Category Archives: CTE

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“Brain injury survivors …”


“Brain injury survivors need to laugh at the things that happen. Even some of the most difficult times can be funny…at least when you reflect on what happened. Communication difficulty of various degrees occur with brain injury. This situation is an unfortunate communication barrier. I give details surrounding the situation so others can better understand what happens in the lives of brain injured survivors.” Edie, author, Brain Injury Self Rehabilitation

Brain Injury Self Rehabilitation

One of the resources that I have recently discovered is the “Brain Injury Self Rehabilitation” blog on WordPress! The blog is owned by Edie, a  Registered Nurse and member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nurses from Ohio, who is now a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) survivor.

Edie’s Story

Edie is a Rehabilitation Nurse that was assaulted at work. She eventually got treatment after nearly 20 years following her injury. She documented her journey through the American health care, legal, insurance, and Workers’ Compensation System showing what an ordinary American mother, spouse, nurse, and family had to go through before she had proper treatment.

She discusses how she restored her life through her determination and self rehabilitation. She indicates that she lives just 20 miles from world renowned healthcare facilities. After many twists and turns in her cold and complex case, and an ordeal that lasted for nearly 20 years, she finally got proper treatment 200 miles away from home!

Edie now shares her experience and educates survivors of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), “Mild Traumatic Brain Injury” (mTBI) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) about “Brain Injury Self Rehabilitation“. She speaks out to protect other nurses and healthcare workers, and advocates for patients through education.

Humor is Sometimes the Best Medicine!

Edie uses humor to maintain a level head even in dire circumstances. In a recent blog post titled, “Laughter as brain injury medicine – Permanent Hairdo? A Day in My Life. Keep Smiling!” she states:

“Brain injury survivors need to laugh at the things that happen. Even some of the most difficult times can be funny…at least when you reflect on what happened. Communication difficulty of various degrees occur with brain injury. This situation is an unfortunate communication barrier. I give details surrounding the situation so others can better understand what happens in the lives of brain injured survivors.”

I am already learning a lot from Edie’s posts on her “Brain Injury Self Rehabilitation” blog. I highly recommend that CTE, mTBI, and TBI survivors visit her blog to learn more. I will be reading her blog judiciously!

Read more: 

http://braininjuryselfrehabilitation.com/

There is Help for Battered Athletes and TBI patients!


A CT of the head years after a traumatic brain...

A CT of the head years after a traumatic brain injury

One of the doctors that has been at the forefront of the battle against traumatic brain injury (TBI) and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is Dr. Daniel Amen. He has been working with athletes, military servicemen, and other brain trauma patients to provide a treatment regimen to help them to better cope with living with the effects of CTE and TBI — memory loss, dementia and depression. As Dr. Amen said recently, “My hope is that through increased awareness and education we can help these athletes before it’s too late.”

Since people with the CTE and TBI condition often do not have visible scars, it is hard for most people, including some physicians and other medical providers, to understand the extent to which short-term memory loss affects one’s ability to cope with daily living. Things that other people take for granted just takes much longer to do. Unless one is very organized, one can spend an inordinate amount of time looking for things that one needs on a daily basis. Just getting ready to leave the house for work or an appointment becomes a stressful  ordeal unless one has a routine that is not disturbed in any fashion.

Realization of the Consequences of Brain Trauma

It takes a while — maybe years for person with a CTE or TBI condition to fully understand that their brain no longer functions properly. Those that are lucky enough to have proper treatment may come to the realization sooner that those who do not receive treatment or worse still have to contend with skeptical or uncaring physicians and medical providers.

For instance, I have never had any neurological treatment or rehabilitation for the brain trauma that I sustained while working at Ameriprise Financial in July 2004. It took a number of years for me to realize that I had to take care of my own health rather than succumb to despair. I used my skills as a research analyst to search for articles on traumatic brain injuries so I could better understand what had happened to my brain and why I was experiencing short-term memory problems while my long-term memory was so crystal clear. In fact, I believe my creativity even increased as a result of the brain trauma resulting in a deluge of new and often very brilliant ideas. The only problem is that if I don’t write them down immediately,I would not be able to recall the  ideas after a short time. As I now sometimes joke that — my long-term memory is probably near genius level while my short term memory is significantly impaired. For someone that is particularly cerebral, with a background as a money market portfolio manager and an investment research analyst, one can only imagine my frustration with the situation. What I have essentially had to do is my own “self rehabilitation” using nutrition, naturopathic solutions, and coping mechanisms and systems that I have developed by myself which may not be the most efficient methods but nevertheless do work for me. Now I have the daunting task of going through an administrative hearing regarding the State of Washington‘s Department of Labor & Industries (L&I)‘s  premature termination of my medical benefits and I have to do it by myself, if I don’t get any legal help! A tall order for me but I am determined to go the distance to ensure that the State of Washington‘s Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) ensures compliance with workplace safety standards and more importantly, that L&I changes the way it treats workplace traumatic brain injury cases. A traumatic brain injury is not tantamount to a broken limb and should not be treated as such!

