Football Moms (And Dads): FHSAA Board of Directors Meeting Today and Tomorrow (June 13-14) Will Continue to Ignore the Threat of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) Brain Damage to Public School Youth Who Play Tackle Football — Will Florida Be Sued for Millions for Intentionally Hiding the Truth From Parents?

By Kevin Earl Wood, Investigative Reporter, Bay Community News
EMAIL: allunited@bellsouth.net

Published June 13, 2016

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FHSAA – Failing Miserably at “Fully” Warning Moms and Dads That There is a Real Danger and High Probability of CTE Brain Damage to Their Tackle Football Offspring in Public Schools – “Tell the Truth.  Tell the Truth” to Parents

Bay Community News (BCN) has been fighting for months to get the Florida High School Athletics Association (FHSAA) to fully “Tell the Truth.  Tell the Truth.” to parents and students about the dangerous progressive and degenerative brain disease now commonly known throughout the U.S., and internationally, as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or “CTE“, that has been connected to the dangerous and violent game of football.

Extensive medical research has thus far shown that the only way to prevent concussions and sub-concussions, and the bit-by-bit accumulation of a cancer-like protein call “Tau”,  in a player’s brain is to completely eliminate violent blocking impacts and violent tackles where sub-concussions occur during every play.  Again, thus far, the FHSAA is concealing this critical piece of information from parents, students and school personnel throughout Florida.

The bit-by-bit infection of Tau in a tackle football player’s brain begins in childhood and youth football and becomes worse as a child (Peewee and Pop Warner), youth (High School), young adult (College) and adult (NFL) continue with a football career through to the million dollar contract dream that has about the same probability as buying a winning Lotto Ticket.

On Monday, June 13,  the FHSAA Board of Directors will will begin its two day meeting in Gainesville, Florida.  One agenda item is for the Board to consider reducing violence and concussions in football practices.  However, the FHSAA is still refusing to admit, as has the NFL, that CTE is connected to tackle football caused by hundreds of asymptomatic (no symptoms) sub-concussive impacts and blows to the head that a player suffers during a season of practice and actual games.

What the FHSAA is Failing to Do, But Should Agree to do at Today’s Board of Directors Meeting – Mom and Dad’s Have a Right-to-Know of the Real, and High Risk, of Brain Damage to Their Football Playing Youth and Not Intentionally be Kept in the Dark by FHSAA, School Boards and Florida Legislators

Mothers Kelli Jantz and Karen Kinzle Zegel Glance at Picture of Ms. Zegel's Football Son, Patrick Mark Kinzle Risha, Who Committed Suicide at Age 32 on September 17, 2014 and Whose Autopsy Showed His Brain Was Infected With CTE

Congressional Hearing on CTE: Mothers Kelli Jantz and Karen Kinzle Zegel Glance at Picture of Ms. Zegel’s Football Son, Patrick Mark Kinzle Risha, Who Committed Suicide at Age 32 on September 17, 2014 and Whose Autopsy Showed His Brain Was Infected With CTE During Their Recent Testimony Before Congress

At minimum, the FHSAA Board of Directors should agree during their June 13-14 meeting that a mass email should be sent out by the FHSAA and all sixty seven (67) county School Districts to all moms, dads, students and school personnel strongly advising these folk to access and study the following CTE information sources BEFORE making a decision to allow, or not allow, their children and youth to play full contact tackle football with too high a risk for brain damage:

  • Buy the movie “Concussion” starring Will Smith on DVD and watch it with their children, friends,  church, etc. (Amazon.Com DVD $12.96)
  • Go to the Mothers Against Concussions (http://mothersagainstconcussions.org/) and Stop CTE (http://stopcte.org/) websites published by mothers for mothers and read and study ALL of the numerous football case studies referenced that expose the damage caused to football players and their families by CTE
  • Read and study the BCN CTE Investigative Research Publication at http://tinyurl.com/FootballMomsProtectChildBrains.
  • Recognize that substantial medical research studies since 2002 to the present have connected  CTE brain damage to and football as the NFL has recently admitted to Congress
  • Recognize that the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville Florida has connected CTE brain damage to individuals who played contact sports in their youth
  • Recognize that it is impossible by the laws of nature, math and physics to design any helmet that can prevent concussions during full-contact tackle football
  • Recognize that football helmet manufacturer scams will try to exploit football player and parent real fears of CTE brain damage by falsely claiming their helmets can reduce or prevent concussions or sub-concussions
  • Recognize that recently in February 2016 the U.S. Congress has proposed legislation to make it illegal for a helmet manufacture to make false claims that their helmets or other sports equipment can reduce or prevent concussions being addressed by House Resolution 4460 (Youth Sports Concussion Act) and Senate Bill 2508 (Youth Sports Concussion Act)

Mom’s and Dad’s have an absolute right to be “fully” informed of the above information and studies about the dangers and high probability that their offspring will be exposed to concussions and, critically, now well-known  numerous sub-concussions that occur during every game of football from childhood to the pros in the NFL.

