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Old 05-30-2007, 09:59 PM   #1
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Default Study Of N.F.L. Retirees Ties Concussions to Depression

New York Times tees up another story on the adverse consequences of concussions sustained by NFL players

The rate of diagnosed clinical depression among retired National Football League players is strongly correlated with the number of concussions they sustained, according to a study to be published today.

The study was conducted by the University of North Carolina?s Center for the Study of Retired Athletes and based on a general health survey of 2,552 retired N.F.L. players. It corroborates other findings regarding brain trauma and later-life depression in other subsets of the general population, but runs counter to longtime assertions by the N.F.L. that concussions in football have no long-term effects.


Taking a page from the cigarette industry's old playbook of attacking any correlation between health problems and industry practices, the league responds as follows:

The N.F.L. has criticized previous papers published by the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes ? which identified similar links between on-field concussions and both later mild cognitive impairment and early-onset Alzheimer?s disease ? and reasserted those concerns this week with regard to the paper on depression.

Several members of the league?s Mild Traumatic Brain Injury committee cited two main issues in telephone interviews this week: that the survey was returned by 69 percent of the retired players to whom it was mailed, and that those who did respond were relying solely on their memories of on-field concussions. One committee member, Dr. Henry Feuer of the Indiana University Medical Center and a medical consultant for the Indianapolis Colts, went so far as to call the center?s findings ?virtually worthless.?


http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/31/sp...ssions.html?hp


There also is a sidebar on late 60s/70s Cowboys DB Mel Renfro:

Renfro, 65, recalled receiving nine concussions as a football player ? three in high school, three at the University of Oregon and three in the N.F.L. ? including one in which he regained consciousness at the end of the Cowboys? bench with no idea of who or where he was. Renfro said he was glad to learn more about this possible factor in his depression, which he said was first diagnosed several years ago.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/31/sp.../31renfro.html

As was discussed in the thread on the recent HBO Real Sports story on this subject, this issue is not going away.
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Old 05-30-2007, 10:10 PM   #2
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Default Re: Study Of N.F.L. Retirees Ties Concussions to Depression

So what's the solution - turn the NFL into a flag football league? In regards to pass defense, it's halfway there already.
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Old 05-30-2007, 10:13 PM   #3
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Default Re: Study Of N.F.L. Retirees Ties Concussions to Depression

Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlanta Dan View Post
As was discussed in the thread on the recent HBO Real Sports story on this subject, this issue is not going away.
your not "raining on the parade" of the nfl and their beefy contracts with the networks, are you?

...and as the NFL dances like a stripper in the shower of pacmans trashbag full of washingtons, i agree. this issue will not go away. infact, as the medical community learns more, its only gonna get worse.
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Old 05-30-2007, 10:16 PM   #4
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Default Re: Study Of N.F.L. Retirees Ties Concussions to Depression

I know that concussions aren't a funny issue, especially when they begin to affect your life after the game has long passed you by but I can't help but wonder if someone should do a study to find out if the other 31 percent who didn't turn in their studies couldn't mail them because they:

A - Forgot where they placed them
B - Forgot where the mail box was
C - Forgot about the study
D - Forgot they were a retired athlete
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Old 05-30-2007, 10:26 PM   #5
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Default Re: Study Of N.F.L. Retirees Ties Concussions to Depression

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Originally Posted by fansince'76 View Post
So what's the solution - turn the NFL into a flag football league? In regards to pass defense, it's halfway there already.
i hate to use a NASCAR referrence twice in a night on a football board, but before dale earnhardt died, only one or 2 drivers would be caught dead wearing a HANS device (head and neck restraint) which prevents the head ripping off the spinal column in a 180 MPH+ accident. soft walls were considered too expensive, escape hatches through the roof werent even thought of, and the "Car of Tommorow" wasnt even imagined or thought to be necessary.

and the "black box" that has since been installed in all the cars, have proven the "soft walls" work.

where theres a will, theres a way.
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Old 05-30-2007, 10:36 PM   #6
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Default Re: Study Of N.F.L. Retirees Ties Concussions to Depression

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Originally Posted by fansince'76 View Post
So what's the solution - turn the NFL into a flag football league? In regards to pass defense, it's halfway there already.
Well for starters the NFL and its lapdog union can quit forcing players to file suit and then defend verdicts for players and their families on appeal in order to get disability awards for being totally disabled at the time of retirement due to recurring traumatic brain injury when there is no genuine dispute that such total disability exists.

What the league and NFLPA forced Mike Webster's family to go through to obtain what they were entitled to receive under the plain meaning of the league's disability plan is shameful.

As for current players, the league can get its head out of the sand and force safer equipment to be used while telling coaches to err on the side of not rushing players back even though the players want to play. When I read about the description of Mel Renfro not knowing who he was after a concussion I immediately thought of Troy being propped up on the bench in the Saints game.

That has nothing to do with taking the inevitable violence out of the game.
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Old 05-30-2007, 10:45 PM   #7
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Default Re: Study Of N.F.L. Retirees Ties Concussions to Depression

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Originally Posted by Atlanta Dan View Post
Well for starters the NFL and its lapdog union can quit forcing players to file suit and then defend verdicts for players and their families on appeal in order to get disability awards for being totally disabled at the time of retirement due to recurring traumatic brain injury when there is no genuine dispute that such total disability exists.

What the league and NFLPA forced Mike Webster's family to go through to obtain what they were entitled to receive under the plain meaning of the league's disability plan is shameful.