Coping with the Effects of Brain Trauma

Ultimately, one has to come to terms with the fact that the brain trauma has caused a fundamental change in one’s brain function. The best way to deal with the effects of the trauma is to accept it, the same way that one would accept the loss of a limb, and then find the best way to cope and live with it. It is not an easy journey coming to terms with the loss of brain function. High performance super athletes,  military servicemen, and intellectuals always like to perform at or above  a certain level of excellence.  It is very difficult and frightening for super-achievers that suffer a brain trauma to come to terms with the loss of a part or most of their  brain function. It is even more frustrating when one has to contend with all the pseudo-brain specialists that have never read a single pamphlet or sheet on brain science nor have any clue about the effects of CTE or TBI but think they know more than the brain specialists. Anabel Maya, a psychologist who is an expert on memory wrote an article titled “A Closer Look Into Memory” and she admits that she is fascinated by memory because of the amount of information that the human brain is able to store; however, she states that she does not completely understand memory — she is still learning about it!

Support of Family and Friends!

It is really important that people that have sustained brain trauma have support from their families and friends. Support also means understanding how the trauma affects the brain and how to help the person cope with the effects of the brain trauma. I am lucky to have the support of my family and close  friends and I will forever  be grateful to them. I would not have survived without their love and support! I have information on this blog that can help families to understand TBI and CTE and what role they can play to help their loved ones to cope and live with the condition.

You are not alone — there is lots of help!

Some people with a CTE or TBI condition receive treatment; however, there are a significant number of people like me that  receive little or no treatment and have to find ways to cope and live with the condition. The result of no treatment is despair and depression that eventually leads some to suicide! Some insurers like Zurich advise their clients to take precautionary steps to minimize workplace injuries, report injuries in a timely manner in order to start treatment soon after the injury occurs so that to that the employee recovers and returns to work resulting in lower worker compensation costs to the employer. Some employers don’t even bother to follow state mandated safety guidelines, do not report injury claims and time to ensure proper and timely treatment of their employees, and do not care what happens to the employee that has been injured due to their own negligence.  The only thing that matters to such employers is return to shareholders and management bonuses. The injured employee and their family be damned!They are much more interested in covering their tracks and paying the lowest premiums they can muster than doing the right thing!

However, there is help available.  Dave Duerson, Junior Seau and Ray Easterling did not need to take their own lives out of frustration, fear and despair! Most likely they could have been saved, if they had been under the care of physicians and other providers that specialize in the treatment of patients with CTE and TBI conditions.

Resources Available for Brain Injury Treatment

Amen Clinic: Dr. Daniel Amen of the Amen Clinic has a practice that focuses on helping former athletes,  servicemen and others that have sustained brain trauma. He has posted the article below on his blog to let people know that they need not commit suicide when there is lot of help available for them. You can visit his website to learn more and also for the contact information.

Brain Injury Research Institute (BIRI): Dr. Bennett I. Omalu, the forensic pathologist that discovered the presence of “Tau Proteins” in the brains of Mike Webster and other dead athletes and who coined the term “chronic traumatic encephalopathy” (CTE), and his partner Dr. Julian E. Bailes established the Brain Injury Research Institute (BIRI)  to continue their research on CTE and also to treat people that have sustained brain trauma and brain injury from multiple concussions.You can contact them by visiting their website.

Federal Agencies: The Federal Government has established  a dedicated section on its HRSA website to provide information and guidance to doctors, patients, and schools on dealing with Traumatic Brain Injury . The Center for Diseases Control (CDC) also has a section on its website that is dedicated to traumatic brain injury.

Military servicemen and veterans are returning from war with high incident rates of brain trauma which used to be generally diagnosed as post-traumatic stress syndrome. Now the Federal Government is on top of it game and military servicemen and veterans are receiving state of the art diagnosis and treatment for traumatic brain injuries. The Defense Departments’ Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (CDoE) was established in November 2007 to integrate knowledge and identify, evaluate and disseminate evidence based practices and standards for the treatment of psychological health and TBI within the Defense Department. The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) serves active duty military, their beneficiaries, and veterans with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) through state-of-the-art clinical care, innovative clinical research initiatives and educational programs.

State Agencies: Your best bet is to start with your State’s Brain Injury Association  of  America(BIAA). You can contact your State BIA‘s office by visiting the Brain Injury Association  of  America(BIAA)‘s website and then click on the map to select your own State.

Web: The internet abounds with information on brain injuries. You can do your own research using Google to type in keywords. Please see the tags on this page for examples of keywords that you can use for your search..

Brain Health Resources Blog: This blog has lots of information and links to help you to quickly find the resources that are available. If you have a question for me, kindly leave a comment and I will revert to you to guide you to find the information that you need.

Disclaimer: Please consult your own doctor first for guidance on your brain injury condition and treatment options.

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There is Help for These Battered Athletes

Shock, dismay and grief descended upon family, friends, and fans when news broke that former 12-time pro bowl NFL linebacker, Junior Seau had taken his own life.  The news came as shock to all, even those that were close to him, but this tragic story is becoming far too common.

