05-11-2012, 11:14 AM
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Re: Commentary: When will deaths of NFL players stop?
Originally Posted by DG94
Yes, that's a fact of life. They don't shoot themselves with a shotgun though.
The causal link between CTE and repeated blows to the head sustained from playing football is pretty clear
The causal link between CTE and suicide? Perhaps not as clear as the recent media storm might lead one to believe.
News outlets (including this one) have suddenly became aware of some surprising and important CDC research published in January in the American Journal of Cardiology. At the request of the NFL Players Association, government scientists compared the death rates for almost 3,500 of the league's retirees to those for age- and race-matched non-athletes over the same years. The football players had much longer lives: Just 334 of them had passed away, compared with an expected total of 625....
And among the athletes who regularly played professional football between 1959 and 1988, a total of nine perished as a result of "intentional self-harm," compared with an expected number of about 22. The sample size was small, but the effect is large: Ex-NFLers were 59 percent less likely to commit suicide....
As for Junior Seau, the theory that concussions—a few big ones, 1,500 tiny ones, whatever—led to his death is not merely speculative; it's willfully ignorant. Seau was beset with a smorgasbord of risk factors for suicide, regardless of the state of his brain. He spent part of his childhood sleeping on the concrete floor of the family garage and was beaten vigorously with a wooden paddle. Seau's parents were immigrants from Samoa, where suicide rates are among the highest in the world. He had relationship problems—he'd suffered through a divorce, then got arrested for domestic abuse in 2010. As a hard-hitting linebacker, one could argue that he had a history of aggressive behavior. Like many football players, perhaps, he had access to a gun....
It wasn't so long ago that we blamed athletes' unexpected deaths on performance-enhancing drugs, not head trauma. When pro wrestler Chris "the Canadian Crippler" Benoit killed his wife and son and then hanged himself in 2007, authorities blamed the incident on anabolic steroids. In 2005, Congress heard testimony from the parents of young athletes who had committed suicide while experiencing the putative effects of steroid withdrawal, and researchers trotted out anecdotal reports to prove the link.
If Junior Seau had killed himself when George W. Bush was still in office, we'd all be talking about the cream and the clear, not CTE. But you don't hear much talk about steroids and suicide today. Is it passť to observe that around 9 percent of NFL retirees admit to having used steroids during their career?
Former players kill themselves for the same reason as everyone else—because they're sad and alone and deprived of the psychiatric care that could maybe save their lives.
Not saying i agree with this argument - just saying any former NFL player who thinks the NFL is going to assume the fetal position and just ask how big a settlement check former NFL players want to receive better get prepared to have their personal life sliced and diced during civil discovery.