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Athletes' Brains Reveal Concussion Damage

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the chronic-traumatic-encephalopathy dept.

Medicine 328

jamie found a story on research about what concussions do to athletes, with the insights coming mostly from the study of the donated brains of dead athletes. The NFL has the biggest profile in the piece, but other sports make an appearance too. Turns out that repeated concussions can result in depression, insomnia, and the beginnings of something that looks a lot like Alzheimer's. "The idea that you can whack your head hundreds of times in your life and knock yourself out and get up and be fine is gone," said [retired wrestler] Nowinski. "We know we can't do that anymore. This causes long-term damage."

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328 comments

Referencing to other article (5, Funny)

Herr_Skymarshall (1029532) | more than 5 years ago | (#26628837)

They just need to smoke more pot!

Re:Referencing to other article (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26628877)

Given that most athletes are NIGGERS, chances are that they already use weed 'n' coke 'n' malt LICKA, BITCH!

Re:Referencing to other article (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629355)

They can't. Pot is classified as a performance enhancing substance...which just shows how backwards the world of sport is.

Re:Referencing to other article (4, Funny)

Feanturi (99866) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629545)

I'm not sure how that's "backwards". Depending on the activity, pot is in fact performance enhancing. I just can't remember how offhand.

Re:Referencing to other article (2, Informative)

computerman413 (1122419) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629567)

Citation please. AFAIK, it isn't considered a PED, but is is a banned substance. Banned != Performance-Enhancing for all banned drugs.

Simple... give 'em ganja (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26628845)

http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/01/27/1354225 [slashdot.org]
If it works for Alzheimers... maybe it'll work for Football

Re:Simple... give 'em ganja (2, Funny)

dedazo (737510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629295)

That has the insidious side effect of causing the patient to start speaking lolcat though.

How about Rockys brain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26628857)

How about Rockys brain?

Re:How about Rockys brain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26629285)

considering that he decided to face someone who is 60 pounds heavier and has a 2150 psi punch, you tell me.

Re:How about Rockys brain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26629629)

considering that he decided to face someone who is 60 pounds heavier and has a 2150 psi punch, you tell me.

2,150 PSI is just nuts. That's a serious, crippling blow. It's amazing that the body can withstand such things at all.

duh (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26628869)

drain bamage - when only the best will do.

Really? (5, Insightful)

bFusion (1433853) | more than 5 years ago | (#26628885)

"The idea that you can whack your head hundreds of times in your life and knock yourself out and get up and be fine is gone," said [retired wrestler] Nowinski.

This was a legitimate idea that people actually believed?

Re:Really? (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26628929)

We're told that we will corrupt a HDD of we don't shut down properly, but who here hasn't done it anyways when necessary?

Re:Really? (1)

bFusion (1433853) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629021)

I haven't found many occasions when it is necessary to get whacked in the head repeatedly.

Re:Really? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26629159)

evolutionarily, though it was probably pretty common. Humans, particularly men, have a *lot* of "reserve" brain capacity. It may be part of the reason we're so "smart" is just so that the progressive endumbening of our combat-filled ancestral environment doesn't cripple us beyond the point of survival.

Re:Really? (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629245)

You don't have a lifestyle that requires a multi-million dollar salary to maintain, or a salary that's derived from getting whacked in the head repeatedly.

Re:Really? (4, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629413)

Obviously you're not my little brother.

Re:Really? (2, Funny)

drodal (1285636) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629389)

yeah, me too, I never worry about... now why does it keep saying frag error link 238 of 4096.....

Re:Really? (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26628953)

The "Just suck it up and be a man" theory of sports medicine is surprisingly persistent. As are its close relatives the "Stay strong and positive" theory of oncology and the "Pull yourself together" theory of psychotherapy.

Re:Really? (1)

bFusion (1433853) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629007)

And the "It Builds Character" of parenting?

Re:Really? (5, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629289)

if I had to choose between the two extremes, I would choose this over the "lets remove all risk from a child's environment" philosophy. Fortunately, this is a false dichotomy.

