing contact above the armpit. The tackles you make in rugby are much more like wrestling takedowns than the eyes-first chestbursting in football.

Tackling (and rugby in general) still *hurts*, mind you. In my short time with the sport thus far I've gotten bruised up, cut, had eyes blacked, lips busted, and an ear torn (it's fine now, but looked really gnarly. I have a gross-ass pic spoiler-popped down there). I have also gotten really goddamn tired because 80 minutes is a long time to do anything and jesus christ there aren't breaks and oh my fuck I'm on the pitch the WHOLE TIME goddamnit whyyyy

What hasn't happened is anything remotely like this: I once made a tackle in highschool that caused me to lose a chunk of time. This actually happened several times, but this one stood out. I'm playing defensive tackle and made a big hit on a fullback. I did everything right, put my eyes in between the numbers on his chest and...well, then I'm on the sideline, we have the ball, and a chunk of time is gone off the clock. I asked one of my teammates what was going on. "Oh, we stopped 'em. They punted. Offense is driving. It's all good."

Oh, cool.

Went back in next series, business as usual. Most folks I knew at the time operated under the assumption that the guy *making* the tackle was somehow invincible. It was ball carriers that got knocked out and hurt. By all accounts I absolutely crushed that fullback, but I'm the one that blacked out. Your brain, it turns out, doesn't give a fuck what position you lined up in.

It wasn't until years later that I realized that was fucked up. It happened frequently and sometimes guys didn't even miss a play over it. You just "got your bell rung" and moved on. This wasn't even *that* goddamn long ago!

I wonder sometimes when my temper is extremely short for seemingly no good reason, or when my short term memory takes a shit, if this would still happen but for football. And I never even played at a high level!

Rugby, if you believe some commentators, is the fastest growing team sport in America. I am ok with that replacing my first love. I'd let my son play it, if he wants to.

Another note about rugby tackling: because of the lack of pads and therefore markedly different technique it quite often hurts more to make a tackle than to get tackled. The "big hit" compilations in football are almost always tacklers destroying ball carriers. More often, similar compilations drawn from rugby are ball carriers trucking would-be tacklers. Also, as a former linemen, the fact that I get to carry the ball (frequently!) is something that will never not make me giddy.

Fall season also happens to coincide with football season, and Saturday is a rugby day, so I conveniently missed almost all of college football this year!

Rugby wound or sloppy mascara??




spoilered for gross


tl;dr - Anecdotally, rugby is safer than football due to, among other things, the lack of helmets
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Old 01-25-2018, 08:52 AM
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Your rugby experience is pretty much what I got from grappling. This is why I enjoy all the different styles of folk wrestling. Especially when you're all old farts who are terrible at it.

Wrestling of course has its horrors, but the concussion risk is lower (still not zero, but lower) and getting your bell rung isn't a mark of honor that I can tell.

My TBI anecdotes: We had a guy on our high school team who was a 4-star NCAA prospect. He was 6'3" and 240 solid pounds on a team where everyone else was 5'11" and 165, or just a big fat guy (hi, it's me) and he played mean. Form tackling drills, he liked to whip his head around like a wrecking ball and see if he could knock you down with just that impact. He fucking loved going helmet-to-helmet on Freshmen too. Real sweetheart. My vision would go white when he hit me.

Another time at football camp I did just what Mokrap said, hit the gap as a defensive tackle and saw the running back big as life. I got run the fuck over and heard ringing in my ears for the rest of practice. And God help you if you said a word about it to Coach. Teenagers would rather die than have a grown man call them 'pussy'.
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Old 01-29-2018, 07:09 PM
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Hrm. The death of Football will kill a LOT small towns.
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Old 01-29-2018, 07:10 PM
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Quote:
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Hrm. The death of Football will kill a LOT small towns.
tough? Maybe towns shouldn't be built on the backs of high school students beating the hell out of each other.
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Old 01-29-2018, 07:19 PM
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Capitalism killed those towns long ago.
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Old 01-30-2018, 01:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ample Vigour View Post
Capitalism killed those towns long ago.
This. And maybe those small towns might stand to improve the quality of life there a little bit without the extremely poor return investment of subsidizing amateur high school athletics.

But the reality is that everyone will just move on to a different spectator sport to worship, like we've already done several times in the past.
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Old 02-04-2018, 02:03 PM
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For me the draw of football is the speed, the strategy, the holding your breath as you watch a play develop. So if they overhauled it to something less violent (say wrapping up instead of tackling to the ground), I wouldn't lose any of what I watch it for.

Unfortunately, even with the small changes that have happened over the last decade, you already hear fans and even a lot of former players whining about the "pussification" of the sport. So likely the game won't change fast enough before it dies, and that will make me very sad.
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Old 02-04-2018, 04:23 PM
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Make it flag football.
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