|No jaw, no mouthpiece, no brain.|
The other day kids were throwing footballs across the street, over passing cars. We used to do that. Little known fact: I can throw a spiral pass, because my older brother wanted a younger brother and instead got me.
The NFL is taking a tobacco-industry tack to defend itself against the brain injury stories. It says the latest developments mean we need to do more research on CTE. To show their sincerity they donated $30 million last year to CTE research. You can almost feel the strategy sessions that must be taking place.
This is foot-dragging because it could not be more clear there's a problem. When brain autopsies of 33 out of 34 former players show signs of CTE, pull the emergency brake. Don't just call for more research. It's a moral crisis, people.
Meanwhile, big progress elsewhere:
- Alzheimer's diagnostic techniques can now be used to find CTE in living brains. A radioactive substance is injected, then a SPECT scan looks for tau proteins.
- Stanford University, in love with football AND academics, has come up with a way to objectively measure the force on a player's brain from a hit. The players wear special mouthpieces with sensors that record the force of a hit. So far the data is startling.
As more players use the new mouthpieces with sensors, lots more data will suddenly be available. I'm looking forward to what the data will show. Do we think it will support the NFL view that football is mostly safe?
With more data on car accidents will insurance companies still get away with delaying and denying the effects of brain injury? Over a million cases of mild TBI, every year in this country. Mmm mmm mmm mmm, expensive.
Future HeadformsAs dummies are pushed further toward measuring non-contact, closed head injuries there may be development in the area of simulating the soft tissue in the head. This will require the application of clinical research and tissue characterization to the development of the heads.
This Super Bowl Sunday I'll be doing what I always do: riding a bike, tending my brain.