Re:Really? (5, Funny)

ChienAndalu (1293930) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629177)

So very true. Other cancers of todays medicine are the "let it all out"-philosophy in gastroenterology and the "don't be so hard on yourself" school of urology.

Re:Really? (2, Informative)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629253)

The "stay strong and positive" theory of oncology does hold. In most cases it won't save your life in the absence of other treatment, but it's been repeatedly shown that patients with positive attitudes often have more positive prospects than those who succumb to gloom and doom.

This is the same idea as having faith in your ability to jump over a large gap. If you question your ability, you become less steady on your feet, less able to time your leap, and increase the chance of your failure.

Re:Really? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26629497)

Not true. Survival is equivalent between positive attitude and negative attitude patients. Just as you would expect it to be, since nothing in cancer is amenable to conscious control.

Re:Really? (2, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629525)

O Rly? [wiley.com]

Re:Really? (5, Informative)

GNT (319794) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629573)

Cancer survival not linked to a positive attitude, study finds
Print version: page 14

Some cancer patients seek out support groups and psychotherapy with the notion that improving their emotional states will extend their lives, says University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine psychologist James C. Coyne, PhD.

However, in a study in the journal Cancer, (Vol. 110, No. 11) Coyne and colleagues reported that emotional well-being in no way predicted survival among patients with head and neck cancer.

"If people want to go to a support group there are lots of advantages to it, such as a sense of belonging, but survival isn't one of them," says Coyne.

In the large-scale study conducted over nine years, Coyne and colleagues used baseline quality-of-life questionnaires to assess the well-being of 1,093 cancer patients. All participants were involved in clinical trials, which ensured uniformity of treatment and ruled out substantial health disparities in the sample. During the study, 646 patients died, and the research team found no relationship between their emotional well-being and cancer progression and death.

Though his findings strongly contradict the notion that a positive attitude is related to survival, the idea of "fighting" cancer is deeply rooted in our culture, says Coyne.

"It's the American way, that you can do it, you can fight it," he adds.

Based on the study results, Coyne believes it's important to not blame cancer patients who don't adopt an aggressively positive spirit.

"We want to recognize thatthere are lots of individual differences in coping with cancer," he says. "People have to do what's comfortable with them, but they have to do it without the burden of thinking they've got to have the right attitudeto survive."

Re:Really? (4, Funny)

jockeys (753885) | more than 5 years ago | (#26628995)

actually, I'm pretty sure the only people who believed it were people who had been whacked on the head hundreds of times.

Re:Really? (4, Insightful)

chill (34294) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629371)

No, not really. I mean a quick look at ex-boxers, like Muhammad Ali, would tell you otherwise. The phrase "punch drunk" has been in the English language for some time now.

Re:Really? (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629439)

Hey when I was in pre-school I fell on my head plenty of times while learning to ice skate and I'm none the worse for wear now who are you and how did you get in my tv?

Re:Really? (2, Funny)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629627)

"The idea that you can whack your head hundreds of times in your life and knock yourself out and get up and be fine is gone," said [retired wrestler] Nowinski.

This was a legitimate idea that people actually believed?

No. He just whacked his head a few hundred times, and finally came to the correct conclusion.

Re:Really? (1)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629645)

"The idea that you can whack your head hundreds of times in your life and knock yourself out and get up and be fine is gone," said [retired wrestler] Nowinski.

This was a legitimate idea that people actually believed?

No, but "I'm a real tough guy, watch me prove it" is an idea that lots of people actually believe. You just used a more accurate phrasing. That's what I mean when I say that when you call things what they are, everything becomes so simple.

If this is true... (4, Insightful)

scubamage (727538) | more than 5 years ago | (#26628893)

If this is true, then why do schools insist on giving money to sports programs while starving arts and sciences budgets? Not only do they not do their job, they're effectively making kids dumber by causing brain damage.

Re:If this is true... (4, Funny)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#26628935)

It's a conspiracy.

