Stabler’s CTE Diagnosis Puts NFL Concussion Issue in New Light
It’s no surprise those who made, “Concussion,” reportedly softened the movie in order to curb complaints from the NFL, that the film released in December didn’t deliver its desired bite about a subject that has openly challenged how much the league truly cares about the brain health of its players.
Hell hath no fury like an NFL attorney who smells a libel suit.
The NFL talks a good game when it comes to its health and safety efforts, but statistics continue to favor the side that wonders how diligent the league has been in protecting those smashing into each other.
Just days before Super Bowl 50 is staged at Levi’s Stadium, before the Broncos and Panthers engage in such a historic meeting, word came Wednesday that yet another of the game’s all-time greats suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE, a progressive degenerative brain disease.
Ken Stabler died in July at the age of 69 of colon cancer, and the Super Bowl MVP quarterback of the Oakland Raiders had made the decision to donate his brain and spine to my colleague Dr. Robert Stern at Boston University’s CTE Center.
The doctors who studied Stabler’s brain said the player’s lesions were widespread and affected many regions of the organ.
“He would want science to change this horrible thing that’s happening to so many players and find a way to make the game safer and better,” Kim Bush, Stabler’s longtime partner, told ESPN. “He would say, ‘My head is rattling.’ And it was. It was, in fact, rattling.”
There were 115 reported head injuries in the NFL during the 2014 regular season.
That number was 182 this year. That’s an increase of 58 percent.
In all, players sustained 271 concussions in practices, preseason and regular season games this season.
That’s not good, given the spike comes after the league instructed its officials to crack down on helmet-to-helmet hits.
It was just last year when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league had never been safer. Then this season arrived and the number of head injuries increased by 58 percent.
You get different opinions on the head injury issue from different medical professionals. Dr. Bennet Omalu, the pathologist played by Will Smith in “Concussion” and who first identified brain disease in football players, believes more than 90 percent of players that will compete in Super Bowl 50 suffer from CTE
But how safe can you really make — or in the NFL’s case, want to make — a product chiefly defined by violence?
Who really cares about this, NFL fans don’t care, the NFL only cares about its bottom line, for the most part NFL players are done, 85-90% of players who played in the NFL will come down with some form of CTE.
The HPN Neurologic Concussion Management model The “Model” is built around Second Impact Syndrome (SIS)? Second impact syndrome (SIS) occurs when an athlete returns to play too early after suffering from an initial concussion, the athlete may receive only a minor blow to the head or a hit to the chest or back that snaps the head enough to have the brain rebound inside the skull.
An athlete who is recovering from a concussion, but who has not yet fully recovered, is at risk for second impact syndrome (SIS). Typically, the athlete suffers post-concussion signs and symptoms after the first head injury, such as headache, visual, motor or sensory changes or mental difficulty, especially with the thought and memory process. Before these symptoms have cleared, which may take minutes, hours, days or weeks, the athlete returns to competition and receives a second blow to the head.
Because the brain is more vulnerable and susceptible to injury after an initial brain injury, it only takes a minimal force to cause irreversible damage. The brain’s ability to self-regulate the amount of blood volume to the brain is damaged resulting in increased cerebral blood volume which can result in brainstem herniation and death.
The pressure to the brain increases rapidly causing brain death in as little as three to five minutes. Because brain death is so rapid, second impact syndrome has a high fatality rate in young athletes.
Most cases of SIS have occurred in young people, who are thought to be particularly vulnerable. In order to prevent SIS, HPN Concussion Management guidelines to return to play have been established to prohibit athletes from returning to a game prematurely.