As for current players, the league can get its head out of the sand and force safer equipment to be used while telling coaches to err on the side of not rushing players back even though the players want to play. When I read about the description of Mel Renfro not knowing who he was after a concussion I immediately thought of Troy being propped up on the bench in the Saints game.

That has nothing to do with taking the inevitable violence out of the game.
I completely agree with you as far as the retired players - they SHOULD be taken care of far better than they are. However, the risk of concussions will never be fully eliminated in a sport where I've heard the action described by players and ex-players alike being akin to literally being in a "car wreck" every 30-40 seconds. As far as safer equipment, a possible melding of some sort between the helmet and shoulder pads with additional padding inside helmets? Might be worth a try - that might lessen the risk of spinal injuries as well.
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Old 05-30-2007, 10:59 PM   #8
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Default Re: Study Of N.F.L. Retirees Ties Concussions to Depression

Quote:
Originally Posted by tony hipchest View Post
i hate to use a NASCAR referrence twice in a night on a football board, but before dale earnhardt died, only one or 2 drivers would be caught dead wearing a HANS device (head and neck restraint) which prevents the head ripping off the spinal column in a 180 MPH+ accident. soft walls were considered too expensive, escape hatches through the roof werent even thought of, and the "Car of Tommorow" wasnt even imagined or thought to be necessary.

and the "black box" that has since been installed in all the cars, have proven the "soft walls" work.

where theres a will, theres a way.
Great analogy - hopefully it will not take a similar tragedy to a NFL player of Earnardt's magnitude (although I cannot think of any NFL player that remotely means to the NFL what #3 meant and still means to NASCAR) to force change.
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Old 05-31-2007, 05:36 AM   #9
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Default Re: Study Of N.F.L. Retirees Ties Concussions to Depression

There was a very nice 'opinion piece' on the PFT website on the subject of the NFLPA and its steadily eroding role in the world of NFL.

While my first reaction was that were being a little overly fussy about the subject of voluntary workouts (that they should remain strictly voluntary) and that the no contact drills should remain just that - I thought about it and realised they had a good point.

The NFLPA appears to be very quiet on the issues that matter (such as studies into the lasting effects of concussion) and only rears its head in very high profile cases (asking for Pacmans sentence to be reduced!!).

Quote:
DOES THE NFLPA EVEN EXIST ANYMORE?

We're really starting to wonder whether there even is a National Football League Players Association. Sure, there's a group that goes by that name. They collect dues, and they negotiate a labor contract once every few years. But the NFLPA has, in our view, all but disappeared when it comes to the day-in, day-out maintenance of a fair balance between the things that the teams want to do and the overall and individual rights and interests of the players.

In the offseason, contact is forbidden in Organized Training Activities and minicamps; the union has negotiated this right for the players. Yet contact is prevalent. There are photos of it. There are quotes from players. And the union only comes out of its shell when the evidence is overwhelming, as it was two years ago when the Redskins posted video of impermissible one-on-one contact drills on the team's web site.

Then there's the whole issue of whether the voluntary offseason workouts are truly voluntary. It's one of the biggest jokes in the sport, right up there next to the notion that teams don't tamper with players who are soon to become free agents.

The difference, though, is that the evidence of tampering is rarely available. As to the issue of the involuntary voluntary workouts, there's a constant stream of proof.

The latest example? LenWhale White's absence from Tennessee OTAs on Tuesday. Coach Jeff Fisher called White out for his unexcused absence from sessions that he's not required to attend. Now that Fisher has learned that White was delayed in returning from Denver, where he was spending time with an ailing family member, Fisher is offering up a surreal exercise in semantics, acknowledging in one breath that these sessions are optional but then creating the clear impression that they aren't.

"Organized team activities are voluntary, they are not mandatory. However, we have had perfect attendance with very few exceptions," Fisher said. "When there is someone who is not in attendance, they typically have been excused. In order to excuse a player there has to be some kind of communication involved, and in this particular case there was a misunderstanding in communication."

Maybe the dye from Fisher's hair and/or moustache are seeping into his brain. Or maybe he knows that he's dealing with an impotent-to-the-point-of-invisible union that won't risk making waves (or is just too lazy to take on the work) by standing up to Fisher (or any other coach) and saying that he is in clear violation of the CBA.

Per Article XXXV, Section 5(a), "No Club official shall indicate to a player that the Club's off-season workout program or classroom instruction is not voluntary."

It's not good enough, in our view, for a coach to say, "It's voluntary, but if you're not going to be here, you'd better have an excuse. And, if you don't have an excuse, I'm going to make you look bad to your teammates by calling you out in the media."

Are we crazy? Are we stoopid? Or are teams like the Titans taking unfair advantage of their players while the union is doing nothing?

We know that we'll get plenty of e-mails in response to this item reminding us that we're talking about football players and that they shouldn't be pussies and we shouldn't we care about any of this anyway. We care about it because it's wrong. The union has sacrificed other player rights at the bargaining table in order to secure contact-free offseasons and truly optional practices. If the union isn't going to enforce these standards, why did they even bother to ask for these terms? They could have gotten something else for the players -- something that was real and meaningful.

Finally, we also think that there's an obligation on the part of the league to police itself in these matters. At a time when the Commissioner is cracking down (and we fully support him) when it comes to reeling in off-field misconduct, we think that the league office should be proactive if/when teams are engaged in actions that could create the impression of a real double standard.

Put simply, if players will suffer penalties for the failure to follow the rules of society, teams should be subject to discipline for failing to following the rules of the league.
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