Re:If this is true... (3, Interesting)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 5 years ago | (#26628969)

Not only do they not do their job, they're effectively making kids dumber by causing brain damage.

Unless making kids dummer is their job [johntaylorgatto.com] .

Re:If this is true... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26629029)

NCAA Division 1 football programs are profitable. If schools gave up their football programs, they would *lose* money.

Re:If this is true... (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629041)

I think it's a federal law you have to sustained at least one lifelong injury while in highschool to meet their No Child Left Unmaimed standards.

It's pure coincidence the bill was backed by the sports medicine lobby.

Re:If this is true... (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629623)

Got a link or reference. I'm intrigued...

Re:If this is true... (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629043)

If this is true, then why do schools insist on giving money to sports programs while starving arts and sciences budgets?

That's what the parents want. They must all have head injuries.

Re:If this is true... (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629047)

The majority like sports more than art and science, it's as simple as that.
If enough parents asked for the reverse, it would happen.

... making kids dumber by causing brain damage.

Well, there's only so many football linemen in a given school.
The population is large enough to allow for a few sacrificial lambs :-)

Re:If this is true... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26629321)

The majority like sports more than art and science, it's as simple as that..

... making kids dumber by causing brain damage.

Well, there's only so many football linemen in a given school.
The population is large enough to allow for a few sacrificial lambs :-)

They wanna play football? How smart could they be in the first place? Not much brain to damage if you ask me.

Re:If this is true... (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629565)

yeah.. else they would play real football instead of "american football"

Re:If this is true... (2, Interesting)

Artraze (600366) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629123)

It honestly depends. At my old college, the sports stuff fell under an entity completely distinct from the school. It was initially set up this so that what you were describing couldn't happen. The school was one thing, and the sports were another, so that the school _couldn't_ give money to sports. And it turned out, the sports teams (well, specifically football) actually ended up turning _huge_ profits. Since they can transfer this to the school, the extra money ends up getting spent on new buildings and equipment.

The point I'm making here, in an admittedly roundabout way, is that sports actually tend to pull in a decent amount of money, so that the funding usually isn't that major.

Beyond that, 'starving' art and science budgets isn't exactly common, and the schools that do it are generally lacking enough money to even manage the basics (e.g. requiring HS students to share books) and usually have minimal sports programs. The rest of the time, it's usually only for lack of interest that arts and sciences don't get much funding; if kinds started a robotics club (or the like), they wouldn't have a hard time getting funds. But they rarely do, and for that, we should blame the parents.

Re:If this is true... (4, Interesting)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629187)

The answer is marketing. A highly visible sports program does seem to increase the visibility of the school and in response, the school gets a bigger pool of student applications and can choose better students out of that pool. But I agree that the idea that we have these "athlete scholars" is usually a farce, their is a double-standard for athletes and universities do whatever they can to ignore huge problems with athletes cheating, etc. The universities really need to stop spending so much money on their athletic programs and worry about their core missions, which are education and research, which does NOT include entertainment.

As for TFA, for us sedentary desk-jockeys, we think of "exercise" as healthy, but anyone who has played a sport in some sort of serious way has probably noticed that athletics at this level is not healthy, it's damaging to the body, it doesn't surprise me that the brain is no exception. I played competitive ultimate frisbee on a regular basis for several years and I was beginning to get knee trouble. Looking at the health problems some of the older players had was enough to make me quit. I'd much rather still be able to walk when I'm 50 thank you.

Re:If this is true... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629213)

Keep in mind this is for professional players. Not necessary for the High School Jerk/err um Jock, who thinks he has a chance to get in the big league.
I would like to see data on kids brains on sports.

Since the times of the ancient Romans . . . (1, Interesting)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629329)

. . . crowds of plebes have gleefully enjoyed watching folks, bash the shit, out off other folks. It keeps the populace's minds of other social problems.

I wouldn't be surprised if the next government economic stimulus act funds "Ben Hur" style Roman warship battles in the Washington Monument Reflecting pool. With free bread for the spectators.

If this is true, then why do schools insist on giving money to sports programs while starving arts and sciences budgets?

