September 29, 2009

NFL Study Finds Link to Dementia: A study commissioned by the National Football League finds that Alzheimer's disease or similar memory-related diseases is diagnosed in former players vastly more often than in the national population -- including a rate 19 times higher for men in their 30s and 40s.

posted by trueblueroo to football at 09:19 PM - 9 comments

Isn't this old news? I mean it had been put forward before, and came to prominence when Chris Nowinski examined Chris Benoit's brain and it showed signs of dementia, as did NFL players who had died.

Or is it just that the NFL have finally pulled their heads out of their asses?

posted by Drood at 12:26 AM on September 30, 2009

I would definitely not call this "old news" ... rather, I would say that it is a news update in an ongoing and likely long-lasting issue as the NFL, and football writ large, come to terms with the realities (effects and outcomes) of the nature of the game.

posted by Spitztengle at 02:00 AM on September 30, 2009

Lets see how long it takes the NFL to start paying on some pensions that include this as a diagnosis. Nice job on the new description also, thanks to who ever did it.

posted by jojomfd1 at 02:38 AM on September 30, 2009

What about the dementia of countless NFL fans? I'm looking in your direction, Philly . . .

posted by afl-aba at 08:26 AM on September 30, 2009

And people sit around and bitch during contract negotiations that a "millionaire" is arguing over a few extra million. Hope some of these guys are starting to understand why that is.

- avg career is < 4 years so you have a limited time to make enough to last for the rest of your life
- contracts aren't guaranteed and you can be cut at any time
- life expectancy of an NFL player is some 20 years shorter than an avg American
- retirement years generally filled with pain and surgeries
- increased chance of dementia later in life
- historically the NFL does nothing to take care of its former players

So is it so hard to imagine why a guy making 4 million/year may want to squeeze out of the owner an extra million? Especially when that owner is making money hand over fist?

posted by bdaddy at 09:00 AM on September 30, 2009

That article makes the NFL look really bad. They continue to deny reality instead of being proactive about ways to better handle concussions.

posted by bperk at 09:40 AM on September 30, 2009

Football is unusual in that, when played the way it is coached, in accordance with the rules, and they way the fans want to see it, produces shocking increases in head injuries and other injuries.

Lots of sports put you at a high risk of injury: knees, elbows, ankles, backs, etc. Some sports have a higher risk of concussion, and are doing something about it (the NHL has been pretty good about cracking down on headhunting and boarding) Football though has the uniquely high probability, when played as directed, to destroy both the mind, and the body.

And while a bodily injury is a terrible and unfortunate thing, it is our minds that make us human.

posted by rumple at 11:27 AM on September 30, 2009

I note with some anger that the NFL is already trying to diminish the impact of the study with this from the post:

An N.F.L. spokesman, Greg Aiello, said in an e-mail message that the study did not formally diagnose dementia, that it was subject to shortcomings of telephone surveys and that "there are thousands of retired players who do not have memory problems."

"Memory disorders affect many people who never played football or other sports," Mr. Aiello said. "We are trying to understand it as it relates to our retired players."

Denial is not a river in North Africa when it comes to the NFL.

Also noteworthy are the comments about the "high-paid" NFL players. Many of those who are exposed to the conditions that might cause the injuries are linemen. These guys certainly aren't in the "big bucks" category.

posted by Howard_T at 04:20 PM on September 30, 2009

I would have thought this was relatively obvious for anyone who isn't cashing an NFL paycheque.

Next Vince McMahon is going to let us know that the studies are ongoing to determine if there is any link between professional wrestlers, steriods, painkillers, recreational drugs, and early death however conclusive proof (that would indicate corporate liability) has not been found.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 05:35 PM on October 01, 2009

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