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Brain damage and CTE double standards

Let not the facts get in the way of making money while promoting mass deception. There is evidence that contact sports causes brain damage and CTE, yet it is blatantly promoted by media moguls on the front pages of some newspapers and in the media in full page glory. I ask the question; are the promoters and their subscribers, the viewing public, ignorant or indifferent? Do you want your child to end up brain damaged with CTE?


This CTE has been the subject of a payout in the American Football league some years ago. I don’t think that parents want this damage occurring but the risks are downplayed and many people may not understand the cumulative effects of the small brain damage done in each incident. Then you have to weigh up the effects of some moderate sport against no sport or activity.

I personally don’t like the amount of harsh contact that is tolerated in many sports and support your idea that this should not be acceptable, but then many would also disagree with my views. The loss of these sports would not concern me but would be of great importance to others. I guess the best way to change attitudes is to educate people of the very real risks, ways to minimise harm, and find alternatives. This would hopefully change attitudes without causing too much angst at the loss of these contact sports.


It’s all the more amazing as that particular competition wraps the team in oversized helmets, shoulder pads and a layer of near body armour protection.

Making a change to mandatory head protection for professionals would seem a great way of messaging to parents and children in all sports. Some sports have modified formats for younger participants that reduce physical contact. Learning to work in a team, acquire and apply skills, and have fun competing, are all great.

The values that to succeed requires - encouraging the greater the rough and tumble, the greater the aggression and the heavier the knocks, the greater the victory - are long passed their use by date.

I don’t expect any sport can be totally free of risk. There’s also nothing to justify accepting the status quo.

It’s important to recognise CTE is acquired through cumulative impacts. Prevention needs to commence with the earliest exposure.


CTE is one of those " elephant in the room " cases in contact sports circles. With enhanced performance in sport brought about by drug use and the subsequent filling up of the clubs coffers, executives,players and officials bank balances, woe betide anyone who would even raise the subject by rocking the boat.I cannot image why an ethnically-unchallenged, amoral executive would turn down a six-figure pay packet, much easier to say “ask no questions, I tell no lies”

There was a time when parents who had daughters would sigh with relief as they would not have to drive them to and from mortal combat every Saturday.

Now the girls are demanding equality - which they ought to have. Who sold them them on the idea it was equality to play football? +++ Naturally women are smarter than that, so I can only think some misguided ideas have been smuggled into the women’s sport system and in the drive to get past outdated ways have been overlooked. To be plain; girls ought not play footy for the same reason boys ought not.

+++ I am using ‘football’ in the sense of the games played with a prolate ellipsoidal ball. The games with round balls are fine as generally players don’t get whacked by 100s of kilos of muscle each time they touch the ball.

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I don’t think that improved outcomes are all drug based and is surely taken as a gross insult by those playing “fair”. I do agree that money has tainted some or even perhaps a very large amount of sports, and the desire to be the “best” can and does encourage illegal and harmful product usage.

Any sport or activity that involves large amounts of strong and or repetitive jolting to the head, particularly with rapid changes of direction in multiple vectors at once means a brain is bounced about in the skull severely. Football (even soccer with heading and collisions can be impactful), Water Skiing, Moguls (skiing), boxing, head banging (Rock and Roll), and many other activities have evidence and/or potential of CTE injury.

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Not just CTE?
Snow skiing, snow boarding, horse riding and many other sports carry a high risk of one off serious head injury. Not to mention falling off a hired E-scooter.

It’s well accepted across many of these activities/sport that suitable head protection, and other protective equipment are necessary. Just in case! Even when not mandatory.

For full body contact sports it’s amazing that those responsible or involved accept head impact as everyday, no protection required.

The flow on costs through insurance, treatment or the community over time must be significant?

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This reminds me of “It’s not the fall that hurts you, it’s the sudden stop at the end” :smile:.

Helmets etc while obviously protecting from skull bone injury and intrusion into the skull cavity are not really protection against rapid acceleration and deceleration of the brain inside their safety compartment. The brain is like a squishy that doesn’t tolerate too many squishes over it’s useful lifetime.

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Yes, there is another lesson as you first pointed out that NFL players who wear helmets routinely, have been diagnosed with CTE.

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Sonny Bono? Michael Schumacher?

I have watched a number of TV programs regarding road crashes that stated that the seatbelts and airbags restrained the occupants during the crashes but the momentum of the forces from the crashes could not protect their brains from being violently forced forward in the surrounding fluid to be smashed against their skulls.

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And later in life: dementia, necessitating hospitalisation when families can no longer cope with the behaviours.

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An article regarding CTE.

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A further news report into the CTE issue, and the NRL’s responses to on field concussions. While players take the risks of knocks some see it as a good tradeoff for the lifestyle it gives them. What of the long term after effects? Who understands when you are young?

" A Monash University study published in January found that, on average, concussed Australian rules footballers showed no ill symptoms after one week. However, analysis of their blood showed their brains had released elevated levels of the protein Neurofilament light (NfL), which is evidence of damaged brain cells. The paper’s author, Stuart McDonald, concluded that, because of those elevated NfL levels, some players may be returning before their brains have recovered."

A direct link to the study from Monash University

Rugby forwards in the UK are suing clubs and national associations for allowing brain damage which has led to dementia at an early age (one guy was 42.) It will be interesting to see where this one goes.

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Some questions etc: (1) Are players being informed of their rights and the possibility of brain damage/CTE. It is a duty of care issue (2) Are the lawyers waiting in the rocket launch pad for this to take off with the millions they stand to make from damages. How much is the medical enterprises making out of all this. If players have been informed why are they still going ahead (excuse the pun) (3) Has a survey been done with players to determine their level of knowledge and awareness of the dangers involved

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An honest question is whether even school sports programs issue those warnings. Historically sports programs are seen as nothing but good with no down sides excepting for the ostracization of those not so good at sport, accompanied by the comparative rarity of injury, and especially those injuries that may not show up for years afterwards.

Moving from school sports to professional sports is most likely a seamless experience of sorts where the major differences are pay and conditions, not warnings given or taken.

‘I am good, the pay is good and it won’t happen to me’ syndrome.

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From the article I linked in a post just above

“Josh Kerr, came out with this: “I know it might sound silly and a bit naive saying this, but I’d die for rugby league because [of] the people you meet, the places you go, the money you get paid … you can’t do this forever.”

When you are younger risks seem so far away. Most footballers finish their careers while not much more than 30 years old. How much life experience have they had beyond football by this time. I would hazard little experience that didn’t revolve around their career.

Also an issue is the way many sport stars are idolised by their fans. This can lead to risking more to attain status, injury often shrugged off as it’s just a hiccup in the career and they want to get back to achieving fame as soon as they can. They at times are even labelled as heroes, again a way of seeing their life behaviour as something that needs emulating.

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I always say the consumer bears 50% of the blame. They enable it. The thing is when players can no longer remember they said it, they are alone and a statistic and a burden. How fair is that to others left to pick up the pieces?.

CTE probably has occurred since people have ever worked and played. Now the problem has been identified and named.

Football players of whatever variety are not the only ones suffering from this condition. Society has used sport, work, recreation to help fulfill our lives. There are risks and we as a society should help bear the burden of what we support. Should changes be made to behaviour and how we pay for the risk now that we understand the cause? Yes for sure but time will be needed to make these changes and not all risk can be eliminated unless you stop all activity that incurs the risk. Completely removing the risk is impossible in my opinion so Society needs to continue to support those affected.