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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

OT: The Woman Who Would Save Football

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.

Dan Posted: August 22, 2012 at 09:55 PM | 6 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: concussions, football, injuries, nfl, off-topic

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   1. John DiFool2 Posted: August 23, 2012 at 09:00 AM (#4215572)
I could just barely make out the name on one of the brain jars-"Abby"-something...
   2. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: August 23, 2012 at 11:25 AM (#4215728)
Marty Feldman was a freaking genius.
   3. Tom T Posted: August 23, 2012 at 11:58 AM (#4215774)
Glad to see Bennet get a mention in there. At a Symposium in February, one of Ann's collaborators was complaining about Omalu being credited by some as the first to identify CTE in football players. No mention of Bailes, but not surprising...Ann and Julian spent a couple hours on a platform at an NATA meeting (our group's rep...Larry Leverenz...spoke, and sat, between them) without so much as saying "hello."

Nice article on Ann, overall. Still don't know what more we're going to gain from post-mortem studies, but I'm not a pathologist.... Conversely, Stern's grant also covers semi-replicating some of our prospective work in youth athletes, I believe (at least that was what we talked about with them when they didn't yet have money and were still potentially interested in collaborating).
   4. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 23, 2012 at 04:32 PM (#4216215)
Good article.

I remain convinced that football as we know will exist primarily as a regional sport within about 20 years. I'm skeptical that the NFL can fix itself. I think football needs to hit bottom before that happens.
   5. cardsfanboy Posted: August 23, 2012 at 04:59 PM (#4216237)
I remain convinced that football as we know will exist primarily as a regional sport within about 20 years. I'm skeptical that the NFL can fix itself. I think football needs to hit bottom before that happens


I'm as critical of the NFL as anyone, and I do not understand this comment in the slightest. Are you focusing on college football with that comment? There is really no indication that they are losing fans or popularity, other than the overwhelming economy which is affecting everything.
   6. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 23, 2012 at 05:18 PM (#4216248)
as i have mentioned elsewhere, i ceased my contributions to the university of wisconsin football program and my kids had to pay for the badger and packer tickets

though a former player once upon a time and a once spirited follower i cannot in good conscience continue to monetarily support this sport.

something will need to change before i re-engage. of course, i will likely be dead before that happens.

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