Just two weeks ago, former Atlanta Falcons safety Ray Easterling, 62, shot himself in Richmond, Va.  His wife, Mary Ann Easterling, told news reporters that her husband suffered from depression, insomnia and dementia after his football career.  Another ex-NFL player Dave Duerson, a former Chicago Bears Pro Bowl safety, committed suicide nearly 15 months ago by shooting himself in the chest.  Duerson, 50, thought he suffered from dementia that fueled his depression. His suicide note included the request: “Please, see that my brain is given to the NFL’s brain bank.”

Post-death exams of Duerson’s brain showed he suffered moderately advanced evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy — a progressive degenerative disease related to repeated concussive blows. The disease has been linked to at least 18 deceased NFL players.

I just wrote about how serious a problem CTE is for athletes in contact sports and returning soldiers in last week’s newsletter and here we are again dealing with another heartbreaking story.  Junior Seau was a legend, but even legends cannot escape the ravages of chronic brain damage.  There is help for these athletes and anyone suffering from chronic traumatic brain injuries, depression, and irritability and memory problems.

I began studying the effects of football on brain health in 1999 when Brent Boyd, a former NFL player, came to the Amen Clinics.  After Anthony Davis came to the clinic in 2007 our work with active and former NFL players really took off when we partnered with the Los Angeles Chapter of the Retired NFL Players Association to perform the world’s largest brain imaging/brain rehabilitation study.

As part of the rehabilitation study we scanned the brains of 116 NFL players and found that 113 suffered brain damage and the level of brain damage was just awful.  People who have chronic, traumatic brain injuries, which almost all football players have because they get hit in the head thousands of times in their careers; have a much higher incident of depression and suicidal ideas and suicidal behavior.  Thirty percent of the players we studied had issues with severe depression.  That is four times the rate of depression among the general population!  Even worse, linebackers, like Junior Seau, who lead with their heads on the field, suffer the most significant damage.  The study showed patterns in damage to the front part of the brain and temporal lobes, under the temples and behind the eyes, which manage memory, mood stability and impulse and temper control.

The good news is the brains of contact-sport players and soldiers can be rehabilitated.  We have conducted three clinical studies with 116 active and former players from the National Football League here at the Amen Clinics and each study shows that it’s not only possible, it’s likely, that with a brain-directed health protocol, significant improvement can be experienced in decision-making, reasoning, depression, mood and memory.

Our studies found significant evidence that, fortunately, there are treatment protocols that can often reverse many of the symptoms caused by brain damage and improve brain function.

The studies include:

  1. Effects of Elevated Body Mass in Professional American Football Players on rCBF and Cognitive Function, Transl Psychiatry (2012) 2, eK, doi:10.1038/tp.2011.67.
  2. Impact of Playing Professional American Football on Long Term Brain Function. Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci 23:1, Winter 2011, 98-106.
  3. Reversing Brain Damage in Former NFL Players: Implications for TBI and Substance Abuse Rehabilitation. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 43 (1), 2011 Online publication date: 08 April 2011.

Junior may have damaged his pre-frontal cortex, which is responsible for decision-making.  Brain trauma symptoms can appear decades after the playing days and can include dementia, memory loss, violent behavior, obesity, mental illness and depression. And unfortunately, suicide is more common in people who have experienced brain trauma.

Playing football is a brain damaging sport and for those that are going to play it, my message would be to get your brain examined before you play and after you stop as well as any time you get a concussion.  The best way to prevent tragedies like these from happening aside from avoiding the things that are harmful to the brain, are early detection and treatment.  My hope is that through increased awareness and education we can help these athletes before it’s too late.

Source: http://70.32.73.82/blog/5758/there-is-help-for-these-battered-athletes/

Dave Duerson had brain damage


Updated: May 3, 2011, 12:45 AM ET

ESPN.com news services

BOSTON — Dave Duerson, a former NFL player who committed suicide in February, had “moderately advanced” brain damage related to blows to the head, according to the researcher who made the diagnosis.

“It’s indisputable” that Duerson had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a disorder linked to repeated brain trauma, Dr. Ann McKee said Monday.

The findings were announced as part of an effort conducted by the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University’s School of Medicine. The CSTE Brain Bank has the brains of more than 70 athletes and military veterans, with football players comprising more than half of the athletes.

Duerson played safety in the NFL for 11 seasons, seven with the Chicago Bears, and was chosen for four Pro Bowls before retiring in 1993.

[+] EnlargeDuerson

Al Messerschmidt/Getty ImagesFormer Notre Dame and Bears defensive back Dave Duerson had brain damage when he committed suicide.

“Dave Duerson had classic pathology of CTE and no evidence of any other disease,” McKee said, “and he has severe involvement of all the [brain] structures that affect things like judgment, inhibition, impulse control, mood and memory.”

The body of Duerson, who was 50, was found in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla., on Feb. 17. He left a note asking that his brain be given to the NFL’s Brain Bank. He shot himself in the chest, “presumably” to preserve his brain for study, said Chris Nowinski, co-director of the CSTE.

