FOOTBALL MOMS, BLACK AND WHITE: Florida Officials Fail to “FULLY” Inform Parents of the Real Threat of Brain Damage to Their Children and Youth — $Billion Dollar Settlement Against NFL For Failing to Inform Black and White Professional Football Players of the Threat of Brain Damage Upheld on Appeal
By Kevin Earl Wood, Investigative Reporter, Bay Community News
Sunday, May 21, 2016
[NOTE TO READERS: This Reporter researched and wrote the following story to hopefully communicate to the average mom, dad, school employee or state or federal legislator about the serious subject of (1) Symptomatic Concussions and (2) A-Symptomatic SUB-Concussions that are unavoidable evils in contact sports, particularly football and certainly boxing.
This story is intended to “FULLY” inform parents where the State of Florida and the Bay County School Boards has thus far failed to do so.
The story also goes deeper into the science and medical studies behind concussions demonstrating that the only way to prevent a concussion is by eliminating the violent contacts between players in contact sports.
The reader can choose how deep they wish to be “fully informed” on the subject of sports concussions as they read the article below and share it, and discuss it, with their children, youth and young adults as they would other important topics such as smoking, alcohol, drugs, sex, safe driving, military service, voting etc, that all have laws to set age limits protecting children’s well-being, health, safety and even possible fatal consequences.
Months of research by many concerned with sports concussions, and this Reporter, made this story possible so that moms and dads are “fully” informed in their decisions that may affect the futures and rest of the lives of their little Suzie or Johnny if they let them play football or other high impact contact sports, or may save their lives, quality of life and their future marriages and opportunities of life as their children grow into adulthood during, and after, football.
To zoom in to enlarge the story for easier reading you can press “CTRL +” or to zoom out “CTRL –” using the CTRL key and plus and minus keys on your Microsoft Windows computer keyboard.]
BCN Parental Warning Petition to FHSAA
Recently Bay Community News (BCN), this reporter, as a test, posted a Change.Org petition addressed to the Florida High School Athletics Association (FHSAA) requesting that the FHSAA “FULLY” inform and warn moms, dads, students and school personnel, and legislators, of the very real threat of brain deterioration and damage [Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or “CTE“] to their children and youth who play, or are planning to play, the extremely violent and dangerous “game” of football.
This is the short link to the petition that you can send to other moms and dads to join in (1) signing the petition and (2) leaving a reason for signing on the petition:
The petition was specifically addressed to Justin Harrison who is the FHSAA Associate Executive Director for Athletic Services.
Football Moms Finally Speak Out to Other Mothers and the U.S. Congress
On Friday the 13th, May 13, 2016, an unlucky day for the NFL and football, two mothers, Kelli Jantz and Karen Kinzle Zegel, provided emotionally devastating testimony about CTE and how it has affected them as football moms who have lost sons to CTE in a hearing before the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee of the House of Representatives.
Karen Zegel has established a website, http://stopcte.org, to inform other mothers of the danger that CTE poses to their children’s brains and its affect on the family and others.
Kelli Jantz as well has also established a website supporting, informing and warning mothers about CTE brain damage at http://mothersagainstconcussions.org/.
A major concern of mothers is that they know that the human brain is not fully developed until their children reach their early 20’s.
Mothers are therefore left with a Russian Roulette decision to protect their child’s brain for futher education and a long happy life or to let their child play football, or other high-impact contact sports, such as boxing, soccer, ice hockey, etc., knowing that the research to date on CTE brain deterioration and damage places the odds of getting CTE higher than what mothers are willing to accept and risk for their children in public school and college football programs.
College Football Students Have Lower Brain Executive Functioning
The Boston University (BU) CTE Center (http://www.bu.edu/cte/) has taken a lead in this country on CTE research studying, and diagnosing CTE in, the brains of numerous former NFL football players and finding evidence of CTE post mortem during dissection of the brain. As of today, CTE cannot be diagnosed in living football players or others subjected to repeated head impacts.
…football players indicated significantly more problems overall and on seven of the nine clinical scales, including Inhibit, Shift, Emotional Control, Initiate, Working Memory, Plan/Organize, and Task Monitor. These symptoms were greater in athletes 40 and older, relative to younger players. In sum, football players reported more-frequent problems with executive functioning and these symptoms may develop or worsen in the fifth decade of life. The findings are in accord with a growing body of evidence that participation in football is associated with the development of cognitive changes and dementia as observed in CTE.