Such programs don't bring out the crowds on the weekends to the stadiums.

Hmmm . . . maybe Stem Cell experiments, with cheerleaders would work.

Enraged wacko-physicists hurling cold fusion experiments at each other, maybe.

You just need to have plenty of vendors with cheap booze and fast food on hand.

Dangerous (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26628923)

We have to stop that before someone is so gone that he shoots himself in the leg.

Re:Dangerous (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26629145)

Fail voyeur faggot.

It's not that surprising (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Cowbell (1456535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26628947)

I remember an ESPN interview of a retired NFL linebacker. He'd had multiple concussions in his playing days. He was quite mentally damaged, at the ripe old age of 45.

One day he went out for a drive, and when he got to his block, he couldn't recognize his own house. So he decided to just keep driving around the block, over and over. More than an hour elapsed before one of his family members spotted the car out the front window and went outside and flagged him down.

It wasn't the first time seemingly simple things/memories just completely escaped him

Re:It's not that surprising (-1, Troll)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629081)

The sad thing is that the guy was probably enough of a meathead that he would've done that anyways even if he never had the concussions.

Re:It's not that surprising (3, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629219)

...enough of a meathead that he would've done that anyways

Yeah but Meatwad make the money see, Meatwad get the honeys G.
With all of that, what would you want with a functioning brain?

Re:It's not that surprising (2, Informative)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629361)

Besides, without a brain you can float further with glass embedded in you to pop a static-electricity filled balloon that's threatening the city.

Re:It's not that surprising (3, Insightful)

ChienAndalu (1293930) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629377)

Just out of curiosity, I just googeled for Muhammad Ali to find about his Parkinson condition.

It looks like his career choice was at least partly responsible for his brain damage: Article [associatedcontent.com] .

This isn't mentioned in the Wikipedia, by the way.

Makes you wonder if it is smart to glorify professional boxing.

Re:It's not that surprising (4, Insightful)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629501)

It's not surprising, but it's also a bit of a slight to the way concussions are being handled today. These artciles give the impression that concussions are treated today the same way they were 30 years ago.

Ten years ago was the point where things really started to "click" when it came to concussions. Jim Everett's case in particular. He was an NFL quarterback who spent several years as a veritable punching bag for some god-awful teams, including the St. Louis Rams. Everett had actually taken to keeping his phone number in his wallet, since he frequently got lost on the way home (a 15 minute drive) from the stadium, and couldn't remember his address or phone number. At that point, a lot of NFL teams began taking notice. The tissue samples we're seeing are from guys who, for the most part, played in the 70's and 80's, back when "shut up and play you pussy, you just 'got your bell rung'" was a way of life. Now, concussions are handled with considerably more care. Is it enough? I don't know that anyone is sure yet. But at least they're being treated like the legitimate, serious injury they are.

But what's really waking up pro sports teams? Money. With teams investing over 100 million dollars over ten years in some players, the risk is losing not only what you've invested in development, but what you stand to earn in terms of marketing and merchandise revenues. What do you think a Peyton Manning-level players is worth to his franchise over his career? a quarter of a billion dollars? Half a billion? Do you think it's any different in the NHL? Or EPL?

It's interesting that Chris Nowinski is mentioned in the article. As a former pro-wrestler, hearing him talk about concussions is like hearing about gang violence from someone who lives in Compton. The WWE has an absolutely abysmal record of handling athlete injuries, especially concussions.

Athletes? (5, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 5 years ago | (#26628975)

"The idea that you can whack your head hundreds of times in your life and knock yourself out and get up and be fine is gone," said [retired wrestler] Nowinski. "We know we can't do that anymore. This causes long-term damage."

And they needed to study athletes for this? They could have asked anyone who's ever done more than a week of front-line tech support.

Briefly, the degree of mental impairment is roughly proportional to the depth of the worn-out concavity in the desk. The rates at which both measurements increase over time show a logarithmic flattening-out as one progresses from front-line support to management.