The other co-directors are McKee, Dr. Robert Cantu and Dr. Robert Stern.

Duerson’s case was “moderately advanced,” McKee said. “The likelihood is that if he hadn’t had the CTE, he wouldn’t have developed those symptoms that he was experiencing at the end of his life and perhaps he wouldn’t have been compelled to end his life.”

Cantu said that such results normally are published first, but the Duerson family wanted them released earlier. Duerson’s former wife, daughter and three sons attended the news conference.

“We have been given the gift of closure,” said his son, Tregg. “We accept this gift with great humility, as we are mindful of other families that have lost loved ones and still bear the burden of unanswered questions.”

Duerson had at least 10 concussions in his NFL career, according to his family, and lost consciousness during some. However, he never was admitted to a hospital for them, Stern said. But he said it’s also important to address hits to the head that don’t cause concussions.

CSTE, created in 2008, is a collaboration between the BU School of Medicine and the Sports Legacy Institute, headed by Nowinski. The center has been aggressively researching head trauma in sports, and has received a $1 million gift from the NFL, which it has pushed for better treatment of concussions.

“We hope these findings will contribute more to the understanding of CTE,” the NFL said in a statement. “Our Head, Neck and Spine Medical Committee will study today’s findings, and as a league we will continue to support the work of the scientists at the Boston University Center and elsewhere to address this issue in a forthright and effective way.”

Fourth & Goal, a group founded by Baltimore Colts alumni designed to assist retired NFL players, called for more education, safer rules and improved care for those already affected by football-related injuries.

“Commissioner Roger Goodell has taken steps to address head trauma and concussion in the league,” group president Bruce Laird said in a statement. “However, more needs to be done to educate current players on the risks, to enact additional rule changes that reduce risk and protect players, and to improve care for those affected by debilitating football injuries.

“… We call on the NFL and NFLPA to take immediate action, including abandoning the proposal to extend the regular season to 18 games and improving the existing disability system.”

Duerson was a third-round draft choice by the Bears out of Notre Dame in 1983. He played safety on the team that won the Super Bowl in the 1985 season. He moved to the New York Giants for one season in 1990, playing in another Super Bowl, then spent his last three NFL years with the Phoenix Cardinals.

Cantu said there is no treatment for CTE and research is being done to find ways to identify it in living people.

McKee compared the condition of Duerson’s brain to those of other NFL players studied by the CSTE.

The damage wasn’t as severe as that seen in the brains of Wally Hilgenberg, a Minnesota Vikings linebacker who died at 66 of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Creekmur, a Detroit Lions lineman who died at 82 of dementia, she said. The damage was about the same as that in the brain of former Houston and Miami linebacker John Grimsley, who died at 45 of an accidental gunshot wound.

Nowinski said “the latest version of the NFL’s guidelines [on concussions]are well thought out. And, I think, with the state of the science today, it’s about the best we can do.”

But he said the problem starts much earlier, in youth football.

“The 6-year-olds are playing the same games as the pros when we know that their brains are far more susceptible to this damage,” he said. “My next focus is how do we change youth football so that a kid doesn’t show up in the NFL with 10,000 hits to their head already?”

The NFL said it will “advocate for the passage of Lystedt laws in all states” to protect athletes from concussions.

The Lystedt law was adopted by the state of Washington, effective in July 2009, and 15 states have passed similar legislation since then, the league said.

The Washington law requires school districts and leagues using school property to remove from games or practice players that are suspected of having sustained a concussion. It also prohibits them from returning until authorized by a doctor trained in concussions, and mandates that parents and athletes sign concussion information sheets.

It is named for Zackery Lystedt, who returned to a school football game after suffering a concussion when he was 13. He suffered brain damage and fell into a coma, but has regained movement in his extremities.

Nowinski wants more safeguards.

“It’s amazing to me that we have pitch counts in youth baseball to protect children’s elbow ligaments,” he said, “but we do not count how often we hit them in the head to protect their brains.”

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: http://sports.espn.go.com/chicago/nfl/news/story?id=6465271

Comments on blogs and news articles!


If the comments on blogs, new commentaries and news articles are any indication, I believe we are reaching a turning point in understanding of the effects of Traumatic Brain Injury (“TBI”) and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (“CTE”).

ABC’s coverage of Junior Seau‘s suicide included exxtensive discussion of CTE and its reamifications. The ABC website also had several links to TBI information.

Comments on blogs and news articles have been very respectful and somber with most NFL supporters and fans suggesting that the football game would have to change for it to survive. Strategy and tactics would need to be emphasized instead of brute strength.

Here are more links and extracts of comments that give me hope that the public is gradually beginning to understand the implications of TBI and CTE. I just wish that Junior Seau, Ray Easterling, Dave Duerson and Mike Webster did not have to die for there to be a change in the way TBI and CTE is viewed and treated.

