Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Annual Celebration Promoting 'Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy'

"Retired National Football League players experience a shockingly high rate of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.... Former players ages 30 through 49 had memory-related diseases 19 times higher than the rate in the national population....  which also found that 6.1 percent of former NFL players 50 and over had been diagnosed with a form of dementia, a rate five times higher than the national average of 1.2 percent." 
- from a 2009 NFL-authorized study

I find it interesting that the U.S. is the only country in the world in which football is the number one spectator sport. Canada and Australia each have professional football leagues, and there are other nations with amateur teams, but in none of these countries has the sport gained the kind of avid following it has here. 

Can any of this be associated with our national culture being more violent in other ways, in our extraordinary investment in military might, our dreadfully high rates of murder and assault, and in our national obsession with firearms? Of course, when it comes to rigorous contact sports, wrestling, boxing, ice hockey and rugby are anything but benign, and even soccer, the most favorite national pastime in many countries, is not without its share of injuries.

American football, however, is known to exact an especially heavy toll on its players, many of whom suffer from a serious form of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. Should this give us pause during Superbowl season?
I believe it should. What do you think?
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