BU’s definition of CTE is telling:
In a research paper by BU on CTE , with some medical jargon, gives a lay person, i.e. a parent, a basic understanding of what CTE does to a football player’s brain, particularly players that are assigned to multiple high-impacts hit and tackle position on the team:
CTE is characterized by atrophy of the cerebral hemispheres, medial temporal lobe, thalamus, mammillary bodies, and brainstem, with ventricular dilatation and a fenestrated cavum septum pellucidum. Microscopically, there are extensive tau-immunoreactive neurofibrillary tangles, astrocytic tangles, and spindle-shaped and threadlike neurites throughout the brain.
The Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville has as well conducted continuing research and have studied brains from its “brain bank.” The CTE Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Risk factors, Preparing for your appointment, Tests and diagnosis, Treatments and drugs, and Prevention publications that can all be accessed through links at http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-traumatic-encephalopathy/basics/definition/con-20113581 .
Bieniek led the team that examined the clinical records of 1,721 cases in the Mayo Clinic Brain Bank. They found 66 males who had documented participation in contact sports during their youth and young adult years. 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.
NFL Football Star Dave Duerson’s Suicide
This reporter’s, and BCN’s, petition has been featured on the Dave Duerson Athletic Safety Fund concussion awareness website (http://www.ddmuncieyouth.org/category/awareness/). The fund was founded by Dave Duerson’s brother, Michael Timothy Duerson, in May, 2012, “to educate all students (Grades K – 12) about concussion awareness and detection. ”
Dave Duerson (November 28, 1960 – February 17, 2011) committed suicide on February 17, 2011 at his Sunny Isles Beach, Florida home on February 17, 2011.
Duerson, an NFL football star, shot himself in the chest so that his brain could be preserved for testing for CTE. Before his suicide Duerson sent a text message to his family saying he wanted his brain to be used for research at the Boston University (BU) School of Medicine.
BU has conducted extensive research into chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a neuro-degenerative disease, in NFL football players which can be caused, in children and adults alike, by playing the high-impact concussion prone game of football.
Duerson left behind three sons and a daughter from his marriage to his ex-wife Alicia Duerson.
In a post-suicide, post-autopsy, study of Duerson’s brain BU confirmed an advanced stage of the disease of CTE in Duerson’s brain.
“FOOTBALL’$ WAR ON THE MIND$ OF BLACK MEN” – Black Lives, and Black Minds, Matter
The multi-billion dollar empire of the National Football League (NFL), who “owns” a day of the week (Sunday), would be crippled if black moms and black dads were “FULLY” educated as to the threat of deterioration and damage to there child’s (junior high), youth’s (high school) and young adult’s (college) brain caused by the hundreds and thousands of impacts, sub-concussions, and concussions to their child’s brain that routinely occur by the numbers in every game in the dangerous, and life threatening, “sport” of football.
The time-honored slogan of the United Negro College Fund is emphatically emphasized as, “A [Black] Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste.”
NFL Loses Billion Dollar Brain Damage Lawsuit Recently Upheld on Appeal – NFL Failed to Advise Players and Families of Professional Football Brain Damage Threat and Consequence for Players and Families
The National Football League (NFL) has been sued in a class action by hundreds of former professional NFL football players and their families (surviving estates) for failing to fully inform and warn NFL players, and their families, of the threat of brain deterioration and damage routinely caused by tackles, blocking, and other collisions with the ground or other players that slams the brain against the inside of the skull during these plays.
The lawsuit resulted in a billion dollar settlement against the NFL that has just recently been upheld on appeal as recently reported by Reuters and Newsweek. The original settlement was approved in April 2015 by federal U.S. District Court Judge Anita Brody in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld Judge Brody’s decision on April 18, 2016 is a scathing testimony against the NFL’s denial of the risk of brain damage and rules in favor of damaged NFL players and their families exposing the “true human costs” of the dangerous and violent game of football.
The Third Circuit concluded:
It is the nature of a settlement that some will be dissatisfied with the ultimate result. Our case is no different, and we do not doubt that objectors are well-intentioned in making thoughtful arguments against certification of the class and approval of this settlement. They aim to ensure that the claims of retired players are not given up in exchange for anything less than a generous settlement agreement negotiated by very able representatives.
But they risk making the perfect the enemy of the good. This settlement will provide nearly $1 billion in value to the class of retired players. It is a testament to the players, researchers, and advocates who have worked to expose the true human costs of a sport so many love. Though not perfect, it is fair. In sum, we affirm because we are satisfied that the District Court ably exercised its discretion in certifying the class and approving the settlement.
One must ask if FHSAA, the Florida Legislature or School District School Boards withhold the information in this article and conceal it from students and their parents, will they then be subject to the next class action lawsuit?
