Death of the NFL: Part 2
In part one of this series, I suggested that the increased size, speed and strength of today's NFL players are creating a dramatically more impactful and damaging set of collisions. We have known for years of the devastation these collisions wreck on every joint in the human body. It has become crystal clear that the effects of blows to the head affect emotions, memory, reasoning -- what it means to be human -- in frightening ways. The ticking time bomb and undiagnosed health epidemic that is developing consists of the cumulative effects of millions of sub-concussive blows that are rarely recognized or treated. The potential reticence of parents to allow their children to play football at all, combined with the legal and insurance liability highlighted in current lawsuits, poses a long-term threat to the game of football. David Epstein wrote Thursday on SI.com that new studies reveal the deleterious effect of low-level hits. Epstein highlighted studies from the University of Rochester and Cleveland Clinic that showed elevated concentrations of the S100B protein in the blood streams of college football players that suffered sub-concussive hits. This presence of this protein is an indicator of brain injury. Antibodies rush to reject the unwanted protein in the brain and can result in destructive penetration of the blood/brain barrier. This occurred with players who were not knocked out. Last week I urged readers to contemplate the fact that an offensive or defensive lineman who plays in high school, college and pro football may suffer 10,000 of these sub-concussive hits.
Photo: Flickr/Michael Oh (cc)
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