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Cuban may be right...

NFL on ESPN @ESPNNFL

The NFL plans to move Super Bowl Media Day from Tuesday to Monday night in Primetime.

I think my first "AHA" moment of what Cuban talked about was when the TNF became every week. Even as a guy who loves his football, it just felt to be too much. Too much of a good thing theory, ya know?

Now, as these train wreck games have affected FF with the increasing feeling of no down time, the rushed decision on injured players and the general weaker product on the field (seems like a lot of the TNF games are dog games), I feel this way even more.

As much as I truly have loved the NFL for so many years, I find myself almost "anti-NFL" when I hear about their blatant attempts to saturate their exposure more and more. I don't need a half week of my life locked down because of a draft on primetime tv. I don't need to watch washed up veteran players running 40s at a veteran combine. And on and on.

The NFL would run an hour long special of the evolution of NFL logos in a gif format if they thought they could turn a buck on it. At some point, exposure of the NFL does more to push me away than draw me in.

I still enjoy the NFL and watch the games, but all the extra stuff doesn't interest me. Sure, I'll watch the 1st round of the draft, but after that, I just can't get excited enough to spend Friday and Saturday sitting in front of my TV in late April/early May.

Same with the combine. I tried to watch it a couple years ago, zero interest. If coaches don't even take it seriously, why should us fans?

Now moving Media Day to primetime? Do people actually want to even watch Media Day? I can't say I've been disappointed that I can't watch because it's during the middle of the day during the week. Maybe if the Redskins were in the SB, I'd be interested. 95% of the question even asked during Media Day have nothing to do with the actual game.

And agree on TNF. The NFL has been perfect because all you had to do was give up Sundays in the fall/winter and watch games all day. It was perfect. Now it's simple economics: Supply and Demand. The NFL is supplying so much coverage that the demand will start to go down soon.

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They need to get rid of automatic replay of all scoring plays and turnovers.  Now every exciting play is immediately followed by a hmm I wonder if it will stand.  We don't celebrate the play anymore,

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Perhaps.  But, there are a lot of other things that neuroscientists need to do. 1.  Establish an agreed upon pathology that differentiates CTE.  At present there are preliminary criteria, all of

It seems like if you don't want to watch a rookie combine, veteran combine, rookie draft, Thursday Night Football or Super Bowl Media Day, maybe you should, you know, not watch? If someone else wants to, maybe it shouldn't matter to you whether or not they choose to?

I'm no fan of TNF and agree that those games damage league integrity, but this idea that what I want to watch should be a guideline for what is available to others is beyond me.

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It seems like if you don't want to watch a rookie combine, veteran combine, rookie draft, Thursday Night Football or Super Bowl Media Day, maybe you should, you know, not watch? If someone else wants to, maybe it shouldn't matter to you whether or not they choose to?

I'm no fan of TNF and agree that those games damage league integrity, but this idea that what I want to watch should be a guideline for what is available to others is beyond me.

I couldn't give 2 ####s about what other people want to watch. Just saying for me personally, all this constant coverage is starting to burn me out. Sounds like others feel the same as well. If you want to watch the Combine, that by all means, go for it.

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It seems like if you don't want to watch a rookie combine, veteran combine, rookie draft, Thursday Night Football or Super Bowl Media Day, maybe you should, you know, not watch? If someone else wants to, maybe it shouldn't matter to you whether or not they choose to?

I'm no fan of TNF and agree that those games damage league integrity, but this idea that what I want to watch should be a guideline for what is available to others is beyond me.

I couldn't give 2 ####s about what other people want to watch. Just saying for me personally, all this constant coverage is starting to burn me out. Sounds like others feel the same as well. If you want to watch the Combine, that by all means, go for it.

How can coverage of something you're not interested in burn you out? Just turn off the flipping TV.

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It seems like if you don't want to watch a rookie combine, veteran combine, rookie draft, Thursday Night Football or Super Bowl Media Day, maybe you should, you know, not watch? If someone else wants to, maybe it shouldn't matter to you whether or not they choose to?

I'm no fan of TNF and agree that those games damage league integrity, but this idea that what I want to watch should be a guideline for what is available to others is beyond me.

I couldn't give 2 ####s about what other people want to watch. Just saying for me personally, all this constant coverage is starting to burn me out. Sounds like others feel the same as well. If you want to watch the Combine, that by all means, go for it.

How can coverage of something you're not interested in burn you out? Just turn off the flipping TV.

It's the same for me as Mattfancy.

Sure, we can choose not to watch a vet combine, etc but as a FF guy, you can't ignore that you have zero downtime in your league with weekly TNF. That's where it bites me the most.

