One of the things Bob Costas talked about in his 90-second commentary Sunday was whether possible brain damage caused by football head injuries was partly responsible for Jovan Belcher's uncontrollable rage.A new study published in the medical journal, "Brain," shows that contact sport athletes like boxers and football players are more likely to develop chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes who suffered injuries to the head. Symptoms include memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and, eventually, progressive dementia. (Read more about the study at study, by researchers at Boston University School of Medicine, looked at the donated brains of professional athletes, war veterans, and others likely to suffer head injuries, found evidence of CTE, which occurs "as a consequence of repetitive mild traumatic brain injury."
They found evidence of CTE in professional along with college and high school football players, as well as in hockey players, boxers, and a wrestler -- and the families of the deceased reported troublesome and irregular behavior leading up to their deaths, including memory loss and personality changes.
Throw a handgun into that mix and you have real trouble.
Until recently, football players were sent back into the game if they said they were OK. With endorphins coursing through a player's system, he might not realize he's not OK, and a mild concussion could go undiagnosed and untreated. When that happens a few times, it can add up to CTE, and the symptoms might not appear for years.
Costas expanded on his commentary last night on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, talking about the mixture of possible brain damage and guns.
Men who play football at the pro level tend to be strong and aggressive to begin with. Throw in a handgun and a little CTE and you have an extremely volatile mix.
Of course, National Rifle Association president, Wayne LaPierre said during a radio broadcast that Belcher's girlfriend should have had a gun to protect herself, and he thought Bob Costas' comments were disgusting.
Right, Wayne. There's a real solution: more firearms. And God forbid anyone should talk about any kind of regulation of firearms. 
Handguns have become a national public health issue, and so have brain injuries from sports, although no one wants to talk about that. We Americans are so obsessed with sports that we ignore what the players sacrifice to entertain us. We immerse ourselves in statistics, standings and fantasy leagues and forget about the human cost.
Football and hockey players as young as high school level show signs of damage from repeated blows to the head.
I like football. I enjoy watching it. But I think something has to change. Already, the NFL is looking more closely at head injuries and not allowing players to go right back into the game.
But by the time players get to the NFL, some have suffered enough head injuries already to develop CTE regardless of NFL rules. We need to look at changes in the game for the youngest players and follow through to high school and college. Teenagers take risks as part of their growing-up process. They don't think long-term. It's up to the adults in their lives to make sure their risks don't lead to permanent damage. 



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01/17/2013 8:52am

I think no game is bad for our health or for our mind. Games are required for the healthy health we agree that it causes injury but we can't say that they are harmful for brain.

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01/24/2013 9:58am

Each and every sport consist of certain percentage of risk relating to the injury. And Teenagers should take risks but should make sure that it don't lead to permanent damage.


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