January 31, 2010

Time: Is Football too dangerous?

Posted: 07:51 PM ET

By Sean Gregory via

(photo Peter Hapak for Time)

Ted Johnson, 37<br />Linebacker

What's wrong with football? It's written in the pain on Greg Hadley's face. The senior from Colgate University, a two-time all-conference linebacker on the school's football team, is sitting in a Bedford, Mass., laboratory, staring at shattered brains of dead football players. On this Friday afternoon, Hadley has come to visit Dr. Ann McKee, a Boston University neurological researcher who has received a dozen brains donated from former NFL, college and high school players. In each one, it's simple to spot a protein called tau, which defines a debilitating disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. Common symptoms of CTE include sudden memory loss, paranoia and depression during middle age. The disease is also known as dementia pugilistica, or punch-drunk syndrome, because until recently the overwhelming majority of its victims were boxers. Not anymore. Researchers like McKee have found a deep and disturbing association between CTE and America's most popular sport. (Watch a video of what football can do to the brain.)

Hadley wants to see, in raw, microscopic detail, what could await him. All CTE victims have had some kind of head trauma, and Hadley has received four concussion diagnoses during his college days. As they examine images under a microscope, McKee tells Hadley that the brown splotches represent the dreaded tau buildup in the brain. The brains are as brown as the pigskin itself. (See "The Year in Health 2009: From A to Z.")

Hadley lets out a quiet "Jesus" and sinks in his chair. His girlfriend stares at him, looking as if her cat just died. "I had no idea it was all over the place like that," Hadley says. He glances at a picture of a normal brain next to the stained brain of a deceased player. "You look at something like that and think, This is your brain, and this is your brain on football."
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A. Smith, Oregon   February 1st, 2010 1:58 am ET

Many of the modern Sports carry distinct risks. Even the soft sports known as Baseball and Basketball carry some risks to the body thru injury's and repeated stress on the knees and ligaments.

Why do sports athletes do these sports regardless of the inherent risks? That is the true question here. Massive amounts of money, fame and fortune await a small but growing number of these very special and highly gifted athletes. Is football going to stop because of these risks, of course not. New rules have greatly reduced players leading their hits to another players headgear.

What is refreshing in this discussion is the spotlight on the troubling chronic head pounding hits that are routine in a football players career from high school, thru college and then pro football. Coaches now are forced to more closely protect their players that have suffered a concussion, rather than administer smelling salts and literally push them back onto the field for more hits to the head.

This condemnation is misplaced on football, it would be much more accurate to place it entirely on the backs of the coaches that previously were not adequately protecting their injured players and giving them proper rehab after a head injury, instead the coaches were rushing players suffering post-concussion effects back onto the field in sake of winning the game regardless of the future health risks to their players.

Jessie from Auckland, NZ   February 1st, 2010 10:22 am ET

Thank you for this very interesting article and is much needed to highlight the dangers that these types of players face.

I have always wondered why the need for the helmets and all the padding. Needless to say it must be quite a violent sport. As this article has pointed out, these helmets instead of protecting, are only adding to the injuries. I don't like the look of it one bit and if I had sons, I would never want them playing this type of sport. Too risky. Very well to have the macho attitude but you can pay for it in the end. Quite dearly too.

Boxing is another sport that makes me cringe and I wish it could be banned. These sports are almost gladiatorial in nature. The risks are just too high. The body doesn't need to be put through something as punishing as this.

The warnings in this article needs to be heeded.

Max Edme   February 3rd, 2010 12:16 pm ET

An Open Letter About The Disaster In Haiti

As the entire world knows by know, a massive earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale, struck Haiti shortly before 5am on Tuesday, January 12, 2010. The epicenter of the quake was located near Port-au-Prince, Jacmel and Léoganne, causing extensive damage to these cities and the entire country, on a Katrina-like scale. We can speak today of more than 150,000 dead and that number will increase as relief efforts continue and more of the dead are found.

I am a Haitian living in the United States and this is a very sad, hard and difficult time for all Haitians. I personally have lost members of my own family and numerous friends under the rubble and am in state of deep sadness.

First I want to say that I was appalled to hear Pat Robertson blames Haiti for the earthquake, which according to him is a consequence of Haitians making some sort of pact with the devil. He actually implied that the earthquake was other than a natural phenomenon.

This earthquake in Haiti was not a decree of God, which means Pat Robertson blasphemed God and lied. God did not create this earthquake and did not inspire this revelation in Pat Robertson's mind, which means he is nothing more than a false prophet.

I also totally disagree with the declaration of Fidel Castro that Haiti is now an occupied country, or with the anxiety of Bolivia and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez regarding the fact that there are now thousands of soldiers from several U.S. Marine units and troops from the 82nd Airborne Division who are now in Haiti. I want to state that I, like most Haitians, do not feel that Haiti is under American occupation and deeply appreciate their help and assistance in this difficult time.

I also understand the concerns of the the United States and understand we live in a time time where we have to prevent any infiltration of Al Qaeda operatives, especially in a wave boat people who can sweep across from Haiti to Florida.

Cuba is a good friend of Haiti and Cuba has the infrastructure necessary to help rescue victims of the devastating earthquake and help rebuild Haiti. A group of more than 50 doctors and other Cuban health care personnel has already arrived in Port-au-Prince with medicines and food. They join the 450 Cubans who were already there before the earthquake, working to free Haiti. I thank Fidel Castro for his help in Haiti.

