Tackling the Issue of CTE in Sports

football CTEWith another football season on the horizon, coupled with last week’s induction of legendary linebacker Junior Seau into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the controversial topic of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is back on the front burner. CTE is a type of degenerative brain disease that has become a hot button issue in the world of contact sports.

Following Seau’s retirement in 2010 after an extraordinary 20-year career, his family began to notice bouts of insomnia, depression, extreme mood swings, and emotional withdrawal. “It was hard,” his daughter, Sydney, told Yahoo Sports. “[W]e were all reaching for someone that wasn’t exactly reaching back, even though…we knew that he wanted to.”

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World Cup Reignites Talk of Concussion Safety

We’re going to the finals! Tuesday night, the U.S. women’s soccer team defeated top-ranked Germany to score a place in the Women’s World Cup finals. But national pride and enthusiasm aside, this summer’s tournament has reignited talk about the dangers of concussions and chronic traumatic encephalothopy (CTE) in soccer. Just 28 minutes into Tuesday night’s game, American player Morgan Brian and German player Alexandra Popp’s heads collided on a free kick near the U.S. goal. Both players spent a few minutes writhing on the ground afterwards (Popp with a noticeably bloody head wound), and after a few minutes on the sideline, both were examined by team physicians and returned to the game. FIFA was criticized for not having an independent neurologist on the sideline to evaluate the extent of the head trauma, and the incident prompted a number of articles about player safety.

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Aphasia Awareness Month

shutterstock_94532341When a close friend of mine first started telling me about her mother’s sudden odd changes in behavior, my immediate thought was that they must be signs of Alzheimer’s. Hers seemed to be a gradual decline, one that began no more than two years ago, and as I saw her every now and then, I noticed more and more how she was withdrawing, depriving us of her warm, sociable disposition. Continue reading

Michigan Mishandles Concussed Football Player

Credit: MGoBlog

Morris needs help to stay upright after a blow to the head. (Credit: MGoBlog)

The scene at Michigan Stadium on Saturday was not what we’ve come to expect in 2014, and that’s a good thing. In the fourth quarter of a college football game between the University of Michigan and the University of Minnesota, Michigan quarterback Shane Morris was knocked to the ground by a helmet-first tackle directly under his chin. Morris exhibited signs of a concussion: he winced and walked gingerly towards the sideline before collapsing into a teammate’s arms. Apparently Michigan’s coaches and medical staff didn’t see, or figured his behavior was the result of a leg injury sustained earlier in the game. Either way, Morris returned to the game for the next play. “This seems a little dangerous to me,” the announcer said of the decision. Morris was then sidelined after that, but a few plays later re-entered the game. In the aftermath, Michigan has been roundly criticized by for its handling of the situation.

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Keeping Our Eye on the Ball: NFL Concussion Crisis


Media coverage of Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, and other lesser known National Football League (NFL) players involved in domestic abuse cases have pushed the larger problem facing the game—chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)—to the back burner.

In a recent New York Times column, writer Michael Powell notes that barely anyone noticed “the John Abraham sideshow down in Phoenix.” Abraham, a 36-year-old veteran linebacker, suffered a concussion in the season’s first game. Afterward, ESPN reported that he had been struggling with memory loss for more than a year.

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