In the meantime player after player are beginning to “retire early” from NFL football as they become more and more informed on the threat of CTE brain deterioration and damage and the shortening of their lives and suffering from an increased future of loss of joy in life with their spouses or family as they begin to slip much too early into clouds of dementia in their 40’s or 50’s, as did Mike Webster, Pittsburgh Steelers.
Wikipedia names names of NFL football players who have been found to have CTE post mortem, suspected of having CTE, and a partial substantial list of those NFL players, or family or estates, that are parties to the class action against NFL.
Florida’s Responsibility to Protect Children and Youth in Public School Sports Activities
FHSAA is an arm of the State of Florida by law that regulates sports in all public schools in Florida by Chapter 1006.20 F.S. (“The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) is designated as the governing nonprofit organization of athletics in Florida public schools. “)
FHSAA shares its responsibility to protect children and youth with each and every local School Board of the 67 counties in Florida. Chapter 1006 of Florida law provides:
1006.07 District school board duties relating to student discipline and school safety.—The district school board shall provide for the proper accounting for all students, for the attendance and control of students at school, and for proper attention to health, safety, and other matters relating to the welfare of students…
(l) The FHSAA shall adopt bylaws or policies that require each student athlete who is suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury in a practice or competition to be immediately removed from the activity…
(a) The FHSAA shall operate as a representative democracy in which the sovereign authority is within its member schools…
Fully informing parents and students of the real threat of brain deterioration and brain damage from the violence and dangers of football, and other high impact sports, should be a high priority for both the FHSAA and local school boards in all 67 counties of Florida.
Bay Community News and Concerned Mom Plead to Bay County School District School Board (http://www.bay.k12.fl.us) to “Fully Inform” Parents of gthe Danger to Their Children and Youth
On January 12, 2016 this reporter and a concerned mother, Krista Navarro, briefed the Bay County, Florida, School Board on the need to “fully” inform parents of the threat of brain deterioration and damage as the minutes of that meeting reflect. The minutes of the Board meeting shows:
V. HEARING FROM THE PUBLIC
The following members from the public addressed Superintendent Husfelt and the School Board Members.
1) Krista Navarro spoke about CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, a degenerative disease which affects the brain of those who have suffered repeated concussions and traumatic brain injuries). Ms. Navarro expressed a desire to educate parents and older children about high impact sports and how they could affect those participating. She suggested forming a committee to educate parents and students.
2) Kevin Wood spoke about CTE and pointed out that parents should be educated on the risks of playing high impact sports. Chairman Moss suggested that perhaps a School Board workshop would be a venue to look at this further and indicated that he would get with the board members to see what their wishes were.
Since the January 12, 2016 Board meeting, to the present, there has been no further known action by the Bay District School Board to address the threat of CTE brain deterioration and damage to public school children and youth who play, or want to play, football or other high-impact sports. The issue of student brain safety and health appears to have disappeared into a black hole with Bay District Schools.
FHSAA Amends Parental Warning and Consent Form to Include “CTE” but Falls Far Short of “Fully” Informing and Warning Moms, and Dads and Students of the High Probability of a Resulting Neuro-Degenerative Disorder
As a direct result of the petition filed by Bay Community News, the FHSAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and the FHSAA Board of Directors, after advice of their attorney, has halfheartedly amended the EL3 consent and release of liability form used in all public schools in the State of Florida to be signed by the student and at least one parent.
The new EL3 form now touches on the threat of CTE buried at the very end of the EL3 form in fine print like most legal contracts prepared by lawyers, but falls far short of “fully” informing and warning moms and dads of the true and extensive threat of CTE brain damage to their children.
When little Johnny, eager to play football, comes to his parents to sign the consent/liability release form it can certainly be predicted and expected that most parents would not even read the legal fine print in the EL3 form and just go to the end and sign it glossing over the warnings of the threat to the child’s health, safety and even life hidden within the legalese created by FHSAA attorneys.
Beyond CTE, the EL3 form warns parents of the following threat to their children and youth:
I know of the risks involved in athletic participation, understand that serious injury, including the potential for a concussion, and even death, is possible in such participation, and choose to accept such risks.
C. I know of, and acknowledge that my child/ward knows of, the risks involved in interscholastic athletic participation, understand that serious injury, and even death, is possible in such participation…
D. I am aware of the potential danger of concussions and/or head and neck injuries in interscholastic athletics. I also have knowledge about the risk of continuing to participate once such an injury is sustained without proper medical clearance.
READ THIS FORM COMPLETELY AND CAREFULLY. YOU ARE AGREEING TO LET YOUR MINOR CHILD ENGAGE
IN A POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS ACTIVITY.