It is important that providers, friends , co-workers and family are not dismissive of the concerns of TBI and CTE sufferers. The ultimate result  is the sufferers’ early death when they see no other way out of their predicament. However, there are ways that one can cope with the effects of TBI and CTE.

Coping and Living with TBI and CTE — I have pages on this blog with information on Brain Injury resources and suggestions on how to live with TBI. Please share the blog with anyone that you know that can benefit from this information.

Here are some comments and links

#1: “I rotated through the VA Hospital as part of my training and this is the problem with our servicemen coming back from Iraq. They were being diagnosed with PTSD because of depression and suicidal ideation. However, the actual problem was actually TBI from exposure to road side blasts. Trust me when you see patients like this, you wish they would speak up sooner rather than later because the end result is by no means pretty at all.” Source: http://www.shaggybevo.com/board/showthread.php/110357-Colt-just-got-some-help?goto=nextoldest

Ray Easterling, of Atlanta’s Grits Blitz, Dies at 62


By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: April 21, 2012

ATLANTA (AP) — Ray Easterling, a former Atlanta Falcons safety who helped lead the team’s vaunted defense in the 1970s and later joined a high-profile lawsuit against the National Football League over its handling of concussion-related injuries, died on Thursday. He was 62.

Ray Easterling in 1975. (Associated Press)

The Richmond, Va., police captain Yvonne Crowder told FoxSports.com on Saturday that Easterling died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his home in Richmond. His wife, Mary Ann Easterling, said that after he left football, Easterling experienced depression, insomnia and then dementia that she attributed to years of bruising hits.

Easterling played for the Falcons from 1972 to 1979 and was part of the team’s Grits Blitz defense in 1977 that set the N.F.L. record at the time for the fewest points allowed in a season, 129.

He was part of a group of seven former players who sued the league in Philadelphia in August, contending that it had failed to properly treat players for concussions and for decades had tried to conceal any links between football and brain injuries. The N.F.L. has said that any allegation that it intentionally sought to mislead players is without merit.

Ms. Easterly said she would continue to pursue the lawsuit and urge the league to establish a fund for players with traumatic brain injuries related to their playing days.

“Half the time the player puts themselves back in the game, and they don’t know what kind of impact it has,” she said. “Somehow this has got to be stopped.”

Easterling was born on Sept. 3, 1949, and played football at the University of Richmond. He was drafted by the Falcons as a ninth-round pick in 1972 and played for four years as a starter. He was a leader of the secondary that established a team record in 1977 with 26 interceptions.

After his playing days ended, he returned to Richmond, where he ran a financial services company and started a youth football camp. His wife and friends said that he started showing signs of brain damage about 20 years ago.

“He just wasn’t thinking right,” said Greg Brezina, a former Falcons teammate. “You could tell that 20 years ago. He’d start talking to you about one topic, and then he’d end up in another topic and he wouldn’t know how he got there.”

World-Famous Doctor Helps With Junior Seau’s Autopsy


Dr. Bennet Omalu, co-founder of the Brain Injury Research Institute, was in San Diego to assist medical examiner

By Paul Krueger
|  Friday, May 4, 2012  |  Updated 6:33 PM PDT
World-Famous Doctor Helps With Junior Seau's Autopsy

Junior Seau looks on during a press conference to announce his retirement from the NFL on August 14, 2006 at the Chargers Training Camp in San Diego, California.

A world-famous doctor has been in San Diego to help with Junior Seau’s autopsy, NBC San Diego has confirmed.

That autopsy was performed Thursday at the county medical examiner’s office.

It will hopefully provide answers about why the veteran linebacker died of an apparent suicide on Wednesday.

The county medical examiner was assisted by Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic pathologist and co-founder of the Brain Injury Research Institute, which studies the impact of concussions on health.

Omalu’s participation in the Seau autopsy was confirmed today by a spokesperson for the Research Institute.

Omalu is also the chief medical officer for San Joaquin County, California.

The Seau autopsy won’t be completed for weeks, but right now, doctors know important new details about the condition of Seau’s brain because they were able to examine it during the autopsy.

One expert tells NBC San Diego that a pathologist can immediately see if the brain has been damaged by the impact of repeated concussions.

“Typically, the frontal lobes and the temporal lobes take most of the damage, so I would expect those areas will be looked at with some scrutiny,” says Dr. Jerome Stenehjem, of Sharp Memorial Rehabilitation in Kearny Mesa.

Stenehjem says cross-sections of a brain damaged by concussions will show shrunken lobes, compared to those in a healthy brain.

“It’s almost like a raisin shrinking down,” Stenehjem said, in describing the appearance of the damaged brain matter.

Stenehjem and other experts say repeated concussions can cause brain damage, including dementia and depression, which can lead to suicide.

Gary Plummer, a former NFL linebacker who played on the San Diego Chargers during the Seau years, tells NBC San Diego that a good NFL linebacker will suffer several “grade one,” or minor concussions, in every game.

“I can guarantee that in 20 years, he had easily over 1,000 concussions,” Plummer says.

