Sunday, December 15, 2013

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

This is bad news to bring up during football season, but there is increasing awareness of possible long-term neurological consequences of repeated concussion-type injuries.  Formerly, these were associated with boxers, and was at one time referred to as traumatic encaphalopathy of pugulists -- in other words, being punch-drunk.

This diagnosis can only be made post-mortem; but here's a list of players who had confirmed or suspected diagnoses:


Brett Favre has stated that he would not let his son play football; and I respect his decision as a loving and conscientious father.  

I wonder if we should reconsider its prominence in American culture.  Are we doing thing the right thing by encouraging this potential form of chronic brain pathology?  They need to radically revise how the game is played, or discourage it if  this persists.

Severe amnesia problems are not normal in 40-year-olds.  I hope stiffer penalties for head shots or other potentially dangerous hits will do it.  But we may need to go further.

Especially for high school or college football.

Some cheerleading competitions have forbidden the use of standing pyramids or other dangerous gymnastics.  If that sport can do it, certainly football also can.


  1. i do believe the long-term effects of even a short career in football can be devastating.

  2. If a high school player gets a severe head injury, the effects can persist throughout his life. It's not worth it.

  3. I think the problem has become worse over time because kids have gotten bigger. When I played HS football 50 years ago I was 205 pounds and I was the heaviest kid on the team. Now some HS kids easily are over 300 pounds.

  4. Mike, I agree. The sheer physics of collision has increased.