THERE IS A CHANCE YOUR CHILD MAY BE SERIOUSLY INJURED OR KILLED BY PARTICIPATING IN THIS ACTIVITY BECAUSE THERE ARE CERTAIN DANGERS INHERENT IN THE ACTIVITY WHICH CANNOT BE AVOIDED OR ELIMINATED.
DANGERS if your child continues to play with a concussion or returns too soon: Athletes with signs and symptoms of concussion should be removed from activity (play or practice) immediately. Continuing to play with the signs and symptoms of a concussion leaves the young athlete especially vulnerable to sustaining another concussion. Athletes who sustain a second concussion before the symptoms of the first concussion have resolved and the brain has had a chance to heal are at risk for prolonged concussion symptoms, permanent disability and even death (called “Second Impact Syndrome” where the brain swells uncontrollably). There is also evidence that multiple concussions can lead to long-term symptoms, including early dementia.
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.
I acknowledge the annual requirement for my child/ward to view “Concussion in Sports-What You Need to Know” at www.nfhslearn.com. I accept responsibility for reporting all injuries and illnesses to my parents, team doctor, athletic trainer, or coaches associated with my sport including any signs and symptoms of CONCUSSION. I have read and understand the above information on concussion. I will inform the supervising coach, athletic trainer or team physician immediately if I experience any of these symptoms or witness a teammate with these symptoms. Furthermore, I have been advised of the dangers of participation for myself and that of my child/ward.
The FHSAA, and their attorney, and the State of Florida through its School Boards, rely on the ignorance of parents and students, and school personnel, to recruit “uninformed” students and “uninformed” parents to financially exploit the child or youth in the big business of public school stadium ticket revenue at the expense of the health, safety, lives and futures of the children or youth involved in the extremely violent “game” of football.
Some argue that parents who allow their children or youth to play football should be charged with the crime of endangerment. The Florida endangerment statute, Section 827.03 F.S. et. seq. includes in part, as a criminal offense,”[a] caregiver’s failure to make a reasonable effort to protect a child from abuse, neglect, or exploitation by another person.”
The FHSAA, the State of Florida and the governing School Boards of the 67 counties in the State of Florida should do much more than providing a fine print, legalistic document for parents and students to sign without consultation with a lawyer and knowing that parents and students will sign it without even reading most, or any, of it.
The Vast Body of Medical Research and Studies Have Now Proven that CTE is a Real Threat to the Brains of Children, Youth, Young Adults and NFL Professionals
In 2002 Dr. Bennet Omalu made an earthshaking discovery that the degenerative brain disease Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or “CTE,” brain deterioration and damage was connected to football when in 2002 he performed an autopsy on the brain of Pittsburgh Hall of Famer Michael Lewis “Mike” Webster (March 18, 1952 – September 24, 2002). who died at 50 after extreme depression and homeless and had sold his two Superbowl rings to survive.
Dr. Omalu’s credentials and experience with the human body and brain are nothing short of amazing.
Dr. Omalu’s discovery, and retaliation against him by the National Football Leage (NFL), is the subject of the recently released movie “Concussion” starring superstar Will Smith who played the part of Dr. Omalu which every parent in Florida must see the movie to begin to understand the need to protect the brains of their children who play football, or want to play football, but don’t want to end up as Mike E Webster did.
After Decades of Denial the NFL Finally Admits to Congress that CTE Brain Deterioration and Damage is Connected to Football
The $billion dollar$ lawsuit against the NFL has now been settled because for decades the NFL has refused to admit that football leads to brain deterioration and damage caused by hundreds or thousands of repeated blows to the head suffered routinely in every game during a season.
These repeated blows to the brain result in a buildup of the protein “Tau” in the brain that interferes with the electrical signals in the brain that controls normal human functioning and development and results in the degenerative and progressive brain disease known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy now internationally known as “CTE.”
Finally, on Monday, March 14, 2016, after decades of denial, NFL Senior Vice President for Health and Safety Jeff Miller admitted to a U.S. Congress round-table discussion on the connection between football and CTE brain deterioration and damage.
Dr. Ann McKee, whose credentials compliment those of Dr. Bennet Omalu, testified on March 14, 2016.
Dr. Omalu: Don’t Let Kids Play Football
In an opinion editorial to the New York Times Dr. Omalu took the firm position to warn moms and dads, “Don’t Let Kids Play Football.”
Dr. Omalu’s simple argument is that the brains of children, youth and young adults are not fully developed from birth until their early to mid 20’s.