I want to strongly urge U.S. President Barack Obama and other countries who want to help rebuild Haiti, not to give any assistance directly to the Preval government. This regime does not have the capacity to govern Haiti. They are continuing the corrupt practices that were common under the Duvalier, Aristide and military regimes. These people are nothing when compared to the Generation of Heroes who in 1804, fought and died to make Haiti the first independent black country in the world. The Haitian people are still very proud of their history.

What also shocked me was the statement in the by Haiti's first minister Jean-Max Bellerive in Montreal, saying that his government had been close to having a plan to rebuild the country in the event of an earthquake. This is totally false, the Haitian government has no plan to rebuild Haiti. Their only plan is to loot the country.

If he had a plan they could have limited the devastation we now see, which U.S. and Haitian scientists predicted years ago would eventually happen. There are numerous fault lines that run under the surface of the earth in Haiti, and because of pressure mounting along the fault lines, scientists warned of the risk of an earthquake of magnitude 6.5 and more on the Richter scale.

They urgently warned the Government years ago that all the conditions were ripe for a major earthquake occurring in Port-au-Prince at any time. They also warned residents of the Haitian capital that they must be prepared for the scenario that will happen sooner or later. Now it has happened and there is no plan, there is nothing but chaos.

Preval and his ministers have been playing the same game as Chavez, that is to say, they are trying to change the constitution to retain power. President Obama and UATRE leaders of countries who want to rebuild Haiti, I implore you not to give any aid, any money, directly to this government which has no real authority and just over one year still to go in power.

Rebuilding Haiti will take a lot longer than a year to do. After three years in power this government did not take preventive measures to secure the Haitian people or to aid them in the event of this disaster. This government lacks the skills needed to lead the country out of its economic stagnation, political and social strife, let alone rebuild my country after this horrible disaster.

President Obama I would not like to see the Haitian people take another hard blow, which is why I am sending this letter around the world to urge everyone to prevent Préval and his ministers from diverting money from the international community.

The Haitian authorities who want the help the country must first restore the lost dignity of the people. For only if our dignity is restored, can we revive prosperity in Haiti. I strongly feel the only way to do this is to remove the Préval government and work with people who have the ability to put the country back on a legal and constitutional track, because it has finally been removed from Duvalier.

I feel that now it would be appropriate to appoint a commission of reconstruction with serious, professional, dedicated people. Find the best civil servants who have never participated in politics in the country, that is to say engineers, urban planners, people in business, etc.

Finally, as a perfect example of their corruption and incompetence and another reason they should be removed, President Preval and his ministers were not even able to organize the distribution of aid in this crisis. What they have manged to do, is to steal the supplies meant to help the victims of the earthquake and then turn around and sell them back to the people they were meant for. I feel it is an atrocity and a final insult that this is what is happening in my country of Haiti right now.

Max Edme

Jessie from Auckland, NZ   February 21st, 2010 3:02 am ET

Have posted this article below on the other blog......."FILMMAKER'S BOND TO HAITI"...........just thought I would post it again here...........

I have done some bible studying with the Jehovah's Witnesses.............. and in light of this sad I have read in some other posts some people blaming God for this earthquake happening.

I would just like to put out an article here I came across from a Jehovah's Witnesses booklet called "REASONING". Below is a QUOTE taken from this booklet.


God is not causing the earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, droughts, and volcanic eruptions that are so often in today's news. He is not using these to bring punishment on certain peoples. To a large extent, these are caused by natural forces that have been operating since the earth's creation.

The Bible foretold great earthquakes and food shortages for our day, but that does not mean that either God or Jesus is responsible for them, any more than a meteorologist is responsible for the weather that he forecasts.

Because these are occurring along with all the other things foretold in the composite sign of the conclusion of this system of things, they are part of the evidence that the blessings of God's Kingdom are near...........(Luke 21:11, 31).

Humans often bear heavy responsibility for harm done. In what way? Even when given ample warning, many people refuse to get out of the danger area or fail to take needed precautions.........(Proverb 22:3); compare......... (Matthew 24:37-39).

God can control such natural forces. He empowered Jesus Christ to calm a storm on the Sea of Galilee, as an example of what He will do for mankind under His Messianic Kingdom............(Mark 4:37-41).

By turning his back on God, Adam rejected such divine intervention on behalf of himself and his offspring. Those who are granted life during Christ's Messianic Reign, will experience such loving care, the kind of care that only a government empowered by God can give..........(Isaiah 11:9)."

The paragraph where it says...........Humans often bear heavy responsibility for harm done...........etc, etc.........

probably wouldn't necessarily apply here. As in this disaster........there was no warning given. But in some posts I read, some were saying that there was a possibility that they could have been given a WARNING of this impending disaster and weren't.

Jessie from Auckland, NZ   February 21st, 2010 3:12 am ET

Sorry I forgot to say why I posted my above article here..........because when I saw the above post from.................

Max Edme February 3rd, 2010 12:16 pm ET

An Open Letter About The Disaster In Haiti..................

I thought there was some relation to what I had posted and answered some questions.

Jessie from Auckland, NZ   February 21st, 2010 3:57 am ET

Thank you Max Edme for your great letter above and for the enlightenment it has given. God Bless Haiti.

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