If you know or love anyone who plays Pee Wee football, please watch last night’s segment on concussions in football. A concussion consultant for the Chicago Bears said that tackle football should NOT be allowed for young players — she seemed to include anyone 14 or under.
This was part of a larger discussion in connection with last night’s FRONTLINE documentary, League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis. That documentary explores the growing link between concussions (and even so-called subconcussive hits) and long-term brain disease that can lead to dementia, depression and outbursts of rage. The documentary asks, “What did the NFL know and when did it know it?”
The documentary argues that the NFL influences the football culture of the entire country and raises questions about how ethically it has acted in attacking critics and denying a link — even though a confidential study it commissioned (that was subsequently leaked to the New York Times) showed that former NFL players had a rate of memory problems 19 times the general public. Another troubling statistic: 45 out of 46 deceased (several by suicide) former NFL players whose brains were analyzed after their deaths had CTE, the brain disease marked by protein deposits called “tau” which destroy brain cells.
Anyone who cares about someone who plays football at any level, owes it to themselves to watch the documentary and at least, be aware of the very real concerns about playing the most popular sport in the country.