Brain injuries bad? (1)

Livius (318358) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629529)

I'm sure it's a good idea to study the effecs scientifically, but, seriously, no-one actually believed that you could "whack your head hundreds of times in your life and knock yourself out and get up and be fine."

Re:Athletes? (2, Insightful)

Lord Faust (858859) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629569)

I know you're being funny, but seriously, there's a huge difference between mild trauma and huge, 300+ pound men smashing into each other. (Mass * Velocity)^2 = your brain is mush. There has not been nearly enough research into this subject; the actual effects of the trauma, both over long and short-term periods of time. This information will help everyone, not just athletes. It just so happens athletes experience massive numbers of concussions; hopefully their sacrifices will help benefit anyone experiencing head-trauma issues.

nobrainer (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26628987)

Whoever tagged this "nobrainer" deserves a cookie. :)

Think about it.. (2, Funny)

qoncept (599709) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629013)

The thing that is probably going to be lost on 99% of the people reading this article and thinking the "dumb jocks" deserve it is the affects of sitting in a chair for many hours staring at monitors and making the same repetative movements day after day.

Re:Think about it.. (2, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629339)

At first your comment made me want to bang my head against the desk, but I know better than to do that now.

Re:Think about it.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26629391)

Oh the horror of your Language! It's so hard to read! Grammar!?! Spelling?!?! Punctuation?!? O'Lord, where art thou?

whodathunkit? (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629033)

"The idea that you can whack your head hundreds of times in your life and knock yourself out and get up and be fine is gone," said [retired wrestler] Nowinski. "We know we can't do that anymore. This causes long-term damage."

Wow! This is absolutely shocking news! I never would've guessed that repeated damage to a single organ/body part would have lasting effects....

Re:whodathunkit? (4, Funny)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629063)

whodathunkit?

+1 unintentional onomatopoeia

Re:whodathunkit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26629301)

of what?
an articulated puppet falling on the ground?

Re:whodathunkit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26629451)

whodathunkit

Thankfully I'm a nerd. (1)

danking (1201931) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629049)

For once I am thanking the fact that I have no atheletic skill and turned to a life of technology and computers.

Re:Thankfully I'm a nerd. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26629221)

Maybe you should be thanking that fact that you don't have any *football* (the American kind) skills--you'll still regret having no athletic skills at some point. I don't see how, say, badminton would give you routine concussions.

Here is the cure (1)

hackingbear (988354) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629065)

Fixed it for them. Take some of these [slashdot.org]

Poorly Titled (1)

CallFinalClass (801589) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629077)

This is about FOOTBALL (American) players, not all athletes.

Only a small subset of athletes get their bells rung on a regular basis.

Crikey already.

Re:Poorly Titled (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26629207)

American football? isn't that just rugby for wussies because of the required body armour?

Re:Poorly Titled (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26629479)

Put a rugby player in his usual attire on the field with a team of American football players and he'd probably sustain a serious injury in the first play.

Not only football. (2, Interesting)

Tavor (845700) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629323)

One of my local tack shops is staffed by a lady who had her bell rung enough times being thrown from her horse (sans helmet in those days) that she can't ride for risk of getting her last concussion. And she makes sure that everyone starting has a good *properly* fitting helmet. (Even someone with as big a head as me - finding proper fitting hats is a lifelong challenge!) So no. Concussions are not limited to only American Football.

Re:Not only football. (2, Informative)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629431)

Even someone with as big a head as me - finding proper fitting hats is a lifelong challenge!

http://bigheadcaps.com/ [bigheadcaps.com]

I also have a big head, and that is the only place I can buy headgear that fits well. (Except even there if they have a size selection to choose from, I have to get the biggest one.)

I do wildland firefighting, and it was an issue to get a helmet that fit me at all. The helmet I currently have doesn't provide very much protection in the back because it was only made for up to about a 7 3/4 size hat, and I am beyond that.

Re:Poorly Titled (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629437)

I'm fairly certain rugby and even "soccer" (I know, it's "football" to everyone but Americans) also involve head knocking at times. Rugby especially.