But even in "choosing" to ignore the parts you don't like, it's more that it crosses a line and becomes almost intrusive. We all need food to live. We all eat food. We all choose to eat this or not eat that. But even though we NEED it, we don't want nothing but non-stop Poppa John's commercials on our tvs every minute of the day. Even if we LOVE or HATE Poppa John's, when it is all you see every time you pay attention to the Tv, it just loses something. When I go an off-season without football, I genuinely get eager to watch it. When it was just Sunday/MNF, it was like a week long event that built up.

Just not the same anymore-in season or off. It is like they fill the gaps with clearly inferior substitutes (a schedule release show in June, a Jags/Browns game on TNF...whoo boy!). That's like when you're a kid and you smell the awesome food your parents are making in the kitchen and you're hungry and they hand you a piece of lettuce to tide you over.

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I can't stand Thursday Night Football either. What gets me irked is that in the modern era of football and TV, there's no real need for the Sunday games to be scheduled as they currently are.

IMHO, the weekly schedule should be as follows:

1PM Sunday: 6 games

4PM Sunday: 6 games

SNF: 2 games

MNF: 2 games

I've been gambling on sports, primarily football, for almost 3 decades. It's hard not to see the 'funnel action' going on with the status quo of 9-10 games at 1PM Sunday, 3-4 games at 4PM Sunday, 1 SNF game and 1 MNF game. Spreading 16 games out over 2 days in the manner above would be better for everyone...except Vegas. It's tough for me not to imagine that's why things stay the way they are, and I wish there would be more outspoken public advocacy for change.

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It seems like if you don't want to watch a rookie combine, veteran combine, rookie draft, Thursday Night Football or Super Bowl Media Day, maybe you should, you know, not watch? If someone else wants to, maybe it shouldn't matter to you whether or not they choose to?

I'm no fan of TNF and agree that those games damage league integrity, but this idea that what I want to watch should be a guideline for what is available to others is beyond me.

I couldn't give 2 ####s about what other people want to watch. Just saying for me personally, all this constant coverage is starting to burn me out. Sounds like others feel the same as well. If you want to watch the Combine, that by all means, go for it.

How can coverage of something you're not interested in burn you out? Just turn off the flipping TV.

Never thought of that before. Thanks for the tip!

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I can't stand Thursday Night Football either. What gets me irked is that in the modern era of football and TV, there's no real need for the Sunday games to be scheduled as they currently are.

IMHO, the weekly schedule should be as follows:

1PM Sunday: 6 games

4PM Sunday: 6 games

SNF: 2 games

MNF: 2 games

I've been gambling on sports, primarily football, for almost 3 decades. It's hard not to see the 'funnel action' going on with the status quo of 9-10 games at 1PM Sunday, 3-4 games at 4PM Sunday, 1 SNF game and 1 MNF game. Spreading 16 games out over 2 days in the manner above would be better for everyone...except Vegas. It's tough for me not to imagine that's why things stay the way they are, and I wish there would be more outspoken public advocacy for change.

I don't get the 1pm and 4pm kickoff windows anymore. Why can't they do something similar to college football and have games staggered throughout the day? Start games at say 12, 1, 3, 4, 5 and then the Sunday night game.

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How can coverage of something you're not interested in burn you out? Just turn off the flipping TV.

It's like telling a crackhead to turn off the crack channel.

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That's like when you're a kid and you smell the awesome food your parents are making in the kitchen and you're hungry and they hand you a piece of lettuce to tide you over.

Plot Twist: They were cooking lettuce.

Yeah..but it was in bacon grease so....

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How can coverage of something you're not interested in burn you out? Just turn off the flipping TV.

It's like telling a crackhead to turn off the crack channel.

It's probably easier for me because I don't have cable and my TV is never on for sports except during football season.

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I can't stand Thursday Night Football either. What gets me irked is that in the modern era of football and TV, there's no real need for the Sunday games to be scheduled as they currently are.

IMHO, the weekly schedule should be as follows:

1PM Sunday: 6 games

4PM Sunday: 6 games

SNF: 2 games

MNF: 2 games

I've been gambling on sports, primarily football, for almost 3 decades. It's hard not to see the 'funnel action' going on with the status quo of 9-10 games at 1PM Sunday, 3-4 games at 4PM Sunday, 1 SNF game and 1 MNF game. Spreading 16 games out over 2 days in the manner above would be better for everyone...except Vegas. It's tough for me not to imagine that's why things stay the way they are, and I wish there would be more outspoken public advocacy for change.

I don't get the 1pm and 4pm kickoff windows anymore. Why can't they do something similar to college football and have games staggered throughout the day? Start games at say 12, 1, 3, 4, 5 and then the Sunday night game.

