This past year, special attention has been given to the link between football and brain injury, particularly in the NFL. For good reason, this past season, the incidences of concussion in the NFL rose by 58% – from 182 to 271.
The National Institute of Health, in association with Boston University, studied the brains of 91 deceased NFL players, finding that 96% of them had some form of brain injury – a stunning number, but not surprising from a sport that is rife with head-to-head defensive collisions.
Naturally, “The NFL rejects the allegations,” said NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy. In fact, the NFL initially offered to donate $30 million to fund this study – perhaps to surreptitiously sway the findings. However, when they found that Robert Stern, Boston University researcher and an expert on the link between football and TBI, was leading the study, the NFL dropped its promised donation.
What I do not understand is how the NFL can deny the magnitude and relevance of these statistics, especially in a study of now deceased players. They also say that Mr. Stern was biased. Personally, I do not understand how the NFL can claim someone can be biased on a study that relies on statistics. Furthermore, Mr. Stern may have personal feelings about the link between brain trauma and football, but I do not believe, as an expert in the field, he would sacrifice accuracy for point of view.
Lastly, I do not think that there is a person in this country who, if asked, does not have an opinion on football and its potentially negative effects.