The sports pages the last several months have been filled with reports of Congressional hearings and testimony concerning concussions and the National Football League particularly the long-term health effects of head injuries on players. Years ago when people thought about football players injuries, the attention was focused more on injuries such as knee injuries and other effects on bone structure, such as arthritis. When I was in law school, research I undertook in connection with a project revealed statistics that showed that the life expectancy of professional football players was lower than the general population because of such injuries.
On … Read the rest
The annual ritual of the NFL draft was held a few weeks ago and teams are now holding their rookie mini-camps to get a better look at the players they selected. Whether a player’s college career was affected by injury was a often a major factor in the evaluation of the player. But not all injuries are created equally, or, it should be said, affect positions equally, according to a study co-written by medical personnel from two N.F.L. teams published in the April 2009 issue of The American Journal of Sports Medicine. The study tested the effect of specific diagnoses … Read the rest
Last week saw the National Football League make eleven (11) rule changes including issues involving replays, kickoffs, onside kicks, and hits to the quarterback. Viewed as a whole, the rule changes reveal a concerted effort to reduce injuries to players. Some critics contend, however, that the rule changes will water-down the physical aspects of the game, likening future NFL play to flag football. But to the owners, the players are their most valuable assets, and protecting them, and avoiding the sight of players being taken off the field strapped to stretchers is understandably paramount.
The new rules are also consistent … Read the rest
Heat exposure deaths happen occasionally in all levels of football. The cases have led to numerous lawsuits, however, no evidence can be found that a coach has ever been charged in the deaths. Until now. A Kentucky high school football coach was indicted by a grand jury last month with reckless homicide in the death of a player who collapsed during a sweltering practice. Coach David Jason Stinson was charged in the death of 15-year-old sophomore offensive lineman Max Gilpin that occurred on August 20, 2008, when the heat index reached 94 degrees.The indictment has brought on an uproar by … Read the rest
Super Bowl hoopla did not prevent a meeting this week in Tampa with the attendees urging the NFL to join them in researching the connection between football and progressive brain damage and declaring that a concussion crisis exists in football. Among those at the hotel meeting were former Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson, eight-year NFL special teams standout Isaiah Kacyvenski and 73-year-old Bernie Parrish, who played eight seasons for the Cleveland Browns and now spends much of his time battling the NFL Players Association, which he says refuses to adequately represent retired players. Joining them were several doctors from the Boston … Read the rest
“In the clearing stands a boxer, and a fighter by his trade” – Paul Simon, 1968. In Gamache v. State Of New York, 106968, decided 11/26/08, Joey Gamache, a professional boxer, alleged that the State Athletic Commission (“Athletic Commission”) improperly conducted the weigh-in for a professional boxing match which permitted his opponent to be 19 pounds more than the agreed upon maximum, and then allowed the match to occur while his opponent wore 8 ounce boxing gloves instead of the proper 10 ounce gloves, resulting in permanent injury.
In what the decision states is a case of first … Read the rest
A major issue of concern that arose during this past baseball season was the frequent incidence of shattering baseball bats, particularly shattering maple bats. In fact, the issue was of such concern that baseball’s Safety and Health Advisory Committee was convened to study the problem and issue recommendations, including, if deemed appropriate, banning the use of maple bats.
After studying thousands of broken bats and hundreds that shattered into multiple pieces, the committee concluded the cause was the poor-quality “slope of grain” and ruptures caused by excessive bending. It was concluded that there was no inherent weakness in using … Read the rest
When New York Rangers prospect Alexei Cherepanov suddenly collapsed on the bench during a Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) hockey game at a Moscow region arena on October 13, 2008, the lack of preparedness for such an occurrence was startling. The player was carried from the bench area without a stretcher, and no ambulance or working defibrillator was available. The absence of a rink-side stretcher, on-duty ambulance and working defibrillator, as well as a 15-minute wait for the arrival of a hospital ambulance, have been cited as evidence of an exceedingly poor level of organization that may have cost the young … Read the rest
Injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) often require surgery and months of rehabilitation. Such injuries have been a particular concern for female soccer players. Strengthening and flexibility programs that have been found to reduce injuries to the ligament often require special equipment.
Researchers looking for a program that could be easily incorporated into regular team practices have found a simple on-field alternative warm-up program that can reduce non-contact ACL injuries in female soccer players, especially those with a history of anterior cruciate ligament injury, according to a study published recently in The American Journal of Sports Medicine.
The … Read the rest
Sixteen athletes, including six former NFL players, have agreed to donate their brains to a program that will study the long-term effects of concussions. Of particular interest is a condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (C.T.E.), which has been likened to pugilistica dementia seen in boxers. Common symptoms of the condition, a form of traumatic brain injury (TBI) include dementia, Parkinson’s, irritability and short-term memory problems. The condition can be confirmed only by postmortem tissue analysis; X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging tests cannot yet detect it.
Five out of six former N.F.L. player’s brains that have been examined in this … Read the rest