The Doctor That Originally Diagnosed CTE Thinks We Are Focusing Too Much On CTE Instead Of Minor Head Injuries
LBS- According to Omalu, the focus on CTE is misguided, as former players will still have brain damage even if it does not manifest itself as CTE.
“There has been so much fascination with CTE that we are going the wrong way,” Omalu said, via Kevin Seifert of ESPN. “CTE is just one disease in a spectrum of many diseases caused by brain trauma. If he doesn’t have CTE, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have brain damage. … I’ve always said that every child who plays football has a 100 percent risk of exposure to brain damage. And I’ve always said that at a professional level, 100 percent would have brain damage of some kind to some degree. That’s whether or not their brains are found to have CTE.”
“There is no such thing as a safe blow to the head,” Omalu said. “And then when you have repeated blows to your head, it increases the risk of permanent brain damage. Once you start having hundreds or thousands of blows, there is a 100 percent risk of exposure to permanent brain damage. The brain does not have a reasonable capacity to regenerate. This is something we have always known.”
Bennet Omalu makes an excellent point that should probably also be considered a pretty obvious one. Of course a football player can have his long term well being and quality of life compromised by repetitive blows to the head, even if those repetitive blows to the head don't inevitably cause severe brain deterioration that forces said player to become a complete shell of his former self. It shouldn't be a surprise that the 389th time your brain rattles around in your skull doesn't take you from being a picture of perfect health to an absolute basket case that is liable to forget your own address.
Unfortunately for Dr. Omalu, that's not how the minds of football fans without PhD's operate. To be quite honest, he's lucky that we* finally started to acknowledge that concussions can cause CTE, and I'm pretty sure that's only because that diagnosis is three letters long and rolls off the tongue. I - to this day - don't remember what it stands for off the top of my head, so he damn well better think of some more clever acronyms for lesser conditions if he wants me to start differentiating between the severity of head injuries.
Clashing skulls with some of the biggest, strongest, and fastest athletes on the planet is obviously never going to be good for you. However - with how much this country loves it's football - were not always going to fully accept how insanely bad it is for you unless you stay down for an exorbitant amount of time with a worsening condition whose name is easy to recall. The man definitely tells the truuf when speaking to the varying, yet ever-present levels of brain trauma in football players, but - sadly - he shouldn't expect us to listen unless it's undeniable to the naked eye.
* "We" being those of us that don't make billions of dollars of a league that lies right in the face of every statistic that proves just how inherently dangerous it's product is.