The following is included in H.R. 4460 and S.B. 2508:

(a) Findings.—Congress makes the following findings:

(1) Scientific advancements and a greater understanding of the issues that affect the health and safety of young athletes are key to reducing sports-related concussions in youth.

(2) The National Academies issued a report in 2013 finding limited evidence that current helmet designs reduce the risk of sports-related concussions and no evidence that mouthguards or facial protection reduce concussion risk, and recommending that the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense fund research on biomechanical factors that influence injury risk in youth.

***

SEC. 3. FALSE OR MISLEADING CLAIMS WITH RESPECT TO ATHLETIC SPORTING ACTIVITY EQUIPMENT.

 (a) Unlawful Activity.—It is unlawful for any person to sell, or offer for sale, in interstate commerce, or import into the United States for the purpose of selling or offering for sale, any item or equipment intended, designed, or offered for use by an individual engaged in any athletic sporting activity, whether professional or amateur, for which the seller or importer, or any person acting on behalf of the seller or importer, makes any deceptive claim with respect to the safety benefits of such item.

This past December, 2015, the Jacksonville, Florida Mayo Clinic reported disturbing eye-opening findings from their study of donated brains in their “brain bank.

The brains of individuals who had reported participation in contact sports as a youth or young adult were studied for CTE infection and was compared to a control group of brains that had no reported involvement with contact sports.  As the Mayo Clinic News Network Reported:

Of these cases, 32 percent had CTE pathology when the researchers examined brain tissue. In comparison, none of the 198 brains of individuals without documentation of participation in contact sports, including 66 women, had CTE pathology. (emphasis added)

The FHSAA has a legal duty to “fully” inform parents and students of the Mayo Clinic, and other, studies so that parents can decide whether they are willing to accept 32 percent, or 1 in 3, Russian Roulette odds that their football playing offspring  will begin to acquire CTE infection of their brains that could affect their future learning abilities and quality of life and relationships as the CTE disease progresses through adulthood.

It is further quite disturbing that Dr. Jennifer Roth Maynard, MD, Family & Sports Medicine Consultant, Mayo Clinic Florida is a member of the FHSAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee that recently bungled its opportunity to “fully” amend the Florida parental/student consent/release EL3 form used by all public schools in Florida, as BCN previously reported, to “fully” inform moms, dads and students of the crucial information reported in this story.

At the advice of their FHSAA attorney, the Committee, in order to keep parents and students in the dark about the full and serious nature of the high probability threat CTE, the Committee, including Dr. Maynard from Mayo,  buried this medical and legal gobbledygook in fine print at the bottom of page 2 of the revised EL3 form clearly knowing that the vast majority of parents and students would never read this, nonetheless understand it, before signing the form without advice of legal counsel:

Statement of Student Athlete Responsibility Parents and students should be aware of preliminary evidence that suggests repeat concussions, and even hits that do not cause a symptomatic concussion, may lead to abnormal brain changes which can only be seen on autopsy (known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)). There have been case reports suggesting the development of Parkinson’s-like symptoms, Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), severe traumatic brain injury, depression, and long term memory issues that may be related to concussion history. Further research on this topic is needed before any conclusions can be drawn.

It should be parents, not the FHSAA, that make “conclusions” as to the risk to their children after they are presented all of the research that is now available on the threat and danger of CTE not only to professional NFL football players, but to children, youth and young adults planning to play football in college.

The Four (4) Stages of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)

The Four (4) Stages of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)

CTE infection spreads through the brain as a person grows older from child to adult in four stages, 1-4 as prominent CTE researchers reported in 2014.