Causing repeated impacts to the vulnerable, jello-like still-growing brains of children as occurs repeatedly in football can then not only damage the brain but result in minor and major life functions including learning, memory, loss of emotional control and outbursts, depression, and even suicide. The brain is the “computer” that controls every function of the human body including a beating heart, breathing, and scores of other functions without which the human body cannot perform normally in particularly in the process of elementary, high school and college education.
Dr. Omalu emphasizes that we as a society have learned that smoking, alcohol, asbestos and other dangers lead to the damage of the human body in both adults and children. We therefore pass laws that protect children and adults where the children and adults are not able, or willing, to protect themselves.
Dr. Bennet Omalu, Played by Will Smith, Tells the National Football League (NFL) to “Tell the Truth! Tell the Truth! to Professional NFL Football Players Who “Play Hard, But Die Young” as Addressed in Dr. Omalu’s Book by This Title
On Christmas Day, 2015, the Movie “Concussion”, starring superstar Will Smith, was released to theaters in Panama City and across the nation, and later internationally. This reporter was the first in line at the theater for the very first showing of Concussion. The movie included a lineup of stars including Alec Baldwin, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Albert Brooks. The movie was directed by Peter Landesman.
In a riveting episode in the movie, Will Smith, playing the character of Dr. Bennet Omalu, challenges the National Football League (NFL) to, “Tell the Truth. Tell the truth” after concealing for decades the truth about brain damage from NFL football players. ABC interviewed Will Smith about playing Dr. Bennet Omalu.
The movie was a wake-up message to football moms, and dads, whose children play football, or want to play football.
Parents and school officials in Bay County have in great part stated to Bay Community News that they have not seen the movie. The movie is no longer in theaters in the U.S. but the DVD/Blue Ray versions are easily available from several sources including Amazon.Com. The full Sony official advance trailer for the movie can be viewed on YouTube.Com.
WHO IS DR. BENNET OMALU?
In a nutshell the movie “Concussion” portrays the research and dedication in the U.S. since 2002 to the present of Dr. Bennet Omalu who was an immigrant from Nigeria who is now a U.S. citizen. Dr. Omalu had a dream of what America represents and to Dr. Omalu America represented both opportunity and the truth about brain damage in football players. Dr. Omalu’s resume and credentials far exceeds most every forensic pathologist in the U.S. and internationally.
As reported by the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), CBN delved deep into the spirituality and mind of Dr. Omalu.. CBN reported as well that in his native tongue Dr. Omalu
In 2002 Dr. Omalu connected the brain disease “Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy”, or now commonly referred to as “CTE”, to NFL football players whose lives and families ended in tragedy. CTE is now being on the lips of every Football Mom in the U.S. when they now understand the deaths, suicides, mental and physical deterioration and family breakups of professional football players with the National Football League (NFL).
CTE is like smoking. Let your child smoke and develop the habit he or she will one day statistically develop cancer, but at lease emphysema or COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease that chokes the lungs ).
Likewise, let your elementary or high school child play football and this will place the child at risk of brain damage and the disease CTE.
NFL and the Florida High School Athletics Association (FHSAA) Both Conceal the Truth from Football Players and Their Families
When Dr. Omalu brought the football-linked brain disease CTE to the attention of the NFL and the NFL did nothing with the research findings of Dr. Omalu. To the contrary, the NFL, a multi-billion dollar powerful organization, intensely pressured Dr. Omalu to cover up his CTE findings in football players.
Since 2002 to the present Dr. Omalu has continued his CTE research as have several other research institutes across the nation, and internationally.
The Boston University CTE Center (http://www.bu.edu/cte/) has taken a lead in this country on CTE research studying, and diagnosing CTE in, the brains of numerous former NFL football players and finding evidence of CTE post mortem during dissection of the brain.
As of today, CTE cannot today be accurately diagnosed in living football players, or others subjected to repeated head impacts including military personnel. CTE research of the brains of deceased military personnel have also shown signs of CTE.
However, research with living NFL players has just begun and researchers at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine in New York City have reported testing a promising breakthrough imaging process using a novel positron emission tomography (PET) scanning method in which a new radioactive pharmaceutical, a ligand dubbed T-807 is tested. An anonymous former NFL football player volunteered for initial testing with T-807 was 39 years old and his brain scan with T-807 and the image showed possible Tau invasion of the brain.
The federal government is also running tests using PET scans and T-807.
This reporter and Bay Community News have been encouraging the Florida High School Athletics Association (FHSAA), specifically FHSAA Executive Director for Athletic Services Justin Harrison, to “fully inform” parents, and students, of the real threat of brain deterioration and damage to their offspring who play football.
