Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"Not For Long"

Super Bowl week is in full gear, but I wonder how many more there will be, or at least how many more will still have the same level of coverage and attraction.

Did you hear about the UCLA researchers who believe they've found a way to test for the presence of CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) in living people? They rounded up 5 former NFL football players and applied the test, which was positive in all 5 instances.  As I understand it, the test scans brains to look for tau, a protein that attacks brain cells, which is a strong marker for CTE.

You might think Baltimore's Bernard Pollard agrees with me, given his publicized quote that football won't be here in 30 years. But Bernard is focussed on a different "danger" to the game. He claims to fear that rules to lessen the violence will make fans stop watching and kill the sport!


"I think with the direction things are going -- where they [NFL rules makers] want to lighten up, and they're throwing flags and everything else -- there's going to come a point where fans are going to get fed up with it. Guys are getting fined, and they're talking about, 'Let's take away the strike zone' and 'Take the pads off' or 'Take the helmets off.' It's going to be a thing where fans aren't going to want to watch it anymore."

As far as I know, every ex-nfl player who had their brain autopsied showed CTE, and now all the ex-players who were scanned tested positive. I know it's a small and quite non-random sample but YIKES!

Even if lawsuits and liability issues don't choke off the game, I think the possibility of the other avenue Tyler and I mentioned in our "End of Football" piece, government intervention, is becoming more and more likely (check out our footnote #1).


Anonymous said...

Football, hockey, soccer - any sport where recurring impacts to the head are part of the game will change as parents become more aware of the risks.

JWO said...

1. You wrote:
every ex-nfl player who had their brain autopsied showed CTE,

but the question is did it affect there health. Some times the tests just get too sensitive to really tell you anything.

2. How do you explain the recent rise of UFC? I could see high school and then college football go but not the NFL.

Hasdrubal said...

Didn't every NFL player who had their brain autopsied for CFE also show symptoms of CFE. In other words, the test wasn't "what is the prevalence of CFE in NFL players," it's "What is the prevalence of CFE in people who show symptoms of it?"

Or have they done another study that I hadn't heard of?

Angus said...

"small and quite non-random sample"

Fundman said...

Seems to me the price of franchises would indicate the likelihood of the death of the NFL, and as far as I can tell the opposite is happening. Angus, you and LeBron address that anywhere?