Re:Poorly Titled (1)

PachmanP (881352) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629461)

I would assume since you're pointing out that it's american football, you've seen some rest o' the world football. I'd suspect that a study of the guys who slam their heads against a leather sphere probably suffer from similar results...

Sports are dangerous, always have been. I'd be interested in some of the curling statistics! (I mean mixing ice and alcohol can't be good, and that sport makes zero sense sober)

The sports will always stay, the game must change (2, Interesting)

JamJam (785046) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629169)

Physical sports where concussion's occur are not going to go away. People will always sacrifice their body for potential fame and fortune. The fallacy of "a concussion will never happen to me or have lasting effects" is strong amongst young people, those typically playing these types of sports. Plus, using football as an example, is so ingrained in North American society: from high school through to college/university to a Professional paying job that the game will not go away. What needs to change is the way these sports are played.

Where there just as many concussions when people wore the thin leather helmets vs today's super helmets? Players dressed up in all that protective gear feel invincible literally throw themselves around and taking more hits and risks. You don't see near as many concussion injuries in a sport like rugby. While similar in nature those players aren't spearing others with their head to make a tackle.

Perhaps I'm just too old (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629191)

Turns out that repeated concussions can result in depression, insomnia, and the beginnings of something that looks a lot like Alzheimer's. "The idea that you can whack your head hundreds of times in your life and knock yourself out and get up and be fine is gone,"

But this has been fairly obvious since Mohammed Ali [wikipedia.org] ...

Re:Perhaps I'm just too old (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629433)

I agree with you in spirit, but the plural of anecdote is not data.

Also, please read up on Ali. What he so visible suffers from is Parkinson's... he's not a good study example for Alzheimers-like syndromes, since some Alzheimers-like complications could be masked by the Parkinson's. And we don't know if his boxing had any impact on the Parkinson's, either. All of these are issues supporting my first statement about making generalizations from a single sample.

Re:Perhaps I'm just too old (1)

ChienAndalu (1293930) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629511)

This article [associatedcontent.com] may be interesting for you.

fencing coaches beware! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26629225)

I remember discussing this with fellow fencers and coaches. The consensus was that after receiving literally thousands of blows to the head every day during practice and lessons, coaches would eventually show signs of brain damage in their (not so) old age. Basically, the younger coaches looked at the old ones and figured that perhaps it was better to hold a mask in the unarmed hand as a target instead of using their own mask/head to prevent micro-choc from debilitating them.

Doing research (1)

acohen1 (1454445) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629293)

Shortly my company is going to be working on a way to detect and hopefully stage concussions using a portable non-invasive test. Looks like sports medicine will be our target (previously looked at military). It already works for neurodegenerative disorders, so it should be able to find traumatic neropathy as well.

Sports + Science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26629303)

Sports programs are important part of a good all round education. Being in shape is conducive to good mental ability, well for the majority of us at least.

However I do agree that the amount of money spent on sports compared to arts and science is disproportionate. I wonder if there is a correlation between decades of such spending policies and our current economic problems. We do need to cut down Educational Administration costs, increase the budgets for arts and sciences, and bring sports budgets into line with the rest. (Most sports costs are due to liability coverage; so people stop suing everything under the sun when little Johnny or Erica gets a bump on the head). Oh and most importantly get educators to start teaching and allowing critical thinking in the classroom again.

Fear Mongering (1, Flamebait)

Mephistophocles (930357) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629327)

Not to create massive waves of controversy or anything, but this is a non-story. Of course it causes problems. Everyone knew this already - including the athletes. All you're doing by spreading this kind of panicky attitude is asking for silly legislation which outlaws a perceived danger. Eventually we must understand that we can't protect people from everything, and we can't escape from danger. Sometimes it really is ok to live dangerously. It's funny, but once upon a time mankind understood this, and while he may not have lived as long, his life was far more interesting, and I would argue that he was a better human being for it.

I could read this article or... (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629349)

I could look at any video of Muhammad Ali made in the last 20 years.