A signature petition has been started at Change.Org for everyone who agrees that parents, particularly Moms, should be fully informed as to the threat of brain deterioration and damage to their offspring who play football, and other sports.
THE HUMAN BRAIN IS LIKE JELLO INSIDE A JAGGED BOWL
The brain, inside the skull, is like a bowl of Jello. If the bowl of Jello is accelerated and then hits a wall, the jello would (1) jiggle back and forth and (2) be deformed and damaged, just like a brain inside a skull.
Furthermore the jagged inside of the skull causes further tearing damage to the brain. R. Gabriel Joseph, Ph.D. has extensively studied the results of brain damage when the skull is rapidly decelerated as would happen routinely in a football play, blocking or tackling, when a football player is running at an average of 18 miles per hour and is suddenly stopped by a block or tackle. Dr. Joseph explains that the inside of the skull is not smooth but rather jagged:
Although seemingly smooth on the outside, the skull is not completely smooth and rounded on the inside as it consists of several small bony protrusions and cavities. These same protrusion can sometimes serve as a source of injury. For example, when the head is subject to accelerating-decelerating forces the soft mass of the brain may be thrown against these ridges and become torn and contused in consequence (Leestma 1991).
The threat of brain damage due to the jagged edges inside the skull is well-described as follows:
While common belief is that the skull provides a protective barrier around the brain providing adequate protection to the brain from outside forces, the very opposite is true. The brain is a soft gelatinous structure that floats in the skull in a sea of cerebrospinal fluid.
While the outside of the skull is strong and hard, the inside of the skull contains many sharp ridges and edges which can cause damage to the soft brain tissue. Much of the damage to the brain is related to the interior surface of the skull.
The brain is easily damaged when it moves within the skull cavity and is violently thrown up against these sharp areas. When the brain strikes the inside of the skull both the area that is struck can be injured as well as the opposite area of the brain. When the brain is subjected to forces causing it to move forward or backward or rotate in the closed skull cavity, the brain is forcefully propelled against the sharp edges and protrusions in the interior of the skull causing bruising, bleeding and destruction of nerve cells.
When a football player suffers a sudden deceleration of his body, including his skull, during a block or tackle, or his head hitting the turf, the brain sloshes back-and-forth inside the skull like Jello and the “sharp edges and protrusions” of the inside of the skull and “bruising, bleeding and destruction of nerve cells” result
Dr. Rolland S. Parker, a consulting Neuropsychologist, explains in his book “Traumatic Brain Injury and Neuropsychological Impairment“:
The Dura Mater Makes the Brain Vulnerable to Impact Trauma
The dura matter is a dense inelastic membrane. Its structure and strength create a hazard when the brain is pressed against it. The following forces press the brain against the sharp edges of the dura mater, causing lacerations and other damage:
1. Momentum of the brain caused by acceleration or deceleration forces parts of the brain into contact with the dura mater, which may cut or bruise it. A common injury is a cut to the corpus callossom, which connects the two cerebral hemispheres.
2. Brain swelling, i.e., edema, is increased fluid volume. This causes the brain to be cut as it herniates through the dura, causing structural distortions as some portions move and other are stretched or pushed against hard surfaces.
Steven Broglio, an assistant professor in the University of Michigan School of Kinesiology, and Director and Associate Professor of Athletic Training, studies concussive impacts. Kinesiology, also known as human kinetics, is the scientific study of human movement. Professor Broglio is also the Kinesiology addresses physiological, mechanical, and psychological mechanisms. Professor Broglio pulls no punches in his message to parents with youth playing football or wanting to play football:
” A concussion occurs at roughly 90 to 100 g-force, ‘which is like smashing your head against a wall at 20 mph. The shuttle launch is about 3 g-force; a rolling fighter pilot about 5-10 g-force.
Broglio also found that a high school football player takes about 652 impacts over a 12-13 week season. “I challenge you to find a parent who will tell their kid to bang their head against the wall 652 times in 12 weeks,” Broglio said. “It’s an interesting way to think about it.”
Football players routinely run during a play at 18-23 MPH (miles per hour) during a game with 23 being the record.
Two players colliding during a tackle and each is running 20 MPH is equal to a player running at 40 MPH into a brick wall.
It is now known from extensive research since 2002 that football is connected to the brain deterioration disease known as “Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy”, now commonly known as “CTE”, that was recently brought to extensive public light by the movie “Concussion” starring Will Smith that premiered in the United States on Christmas Day 2015.
For those who have missed the movie “Concussion”, it is now available on DVD and Blue Ray from various sources including Amazon.Com.
