USA Today- An NFL official has acknowledged a link between football and the brain disease CTE for the first time.
Jeff Miller, the NFL's senior vice president for health and safety, spoke about the connection during an appearance Monday at a congressional committee's round table discussion about concussions.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois) asked Miller: "Do you think there is a link between football and degenerative brain disorders like CTE?"
"Well, certainly, Dr. McKee's research shows that a number of retired NFL players were diagnosed with CTE, so the answer to that question is certainly 'yes,' but there are also a number of questions that come with that," Miller said.
Schakowsky repeated the question: "Is there a link?"
"Yes. Sure," Miller responded.
The NFL has not previously linked playing football to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a disease linked to repeated brain trauma and associated with symptoms such as memory loss, depression and progressive dementia. It can only be detected after death. Among the players found to have CTE in their brains were Hall of Famers Junior Seau and Ken Stabler.
Well shit, I didn't see this coming. Now that the NFL - themselves - acknowledges that their sport causes brain damage, does that mean I - as the consumer - have to as well? I was kind of enjoying this whole willful ignorance thing we had going on. Just tuning in every Sunday and Monday (and Thursday, but only because the product on the field is better after a short week) taking in some good old American football without thinking twice about the players that were getting carted off during every other commercial break. Don't get me wrong, I was kind of suspicious of all the former players dying of "natural causes" at the age of 50, but I thought that was more of an inconvenient coincidence. I didn't think the fact that they were literally butting heads with the biggest, fastest, strongest athletes in the entire world has anything to do with it. That's kind of a bummer. Going to be a lot harder to enjoy football now that I know people are dying from it.
Are we sure we don't want to recheck the statistics? Wouldn't want to make any rash proclamations without knowing, for sure, that repeatedly being tackled at a high rate of speed can cause the rapid degeneration of brain tissue. Can't help but think that the NFL is just letting a rough correlation cloud their judgement. Have enough players had extremely serious health problems for this to be declared a surefire cause and effect situation? Shouldn't we just wait and see if there is at least one more untimely death before we go sacrificing the sanctity of my Sundays? I just want to make sure we aren't jumping the gun, because if Will Smith finds out his performance was based on a true story he's going to demand an Oscar's recount, and NO ONE wants that...