5th Estate Documentary (1)

LevonB (1099459) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629419)

The Fifth Estate did a fantastic news piece on this. http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/2008-2009/head_games/video.html/ [www.cbc.ca]

Re:5th Estate Documentary (1)

sonsonifty (1099465) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629549)

Yes, a friend told me about that and it sounded really interesting. Now go back to your igloo! Har har!

How is this different from being 'punch drunk'? (2, Interesting)

rts008 (812749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629429)

This is nothing new, and has been described and studied for decades as 'Dementia pugilistica' [wikipedia.org] , and ..."first described in 1928 by Harrison Stanford Martland in a Journal of the American Medical Association article..."[from the above linked wiki article]

Having watched the changes in both George Foreman and Cassius Clay(AKA Mohammed Ali) over the years in interviews, this was pretty obvious even to a medical layman.

Sports are worthless (2, Insightful)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629485)

To be honest even considering the money they make I don't think it'd worth it to have a body and mind that will be worthless well before it should be.

These are grown men playing children's games. It's quite sad how worked up people can get over something so insignificant as sports while at the same time they're typically not into keeping themselves fit.

Nowinski? (4, Funny)

loshwomp (468955) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629491)

Never bet on the guy named "Nowinski". He's never won anything.

Marijuana (0)

Cantus (582758) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629499)

Just tell them to smoke marijuana [slashdot.org] .

No pain, no brain. (1)

Neanderthal Ninny (1153369) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629503)

If you feel pain that means that the body is telling you are damaging something. Athletes that think you must work through the pain and the attempt to believe in their mind that the pain is not there.
A good example is Muhammad Ali which now has Parkinson's Syndrome.
If you don't feel pain, you may not have a brain.

This makes my plans for vengeance problematical (1)

StefanJ (88986) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629507)

Damn.

There's this football player from my High School who once smeared crap all over the bathroom of the fast food restaurant at which I was working . . . several minutes after he saw me sweeping the floors and repeatedly asked if I worked there.

Now, after twenty years of designing, building, and testing a Piranha-infested Lap Pool of Doom to torture the bastard in, I learn that he's probably already a Depends-clad imbecile. What's the sport in luring to his doom through a fiendish social engineering scheme a shaky feeb who probably earns a living waving around a Mattress Barn sign by the side of the road?

Non-Symptomatic Athletes (1)

Ohio Calvinist (895750) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629513)

Given the large number of althletes who do not have any of these symptoms, but are injured in the same way; it is great that there is a body of knowledge out there to encourage those to be tested as well so there can be a sort of "control" group. I would think it would help deturmine "what kind" or "what extent" of damage the brain can handle and what health factors make others less susceptible to the symptoms (genetics, cell density, injury location, protien/biochemical differences, etc.)

I'm not a doctor but it seems if there is causal evidence for "Alzheimer's like" damage, and non-symptomatic athletes have the same damage(s), it would help researchers isolate causes and contributing (or preventative) factors of the disease for the general population, specifically lessor athletes (amatuer or pre-professional) to make sports safer.

Concussions.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26629543)

ORLY!!

There's no hope for the Hardy boys (1)

man_who_was_thursday (1289874) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629563)

Ever notice how many times they were knocked on the head in every book?

Common F. Sense is absent again... (3, Funny)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629599)

"The idea that you can whack your head hundreds of times in your life and knock yourself out and get up and be fine is gone....We know we can't do that anymore."

Just curious in what medical journal was this ever listed outside of the No-Shit-Sherlock section?

Unreal what a Common Sense deficiency can do to a person.

Confused causality (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629633)

I can tell you from my time in high school that the brain damage in football players actually occurs far before their professional careers.

Captain Obvious (1)

tsstahl (812393) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629663)

Captain Obvious strikes again. Although, quantifying the effects is certainly a useful undertaking.

The problem is that this will surely encourage proponents of the continued woosification of America.

Are we supposed to live our lives in plastic bubbles eating only bean curd?

Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26629669)

Athletes have brains?

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