Finally after many decades of CTE denial by the NFL, NFL Senior Vice President for Health and Safety Jeff Miller, gave testimony to the House Committee on Energy & Commerce and admitted to the U.S. Congress that there is a connection between CTE and football brain deterioration and damage.
From child to adult CTE is the result of a progressive protein, TAU, that bit-by-bit accumulates in the brains of football players or other persons who receive repeated deceleration impacts to their head that occurs by the hundreds or even thousands during a tackle or blocking play. Boston University, a major player in CTE research, defines CTE:
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes (and others) with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including symptomatic concussions as well as asymptomatic subconcussive hits to the head. CTE has been known to affect boxers since the 1920s. However, recent reports have been published of neuropathologically confirmed CTE in retired professional football players and other athletes who have a history of repetitive brain trauma. This trauma triggers progressive degeneration of the brain tissue, including the build-up of an abnormal protein called tau. These changes in the brain can begin months, years, or even decades after the last brain trauma or end of active athletic involvement. The brain degeneration is associated with memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and, eventually, progressive dementia.
Persons infected with CTE, and TAU, may show several symptoms as listed by the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.
Some of the possible signs and symptoms of CTE may include:
- Difficulty thinking (cognitive impairment)
- Impulsive behavior
- Depression or apathy
- Short-term memory loss
- Difficulty planning and carrying out tasks (executive function)
- Emotional instability
- Substance abuse
- Suicidal thoughts or behavior
Other suspected symptoms may include:
- Speech and language difficulties
- Motor impairment, such as difficulty walking, tremor, loss of muscle movement, weakness or rigidity
- Trouble swallowing (dysphagia)
- Vision and focusing problems
- Trouble with sense of smell (olfactory abnormalities)
PETITION TO “FULLY INFORM” PARENTS AND STUDENTS OF THE DANGERS OF CTE
This reporter has published a petition (http://tinyurl.com/KidsBrainProtection) to FHSAA requiring FHSAA to “fully inform” parents and students of the risk of brain deterioration and damage due to repeated blows to the head in football tackles and blocking resulting in the progressive disease CTE.
On March 8, 2016, the FHSAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee met in response to the petition. The purpose of the meeting was to amend the parent/student consent and liability release form (EL3). The previous version of the form said nothing about CTE. The Committee has now initially proposed that the EL3 form should contain the following warning to parents and students in the Florida public school system:
“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, Amyotrophic 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.“
The EL3 form, that must be approved by the attorney for the FHSAA, is loaded with legal jargon fine print that most likely most parents, and student, probably never read before signing.
Moms across the country are uniting to protect their children and youth from brain damage. One mom, Kimberly Archie , lost a son, Paul Bright Jr., age 24, who played football from age 7 to 17 as reported by the Washington Post.
Although Archie’s son was killed in a motorcycle accident, a post-mortem autopsy of his brain showed early stages of progressive CTE demonstrating that CTE is not just limited to professional NFL players.
The Post quoted Archie:
“My son knew how to hit without using his head…Your brain still slams against your skull even if you’re hitting shoulder to shoulder…Moms are gatekeepers to children … and if we don’t want the kids to play, and if the dad thinks it’s perfectly safe, then guess what? Little Johnny isn’t playing…I see it the opposite — they’re beating the crap out of these kids’ heads, the majority of them are never going to play in the NFL, and so you’re killing your (NFL) customers…As long as you are exposing kids to hits, you are exposing them to brain damage…Even football, as great as it is, will not be able to supersede the love of a mother protecting her child…”And as more moms are aware of this exposure to brain damage, they are not going to play Russian Roulette with their kid’s brain…I don’t know any mom who would know what I know and sign their kid up.”
Another mom, Karen Kinzle Zegel, lost her son, Patrick Mark Kinzle Risha, on September 17, 2014 at age 32. Patrick died of suicide.
Every parent or custodian of minor children or youth under eighteen (18) should see the movie to begin understanding not only the threat in football and other contact sports of detectable symptomatic concussions but, as the movie “Concussion” highlights, the real threat of undetectable a-symptomatic sub-concussions that lead to brain deterioration and damage due to CTE.
On December 1, 2015 the Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida, issued a press release reporting that they have found that 1 in 3 individuals (32%) out of the 66 brains studied from the Mayo Clinic Brain Bank who played contact sports as a child developed CTE damage to their brains and was a “pathology that had gone previously unrecognized.”
To the contrary, in a study of 198 brains of persons who did not have a history of playing contact sports in their youth, not a single brain showed any evidence of CTE.