Source: World-Famous Doctor Helps With Junior Seau’s Autopsy | NBC San Diego

Read more:

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/7888497/sources-forensic-pathologist-credited-identifying-cte-involved-junior-seau-autopsy

Culled Comment from the ESPN link above:

#1: “I have had 13 concussions myself. While my friends, family and co-workers are all well aware of the memory loss, that is all that they are aware of. The depression, the headaches, the sensitivity to light at times all come with the territory as well but nobody is willing to admit it to friends. Long term concussion side effects are not a joke and something I have to live with everyday. I am only 25. I was once dumb and took pride in getting right back after having my “bell rung”. Now, I regret it everyday. Don’t just look at football. Wrestling and Boxing have it too.”

#2: “As an engineer I can guarantee you that both helmets and mouth-guards can be further optimized to reduce vibrations in the skull after a collision. To say that they will 100% prevent concussions is obviously far-reaching, but we could easily prevent 60% of the current concussions with better protection. The Brain will always bounce around in the skull, but creating damping mechanisms inside the helmet and with a mouthguard can prevent a huge percentage of the damage cause by these “Brain vibrations”.”

#3: “The Culture, behavior and technique is the answer. The only reason the helmet is used as a weapon is because it is glorified and even sometimes encouraged. Some have complained that we are creating a watered down game. But, i say they miss the point of football to begin with. The object is to move the ball down the field and score with strategy. Not see how many people you can Spear which IS ILLEGAL! Maybe all of this with Junior, Dave and Ray will make us do some soul searching and find a way to make them proud of the evolution of the game! Look I have coached 20+ years. I have won 4 championships and have NEVER had one of my players carted off or taken away in an ambulance. Why cause I teach proper technique. I teach them how to defend themselves!”

Football great Junior Seau’s brain to be examined


Related News

New England Patriots Junior Seau speaks to reporters before training at the Oval Cricket Ground ahead of their NFL game against Tampa Bay Buccaneers in London in this October 23, 2009 file photograph. TMZ is reporting retired NFL star Junior Seau is dead in his home in Oceanside, California. REUTERS-Luke MacGregor-Files
New England Patriots linebacker Junior Seau celebrates after intercepting a pass from Cleveland Browns quarterback Derek Anderson in the first quarter of their NFL football game in Foxborough, Massachusetts in this October 7, 2007 file photograph. REUTERS-Brian Snyder-Files

By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES | Fri May 4, 2012 6:51pm EDT

(Reuters) – Football great Junior Seau‘s brain will be examined for evidence of repetitive injuries from his playing days following the retired linebacker’s suicide in his California beachfront home, a pastor for the family said on Friday.

Seau, a 12-time Pro Bowl (all-star game) selection who played for 20 years in the National Football League, was found unconscious at his home by his girlfriend on Wednesday with a gunshot wound to the chest and a revolver nearby, police said.

Pastor Shawn Mitchell, a former chaplain for Seau’s longtime team, the San Diego Chargers, said he did not know who would study Seau’s brain at the request of the family.

“They believe that through allowing this procedure, it will allow the betterment of other individuals and athletes in the years ahead,” Mitchell said. “Their thought is, if it can benefit others, then it’s probably worth going forward with.”

Seau’s death at age 43 comes at a time of heightened scrutiny of the effects of repeated blows to the head in football, and the potential for such injuries to contribute to depression and long-term health problems in players.

The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office, which found in an autopsy on Thursday that Seau’s death was due to suicide, has said a study of the brain for repetitive injury would have to be conducted by outside researchers.

The Brain Injury Research Institute is one of the groups seeking to obtain Seau’s brain, said Garrett Webster, an administrator and family liaison for the organization.

Its Northern California-based co-director Dr. Bennet Omalu, who has conducted examinations on at least 30 brains of former NFL players, flew to San Diego the day of Seau’s autopsy on Thursday and met with his family, Webster said.

Boston University, which in 2010 received $1 million from the NFL for its center that conducts research on long-term effects of repetitive brain trauma, was also vying for a chance to do the research, Webster said.

Both groups “are going after it very hard” but not in a way that is disrespectful to the family, Webster said. “The important thing is that someone gets it and learns something from it,” he said.

A Boston University spokeswoman declined to comment.

THIRD SUICIDE

Seau’s death was at least the third apparent suicide by a former NFL player since February 2011, when 50-year-old former Chicago Bears defensive back Dave Duerson shot himself in the chest and left a note asking that his brain be studied.

An examination of Seau’s brain for evidence of damage caused by concussions, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), would likely involve looking for the profusion of a protein called tau, which is also found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

Such a study can reveal if a person had the beginning stages of the degenerative brain ailment or a severe case, and initial results can be obtained in anywhere from a couple weeks to three months, Webster said.

More than 1,500 former football players have sued the NFL over head injuries, and accused the league of concealing links between football and brain injuries. The NFL disputes those allegations, and said it has taken steps to protect players.

“We are relentless in our approach to making the game even safer and continually modify rules to take dangerous techniques out of the game, which is true over the history of the NFL,” Brian McCarthy, a spokesman for the league, said in a statement.

