The absolute last thing people connected to the football industry wanted to see were the findings from a Boston University study of the brains of deceased football players. Of 111 brains studied, 110 of the one-time NFL players had CTE. It is a very small sample of players who played in the league.
There was not good news either from college players with 48 out of 53 brains examined of deceased players showing CTE. Again, a very small sample but alarming for parents who are facing a decision with the start of the football season near.
Do parents of children expose their sons and daughters to possible brain injuries from football? While senators in Washington were jawing about the future of the nation’s health care not one lawmaker mentioned how a number of former NFL players were getting SSI benefits and Medicaid. Brain injuries have left players unable to work after football is done.
There is no interruption in the pipeline from youth football to the pros. In 2015, more than 1 million students played high school football, which was only 309 players less than 2014. The number of players in high school has dropped off from 2008 when 29,000 more players were on high school teams.
There are some parents who are worried however. Just prior to the start of the 2016 season a poll found 44 percent of parents were uncomfortable with their child’s participation in football.
It is more than just football. If a child gets hurt on the field is there adequate medical personnel on hand to deal with an injury? That answer is maybe not in many areas of the country. The Boston University findings are stunning but it is a small sample.
This is nothing new for football. It was branded dangerous in 1905. New rules were implemented to make it safer, but it appears those rules have failed.
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.
***Editor’s note: Dr. Bennet Omalu of Sacramento, Calif., earned the 2016 Dr. Ernst Jokl Sports Medicine Award from the United States Sports Academy. Omalu, a forensic pathologist and neuropathologist, conducted the autopsy of Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster which led to his discovery of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE, in football players.***