FHSAA AND LOCAL SCHOOL BOARD RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT STUDENTS
The FHSAA, a non-profit corporation in Florida, is tasked by Florida law, Chapter 1006 F.S. et. seq., to oversee athletics programs in Florida’s K-12 public schools. Section 1006.20(1) F.S. defines, in part, the role of FHSAA:
K-20 EDUCATION CODE
SUPPORT FOR LEARNING
(1) GOVERNING NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION.—The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) is designated as the governing nonprofit organization of athletics in Florida public schools. If the FHSAA fails to meet the provisions of this section, the commissioner shall designate a nonprofit organization to govern athletics with the approval of the State Board of Education.
Local School Boards are responsible for the health, safety and welfare of the children under their custodial charge and responsibilities:
1006.07 District school board duties relating to student discipline and school safety.—The district school board shall provide for the proper accounting for all students, for the attendance and control of students at school, and for proper attention to health, safety, and other matters relating to the welfare of students where Section 1006.07 F.S. provides:
1006.07 District school board duties relating to student discipline and school safety.—The district school board shall provide for the proper accounting for all students, for the attendance and control of students at school, and for proper attention to health, safety, and other matters relating to the welfare of students…
Why do Moms and Dads Allow Their Children to Risk Brain Deterioration and Damage in Football?
Parents, particularly dads, simply remain either (1) uninformed or (2) ignorant about the real threat of brain damage to their children or youth who play football, or want to play football.
“Uninformed” parents, both moms and dads, have simply not yet had, or taken the opportunity, to learn about the intricate delicacy of the human brain that’s comparable a bowl of jello and any impact to the head, and thereby the brain, however slight or great, causes progressive damage to the brain.
The brain deterioration and damage becomes evident from detectable symptomatic concussive brain swelling and likely imminent death or disability, or, subtly due to undetectable repetitive A-symptomatic “sub” concussions to the brain.
These A-symptomatic “sub” concussions cause a buildup of the protein called “Tau” that builds up in the brain over time in a football player’s brain in his football career from childhood to NFL professionals whose lives and families are cut short and ruined early in life, including suicide.
The protein “Tau” accumulates in the brain just as the poisons from cigarette smoking accumulate in the lungs leading to early death and disability.
“Tau” then clogs up the normal electrical signals in the jello-like-brain that leads a football student to lose his full memory and learning abilities, impairs his judgment skills, impairs his emotional control over his actions that leads to irrational outbursts, and other mental disabilities that become pronounced, and even fatal, in early to mid-years of adult life, that also include suicide as with NFL players.
“Uninformed” parents in most cases haven’t even see the movie “Concussion”, starring superstar Will Smith but need to if they care about their kids. The DVD is easily available at Amazon.Com (Amazon.com: Concussion: Alec Baldwin, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Arliss Howard, Paul Reiser, Luke Wilson, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Mike O’Malley, David Morse, Albert Brooks, L. Scott Caldwell, Hill Harper, Richard Jones, Eddie Marsan, Stephen Moyer, Bitsie Tulloch, Matthew Willig, Dan Ziskie, Will Smith, Peter Landesman, Ridley Scott, Elizabeth Cantillon, Larry Shuman, David Wolthoff, Giannina Scott, Columbia Pictures: Movies & TV).
The Concussion DVD would be a great present for mom, and dad.
“Ignorant” parents, particularly dads, are those who have seen the movie “Concussion”, and are further “informed” of the medical dangers to their children’s minds and brain health, but are overly obsessed with, and addicted to, the violence and dangers of football and other similar dangerous and violent sports such as boxing, professional wrestling, kick-boxing, martial arts, etc.
The greater the “hit”, impact and collision between players on the gridiron produces a rush of Adrenalin football addicts that bombards the pleasure zones of the brain that causes parents to ignore the threat to their children, youth and adults who play football.
Parents, moms and dads, in this country continue to smoke, abuse alcohol, do drugs etc., or even let their children do so, even though they have been well “informed” of the dangers of these activities to prolong their own self-indulgence.
These parents simply don’t give a hoot about the health, safety and well-being of their children, male and female, and instead desire to satisfy their own self-pleasuring needs at the expense of their children and families well-being.
That is, “ignorance” is knowing the medical and scientific facts and dangers to children, youth and young adults but ignoring them.
The FHSAA and local school boards in the 67 counties in Florida, if they care enough about the well-being of students in their care, should send a mass email to all parents and school employees linking to the above story at http://tinyurl.com/FootballMomsProtectChildBrains .
Moms and dads, and school personnel, would only then be “fully informed about the real threat of brain deterioration and damage due to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE.
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