“As part of the most recent collective bargaining agreement with the players, we’ve committed $100 million over the next nine years to medical research with the vast majority going to brain research,” he said.

The league has focused in recent seasons on health and safety issues. It has cracked down on hits to the head, and stiffened rules that bar players from using their helmets as a weapon through head-first contact, which is subject to fines and suspension for repeat offenders.

On Wednesday the league suspended four players, including one for the entire 2012 season, for their role in the New Orleans Saints‘ bounty scheme that paid players for hurting opponents.

It also sent memo to all 32 NFL teams to re-emphasize that any program of non-contract bonuses is a violation of league rules.

Seau, who played for the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots after leaving the Chargers, retired after the 2009 season. He lived in Oceanside, just north of San Diego.

(Reporting By Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Xavier Briand)

Source:  http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/04/us-usa-seau-idUSBRE84214D20120504

Family to donate Junior Seau’s brain for research purposes | NFL


Pats vs. Seahawks - 12/7/08

Junior Seau

 

The family of former NFL linebacker Junior Seauwill allow his brain to be examined by researchers who study head trauma, according to a chaplain for the San Diego Chargers.

By The New York Times and The Associated Press

The family of former NFL linebacker Junior Seau will allow his brain to be examined by researchers who study head trauma, according to a chaplain for the San Diego Chargers.

Seau, 43, was found dead in his Oceanside, Calif., home Wednesday morning of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. He did not leave a note.

Shawn Mitchell, the Chargers’ chaplain and a pastor with New Venture Christian Fellowship, said he had been in touch with the Seau family and it decided to allow researchers to examine Seau’s brain for signs of trauma.

“Junior was philanthropic,” Mitchell said. “And he got that from his mom and dad. Their hope is that it can serve athletes down the road.”

In February 2011, ex-Chicago Bears player Dave Duerson shot himself in the chest, saying in a note he wanted his brain donated to the study of football head injuries. After studying Duerson’s brain, doctors determined he had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative, progressive brain disease.

Seau was the second former NFL player to commit suicide in the past two weeks. Ray Easterling, a safety for the Atlanta Falcons in the 1970s and a plaintiff in a high-profile lawsuit against the league over its handling of concussion-related injuries, died April 19 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Eighteen of 19 ex-players whose brains were studied at Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy were found to have had CTE. It was not clear where Seau’s brain would be studied.

Source: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/seahawks/2018144395_nfl05.html

My comments about Junior Seau’s suicide!


Junior Seau

Junior Seau (Photo credit: Dave Sizer)

I posted the following comments to a friend’s facebook Wall when he first posted the story of Junior Seau‘s suicide. At the time, I did not know much about Junior Seau; however, I had an inkling that the suicide could be CTE related. My sincere sympathy to Junior Seau’s family. May his soul rest in eternal peace!

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There has been a spate of traumatic brain injuries in the NFL which the NFL was not willing to acknowledge until 2010 when a Congressional Judicial

Hearing forced them to face the reality of what is happening to their retired players. Most of them sustained multiple concussions that were not treated but they were forced to return to play almost immediately. They live in constant pain and have short- and long-term memory losses which is like a living nightmare. Short-term memory is essential to daily living.

Pitt Football Alums Tony Dorsett at Gino Torre...

When Dave Duerson committed suicide he did so in such a way that he would not damage his brain so that it be could studied. It was a virtual sacrifice for medical research to help other players that are TBI sufferers. Tony Dorsett is also having similar problems and he has sued the NFL. It would not surprise me to find out that Junior Seau took the same path out of a life of misery of living with TBI.

The fact is that TBI is a new frontier for most doctors. Most of them don’t understand TBI and they are often dismissive of TBI incidents but the effects are degenerative so years after the victims, especially children and teens, that have concussions suffer with no explicable reason, There are also college players with TBI conditions.

The US Federal government is now focusing on TBI. They have a website and doctors are now required to do CT scans hours apart after a concussion incident because bleeding in the brain does not show up immediately after a TBI incident. Six or eight hours later — the bleeding shows up while the initial scan may have been clean. There are also guidelines for “return to play” for schools, colleges and the NFL. Players can no longer be returned to play immediately following a concussion incident. http://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/

There has always been knowledge of “Pugilist’s Punch Drunk Syndrome” which was associated only with boxers. It was not until Dr. Bennett Omalu — a renowned Nigerian neuropathologist — examined the brain of Mike Webster and other players whose brains were sent to him after they passed that the understanding of TBI which he termed “Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy” (CTE) and the implications of concussions among the general public and NFL players was understood. The concussion results in the deposit of “Tau proteins” (a gunk of dead nerve cells) in the brain which interferes with electrical signals in the brain and brain function that depends on which part of the brain is affected.

