You will no longer feel bad about not being an NFL star.
Football is considered by many to be the most extraordinary sport in the world. They wear their favorite team's jersey and want their kids to end up playing for the same team.
Yet many are unaware of the dire health consequences of football. Probably, if they knew them, they would no longer let their children dream of being American stars.
I will tell you about the worst of all consequences, and suffered by most American players: CTE. Pay a lot of attention.
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a disease caused by repeated blows to the head. And the ugly thing about this condition is that it is irreversible!
Eventually, the disease progresses to Pugilistic Dementia, defined as such because this type of dementia is acquired when a person suffers constant blows to the head.
And the American is not saved from this, as many of us know. Now with HD televisions we can even see how heads bounce between players.
Consider that this is not an exclusive phenomenon of American football, the first studies of this disease were born precisely in boxing (and nothing has been done to prevent it, since its discovery in 1950).
Beginnings of the CTE
The CTE got its name in 2002, after decades of research. It all started with the investigation of an immigrant doctor in the United States, the Nigerian Bennett Omalu. By the way, there is a movie about the case: "Concussion." In case you want to know more about the subject.
Omalu, a forensic pathologist, performed an autopsy on football star Mike Webster, who had unexpectedly died. The doctor had the idea to analyze different layers of the athlete's brain, which had a large number of internal injuries.
The reason? The number of blows to the head he received throughout his career. These traumas, repeated over time, generated terrible disorders in the last years of the athlete's life.
In addition to Webster's autopsy, several former NFL players at the time also had the same symptoms as the football star, prior to his death. This caused great controversy in the sports world.
Unfortunately, this type of dementia can only be diagnosed through an autopsy, although boxers and live players present signs of dementia, it is impossible to verify that they acquired it from the blows received in their profession.
That is why Boston University and its CTE center conducted research on brains donated by players' relatives and the results published in the medical journal JAMA put the CTE and the NFL in the headlines around the world.
Statistics Of The Consequences Of American Football In The NFL
Here comes the most surprising. It turns out that a total of 202 brains were analyzed, of which 177 had CTE! That is almost a 90%.
- Of the players at the high school level, only 3 out of 14 suffered from it.
- But among college players, up to 48 out of 53 were diagnosed with CTE.
- 9 out of 14 semi-professionals.
- 7 of 8 in the Canadian League.
- And… (get the drums ready) 110 of the 111 NFL player brains were identified with this disease.
You will surely recognize Ken Stabler, Kevin Turner, Bubba Smith or Dave Duerson; their brains were featured in this study.
However, there is a gap in the study, since a large majority of the donated organs were from players who before dying already had disorders or even committed suicide. Therefore the result was expected and does not represent a 100% of the general population of players.
However, in 2016, the NFL itself had already donated close to $100 million dollars! in medical research to combat disease and advance neuroscientific engineering. Well, we know that despite the fact that players suffer from this diagnosis, those behind the show (businessmen and many advertising geniuses) have no problem.
The most tragic consequence of CTE is dementia. Experts affirm that this disease evolves according to the following phases:
- First Phase: Concentration problems and headaches.
- Second Phase: Depression, explosive temperament, and short-term memory problems.
- Third Phase: Cognitive disability, mental difficulty to organize and physical difficulty to multitask, as well as problems in reasoning.
- Fourth Face: Dementia.
For those who still do not understand the seriousness of the matter or the word dementia does not sound so serious, a brief description is needed.
The person with dementia begins with a disorientation. You may believe that you are another person and do not understand space and time. It then progresses into hallucinations and delusions. Later it affects language, short-term memory, and reaction time. Eventually the person loses knowledge and understanding of everything. It is as if they stopped being themselves and died in life. It's ugly, right?
The Gajes of the Trade
Players like Chris Borland or Calvin Johnson, aware of the permanent damage that a professional playing career could cause, chose to retire.
On the other hand, within boxing, it is estimated that a fighter can develop the disease in just 12 years of career. Imagine what happens to an American player who receives frequent hits each season! and in every game.
In fact, it is a much more common disease than Alzheimer's and is usually linked to coming of age. But the difference between common dementia and pugilistic dementia is that the latter attacks minors and can even include Parkinson's.
Finally, if none of this convinces you, and you still want your child to appear on television and be part of this show. Consider that the average life expectancy of men in the US is 76 years and that of NFL players is 57.
Would you take so many years off a person for a sport? At least I wouldn't. Although I have to admit that sometimes it is inevitable to enjoy the Super Bowl with friends, as long as Lady Gaga does not come out again ... please.
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