MacArthur ‘Genuis’ Tackles Concussions In Football


MacArthur ‘genius’ tackles concussions in football

By Melissa Healy / Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
September 20, 2011, 5:30 a.m.
Kevin Guskiewicz, one of the winners of the MacArthur Foundation award  announced Tuesday, was long a thorn in the side of the National Football League.

Since 1999, he has wired the helmets of about 700 college football players with accelerometers to study what kinds of hits result in concussions, which kinds of players get them, and what the long-term consequences of those brain injuries can be. He was among the first to find a strong link between multiple concussions and later dementiadepression and memory and intellectual deficits that often lead to Alzheimer’s disease.

When a 2005 report prepared for the NFL asserted that a player who had sustained a concussion could safely be returned to play on the same day, Guskiewicz begged to differ. In an interview on National Public Radio, he suggested that those drafting the NFL report “are more interested in trying to protect the game or the league rather than taking a more responsible approach.”

But by 2010, a lot had changed. A mountain of research — much of it by Guskiewicz but also by Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy — had made clear even to the most hard-core football fans that concussions could not just be “shaken off.” The military’s experience with widespread trauma among troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and numerous cases of suicides and dementia among recently retired football heroes, underscored that “getting your bell run” several times was likely to have long-term repercussions.

Read more:
http://www.latimes.com/health/boostershots/cancer/la-heb-macarthur-concussions-football-20110919,0,1604791.story

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