A Head’s Up to NFL’s Goodell & Smith

National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the N.F.L. players association, should have their heads examined.

Asked by a member of a Congressional Committee if he believe head injuries can lead to dementia, the where-did-I-leave-my-IQ-this-time Goodell said, “The answer is, medical experts would know better than I do.”

As one who has lived with a head injury for more than 25 years and worked in the field for 15 of those years, the NFL’s lack of response to the life threatening and life damaging presence of head injuries is a disgrace and ought to be against the law. In fact, given the amount of evidence documenting the danger of blows to the head, why not charge some folks with manslaughter, or second-degree murder?

Smith rides the same “train” as Goodell. Smith said while the players will bargain for safety, they “will not bargain for medical care.” Are you kidding me? The NFL is an $8 billion dollar a year business, given the amount of brain damage done to players as a result of hard hits, Smith thinks bargaining for medical care is a no go?

Let me dispel a myth held by some straight away. Brain injuries, which is what head injuries are, don’t go away. They don’t heal and get all better like a cut on the finger. They are permanent, and their impact on someone’s life changes over time. Just a few years ago I could work full time without much of a problem. Now, fatigue related to the injury has reached a point where I can’t work full time anymore.

Goodell and Smith should have their heads examined, and once what I suspect to be true is established, that both heads are empty, they should be replaced.

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3 thoughts on “A Head’s Up to NFL’s Goodell & Smith

  1. Same old same old, nothing new or innovative as a solution.A medical device used by the N.E Patriots was shut out of the testiimoney.Dr Cantu referenced Boxing, blows to the jaw and the fact that boxers have been the only group linked to CTE. Blows to the jaw may be the link, Why do only some retired NFL playes develop CTE. Boxers wth “Glass Jaw” deveop punch drunk syndrome.makes sense to take a look. Cantu himself has stated, helmets can’t be improved any better. What is “Glass Jaw” why does it occur and how do you reverse the condition.A Harvard MGH specialist was offering to explain and talk about Patriot players who had “Glass Jaw” until they were fit with this corrrective device. He recently peer reviewd a study of High School players who have worn the same mouth guard and has written a research recomondation for the U.S. Army paratroopers who have MTBI prior to entering the service, have been found to be more prone, do they have “Glass Jaw”. Somebody needs to take a good look. http://www.mahercorlabs.com/news/article-20090831.htm

  2. Dear mr. snarky – I would suggest reading mr. smith's statement or watching his testimony. It would reveal that you completely misunderstood his quote above. He wasn't saying that medical care is beneath bargaining – he was saying that it's so important that it's MORE important than any regular bargaining issue. He said, repeatedly, that player safety is the #1 issue, and that it cannot be bargained away. Please be sure to educate yourself before spewing nonsense.

  3. Here is a link to the story about the telephone survey conducted by U Mich Social Research Institute and the NFL's response to it:http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113352313And here is a much more reliable study done by Georgetown University Medical Center:http://www.scienceblog.com/cms/alzheimers-disease-drug-treats-traumatic-brain-injury-report-gumc-researchers-22907.htmlIn studying research, one must always be conscious of the axiom which says, "Commonality does not imply causality." (author unknown to this blogger).The U Mich Social Research Institute telephone survey has some limitations. It is at best a telephone survey which relies on self-report. As such, the general truthfulness of the population (retired NFL players) cannot be ensured. Also, the NFL players are not representative of a population as a whole. There is no control group. And independent medical teams were not brought in to examine the players. This was a telephone survey. There may be other factors involved in the higher than average representation of "memory problems" in NFL players who have sustained brain injuries (for example, risk-taking behaviors).The study done by Georgetown U demonstrated that the pathways activated in Alzheimer's and those activated in second-wave damage after cell death in a t.bi. are the same. The resulting build-up of beta amyloid (which is a toxic peptide) is the thing that causes the damage and leaves observable evidence ("brain holes"). The study points to the need of further investigation of a class of enzyme-inhibiting drugs as a treatment for both Alzheimer's Disease and t.b.i. The study was done on mice. Mice are very close to humans with respect to genetics and response to chemical induction (medication testing). This second study did indeed show a strong connection between t.b.i.s and Alzheimer's. But it also suggested a source of amelioration for secondary damage in t.b.i. as well as Alzheimer's-related damage.In other words, yes we know there is a connection between traumatic brain injuries and Alzheimer's. The GUMC study is more reliable in demonstrating this connection than the UMSRI telephone survey. As to whether or not football players who have had concussions truly do have higher rates of dementias than the general population– we don't know– although I do suspect the evidence will increasingly point to the word "probably."To the anonymous one who addresses Pete as "Mr. Snarky," I leave you with the links below which support Peter Kahrman's position on Goodell & Smith. These fellows indeed are guilty as charged. Please note: Dr. Cantu is a rheumatologist, not a neurologist. And he is on the NFL payroll– can anyone say "conflict of interest?" And he also refused to testify before the recent House Judiciary Committee hearings. Anyway, the links:http://cbs3.com/sports/NFL.football.concussions.2.1277608.htmlhttp://davepear.com/blog/2009/10/best-take-nfl-brain-damage-studies/http://views.washingtonpost.com/theleague/nflnewsfeed/2009/10/hearing-on-brain-injuries-under-way.htmlhttp://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/10/28/judiciary.nfl/index.htmlhttp://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704402404574527881984299454.htmlAnd finally, brain injuries do not heal like a papercut or even like a broken bone. As someone who is also living with a t.b.i., I also suffer from the debilitating fatigue that Peter referenced in his blog. As to whether or not an NFL retiree should receive the higher pension related to injury on the job because he has been diagnosed with a dementia– because there are so many possible etiologies of dementia– it would be a hard call to require the higher pension for all players who acquire dementia subsequent to retirement.Finally to Peter, a well-written blog which shows that for Goodell & Smith, the dollar remains the bottom line.spike

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