Most NFL players suffered multiple concussions which can occur over several parts of their brain so their brain function can be impaired in a significant way. Just imagine the nightmare of losing both your short-term and long-term memory and also being in constant pain from the injuries. There was no documented evidence of TBI in his case; however, everything that I have read about Walter Payton seems to also point in that direction. http://www.braininjuryresearchinstitute.org/archives/bennet-omalus-testimony-to-house-judiciary-committee/

As Dr. Bennett Omalu testified, the deposit of Tau Protein does not show up on CT Scans and MRI. It cannot be seen with the naked eye. It was only after he sent samples of Mike Webster’s brain to a lab for specialized exam that the tau proteins showed their ugly face. Like Dave Duerson, Junior Seau may have shot himself in the chest to avoid damaging his brain so that it can be studied. If it turns out that there are tau proteins, his family can be compensated when the NFL lawsuit is settled. The most important thing with TBI is awareness. When people understand what is really happening with their brain and how best to cope with and live with TBI, it is half the battle. The other part of the battle is finding a way to live with it so that you can minimize the impact and not beat yourself up over every setback but take the punches and roll with it!

This is why I set up my blog to help people to know that they are not alone and that there are resources available to help them cope with TBI (aka CTE). I feel that people will despair less if they understand the condition and have no fear of what is going on. Because it is not a visible injury, doctors dismiss it. When people think of a brain injury they expect to see visible scars. Most people including friends, co-workers and family members can also be very dismissive. However, families are also impacted in a very negative way and they also suffer when their loved one, often a former high performer, no longer functions at the level that they once performed and they are at a loss to understanding what is really going on, and helpless because they have no clue how to help the person. The more that people know and understand, the better for the TBI victim and their family.

I have to add that Dr. Bennet Omalu, a Nigerian, was attacked by the NFL. It was not until doctors at Boston University corroborated his work that the NFL accepted his findings. I spoke to Bennett and he told me that they did not believe him when he first published his work.  They even attributed the term CTE, which Dr. Omalu coined, to the Boston University researchers. Now he is widely recognized for his ground-breaking work. Dr. Bennet Omalu also collaborates with Dr. Daniel Amen to help the NFL players.

Read more: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iVyZprPTUsS7r0vk1PQfdOWXzsjA?docId=1365dbb3557f41359bc44d67b21aad83

AP ENTERPRISE: Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett, other ex-players suing NFL, describe negligence


By Associated Press, Published: February 2

The helmet-to-helmet shot knocked Tony Dorsett out cold in the second quarter of a 1984 Cowboys-Eagles game, the hardest hit he ever took during his Hall of Fame NFL career.“It was like a freight train hitting a Volkswagen,” Dorsett says now.

( Martha Irvine / Associated Press ) – In this image take from video shot on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012, Tony Dorsett, a retired Hall of Fame running back for the Dallas Cowboys, listens to a reporters question in his home in suburban Dallas. Dorsett, 57, is one of at least 300 former players suing the National Football League, claiming the NFL pressured them to play with concussions and other injuries and then failed to help them pay for health care in retirement to deal with those injuries.

 “Did they know it was a concussion?” he asks rhetorically during an interview with The Associated Press. “They thought I was half-dead.”
And yet, he says, after being examined in the locker room — a light shined in his eyes; queries such as who sat next to him on the Cowboys’ bus ride to the stadium — Dorsett returned to the field and gained 99 yards in the second half. Mainly, he says, by running plays the wrong way, because he couldn’t remember what he was supposed to do.“That ain’t the first time I was knocked out or been dazed over the course of my career, and now I’m suffering for it,” the 57-year-old former tailback says. “And the NFL is trying to deny it.”Dorsett traces several health problems to concussions during a career that lasted from 1977-88, and he has joined more than 300 former players — including three other members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and at least 32 first- or second-team All-Pro selections — in suing the NFL, its teams and, in some cases, helmet maker Riddell. More should have been done in the past to warn about the dangers of concussions, their lawyers argue, and more can be done now and in the future to help retired players deal with mental and physical problems they attribute to their days in the NFL.In interviews conducted by the AP over the past two months with a dozen plaintiffs, what emerged was, at best, a depiction of a culture of indifference on the part of the league and its teams toward concussions and other injuries. At worst, there was a strong sense of a willful disregard for players’ well-being.“It’s not about whether players understood you could get a concussion playing football. It’s about the negligence of care, post-concussion, that occurred,” says Kyle Turley, an offensive lineman for the Saints, Rams and Chiefs who was the No. 7 overall pick in the 1998 draft and an All-Pro in 2000.

Players complain that they carried owners to their profits, in an industry that now has more than $9 billion in annual revenues, without the safety nets of guaranteed contracts or lifetime medical insurance.

“Yeah, I understand you paid me to do this, but still yet, I put my life on the line for you, I put my health on the line,” Dorsett says. “And yet when the time comes, you turn your back on me? That’s not right. That’s not the American way.”

Head injuries are a major topic of conversation every day of the NFL season. With the Super Bowl as a global stage, the NFL will air a one-minute TV commercial during Sunday’s game highlighting rules changes through the years that have made the sport safer.

The owners of the teams playing for the Lombardi Trophy in Indianapolis — Bob Kraft of the New England Patriots and John Mara of the New York Giants — acknowledge the issue’s significance.