 

The National Football League (NFL) Admits to Congress that Progressive Degenerative CTE Brain Damage is Connected to Football 

After decades of denial by the National Football League (NFL), the NFL Senior Vice President For Health and Safety, Jeff Miller, finally admitted to Congress on March 14, 2016, that CTE brain damage is indeed linked to football as reported by CNN:

NFL Senior Vice President for Health and Safety, Jeff Miller, Admits to the U.S. Congress that CTE Brain Damage is Linked to Football

NFL Senior Vice President for Health and Safety, Jeff Miller, Admits to Congress That CTE Brain Damage is Linked to Football

Jeff Miller, the NFL’s senior vice president of health and safety policy, was part of a round-table discussion with the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce on Monday when Rep. Jan Schakowsky asked him directly: “Mr. Miller, do you think there is a link between football and degenerative brain disorders like CTE?”

“The answer to that question is certainly yes,” Miller said.

The day after Miller’s testimony to Congress the NFL issued this statement:

The comments made by Jeff Miller yesterday accurately reflect the view of the NFL.

The Movie “Concussion” Starring Superstar Will Smith – “Tell the truth.  Tell the truth.”

The devastation of football players’ lives and families due to CTE was highlighted by the movie “Concussion” starring superstar Will Smith in an award-winning performance that was released to theaters in the U.S. on Christmas Day 2015.  The movie is now available on DVD from various sources including Amazon.Com (DVD $12.96).  The official Sony trailer to the movie is on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNCvaa-RogQ .

CTE poses a threat not only to professional NFL football players and college football players, and their families, but also poses a threat to children, youth and young adults in the Florida public school system who play full-contact tackle football, or other high-impact contact sports.  NFL players are now beginning to line up for early retirement, giving up millions in salaries, to avoid the personal and family devastation now linked to CTE.

Florida High School Athletics Association (FHSAA) Board of Directors Who Refuse to Date to Protect Your Football Child's Brain, Life and Future.

Florida High School Athletics Association (FHSAA) Board of Directors Who Refuse to Date to Protect Your Football Child’s Brain, Life and Future.

Despite the publication of a recent BCN full investigative research story detailing the threat of CTE devastation to the lives of football players, their spouses and their families,  the FHSAA still continues to hide the “full” truth about CTE from football moms, dads, students and school personnel in the school systems of the sixty seven (67) counties of Florida.

The FHSAA has grossly failed to warn the general public about the dangers of CTE disabling brain damage to youth in the Florida public school system who play football or other high-impact contact sports.

The most attention grabbing line in the movie “Concussion” was from Will Smith, playing the real-life Dr. Bennett Omalu, when he tells an NFL representative face-to-face, “Tell the truth.  Tell the truth”, again on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gv7S5Xxs-Zc .  A personal look at Will Smith’s dedication to the message of the movie was revealed in an interview with ABC.

In Conclusion:  Moms and Dads Should Decide if their “Kids” Play Football, Not the FHSAA

 

It was Dr. Omalu who first connected CTE to NFL football players in 2002 with the autopsy of Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Famer Mike Webster who had CTE.  The movie depicts the efforts of Dr. Omalu to sound the warning about CTE to the NFL and its players and families while the NFL, a multi-billion dollar empire, retaliated in attempting to discredit him even using veiled death threats.

SurgeonGeneralWarningAndMikeWebsterTribute

(Click on Picture to Enlarge)

Dr. Omalu’s professional credentials as the world’s leading expert in the disease CTE are bolstered by his professional experience documented in his resume, or rather curriculum vitae.

Moms and Dads should then finally take warning and caution from Dr. Omalu’s report in the New York Times entitled, directly to the point, “Don’t Let Kids Play Football.”

BCN has approached FHSAA without any luck and to no avail to see if FHSAA would sponsor Dr. Omalu to come to Florida to speak to FHSAA Committee and Board Members and Florida lawmakers.

 

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About the Author:

Mr. Wood is a Former Military Officer and Electrical/Project/Program Engineer for the U.S. Air Force (Active Duty Military: Captain) and Navy (Civilian: GS-12). He is a cum laude honors graduate of the University of New Hampshire Electrical Engineering and Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) Program. He is the recipient of the Air Force Commendation Medal for his military service. He is as well a relentless and staunch Constitutional and Civil Rights Advocate and Activist with a zero-tolerance for abuse of children or discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, and handicap status. He is also well known for exposing during the 1980's sexual harassment of female employees at the Naval Coastal Systems Center (NCSC), Panama City Beach, Florida, and the negligence of NCSC officials to stop the systemic harassment as verified by the Naval Inspector General (IG) in 1990-1991 as reported by the IG to then Florida U.S. Senator Bob Graham.

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