Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Among other things, Ann McKee is chief neuropathologist for the VA, Boston University’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center, the Framingham Heart Study, the New England Centenarian Study, and the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, which was created in 2008 to examine the impact of collisions between oversize human beings in pursuit of balls, yards, pucks, wins.
Over the last four years, McKee has become the most visible member of a cohort of research scientists and family members — wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters of the dead, dying, and demented — who have forced the issue of chronic brain trauma into the forefront of American consciousness. The process has engendered enormous publicity as well as criticism and jealousy in the scientific community, which is every bit as competitive as the NFL. Her work has brought “a great deal of acclaim, exposure, and recognition,” says neurosurgeon Robert Cantu, clinical professor of neurosurgery at Boston University and co-director of CSTE. “But at the same time it’s brought a great deal of pressure. Not everybody greets her findings with the same degree of enthusiasm.”
War-painted denizens of the upper deck may view her as The Woman Trying To Destroy Football. In fact, she is The Woman Trying To Save Football From Itself. The process has engendered a particular intimacy with those who entrust their loved ones to her posthumous care. Virginia Grimsley, whose husband, John, was the first NFL player diagnosed by McKee, says, “He’s in good hands with her. They’re all in good hands with her.
I don’t do a lot of reading about football, I don’t read Grantland much, and I don’t really follow the progress with CTE research and related fields, but I thought this article gave fantastic insight into a real issue in modern American sports (particularly football, obviously). This might be the biggest thing to affect sports in this country in a very long time once we really get to the bottom of just how horrific these brain injuries are.
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