I have long thought that it because of a couple of reasons:

1)THe traditional nature of it before it was such a rabid sport would allow for a steady, synchronized time for fans in the cities to plan to attend, the cities to prepare, etc.

2)Being the type of sport it is, is there a major advantage if one team (Titans) always is finished by 4pm while another (the Giants) are typically playing at pm (less down time for recovery?)

3)The way it is structured and the endless stops in action and commercials, having 8 games going at once increases the chances that we can flip and catch another game during the breaks. We complain a lot about the non-stop breaks on MNF. Imagin how we would feel if we noticed that during every game we watch. Currently, at a 1pm game when the game breaks, I flip and see what's going on elsewhere.

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3)The way it is structured and the endless stops in action and commercials, having 8 games going at once increases the chances that we can flip and catch another game during the breaks. We complain a lot about the non-stop breaks on MNF. Imagin how we would feel if we noticed that during every game we watch. Currently, at a 1pm game when the game breaks, I flip and see what's going on elsewhere.

Folks with Sunday Ticket already do this (at least I did, and can't imagine I'm unusual there). So the NFL has access to actual numbers on percentage of customers who would channel flip to catch other games. And I doubt advertisers find that palatable.

4) Home market games get near-exclusive rights on their broadcast channels...staggered start times would wreck fans' ability to see out of market games in their entirety, unless those exclusions were eliminated. If my team kicks off at 3PM, my station will break away from whatever I started watching at 1. And by the time that game ends, the late game is already underway and may be lopsided enough to not be worth watching.

This forum self-selects for football fanatics, but the broadcast markets are still kind of a big deal for teams...

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Said it many times before. If the NFL wants to make more money, add a week to the season but also add a second bye week. Still 16 games, but 18 weeks. Thats an extra week of thursday/sunday/monday prime time games along with all the regular TV money for the one oclock and four oclock games.

This makes the fans happy having an extra week, plus the players/coaches will appreciate the rest and probably some extra money due to extra revenue.

I know, weird, a money making idea that is actually a benefit to the league/players/coaches/fans.

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football dies as soon as they are able to test for cte while alive.

http://ftw.usatoday.com/2015/09/researchers-find-evidence-of-cte-in-96-of-deceased-nfl-players-they-tested

There can be no doubt that gridiron will be vastly different in 20 years than the way it is played today.

Football? I doubt it changes much. Maybe they try to cut down on the damage done to heads and brains from headers.

But American football as we know it will change inevitably. Look at what happened this year already with the 49'ers and Dolphins.

Whether we will recognize it as the game we love remains to be seen.

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NFL just needs to embrace that the game is dangerous and that's why players are paid as much as they are. You can play in the NFL, have fame and fortune beyond your dreams or you can work for something like UPS for 40 years in anonymity. One is a huge health risk and the other isn't. Your call. Some people wash windows and make minimum wage, other people wash windows on the 95th floor of skyscrapers and make 6 figures. With risk comes money. Would you rather work 50 years sitting in some office barely getting by and maybe live a long life? Or would you rather be a gridiron god, make 40 million bucks and have a much higher risk of health problems later in life? If I had the athletic ability I'd take the shot at the fame and fortune knowing what the risks were.

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NFL just needs to embrace that the game is dangerous and that's why players are paid as much as they are. You can play in the NFL, have fame and fortune beyond your dreams or you can work for something like UPS for 40 years in anonymity. One is a huge health risk and the other isn't. Your call. Some people wash windows and make minimum wage, other people wash windows on the 95th floor of skyscrapers and make 6 figures. With risk comes money. Would you rather work 50 years sitting in some office barely getting by and maybe live a long life? Or would you rather be a gridiron god, make 40 million bucks and have a much higher risk of health problems later in life? If I had the athletic ability I'd take the shot at the fame and fortune knowing what the risks were.

Agreed. I don't have a problem with trying to improve safety but not to the extent that it drastically changes the game.

The players playing right now know all of the risks and accept it for the huge pay and fame. They can retire at any time and when they do there will be a line of players ready to step to take their place.

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NFL just needs to embrace that the game is dangerous and that's why players are paid as much as they are. You can play in the NFL, have fame and fortune beyond your dreams or you can work for something like UPS for 40 years in anonymity. One is a huge health risk and the other isn't. Your call. Some people wash windows and make minimum wage, other people wash windows on the 95th floor of skyscrapers and make 6 figures. With risk comes money. Would you rather work 50 years sitting in some office barely getting by and maybe live a long life? Or would you rather be a gridiron god, make 40 million bucks and have a much higher risk of health problems later in life? If I had the athletic ability I'd take the shot at the fame and fortune knowing what the risks were.

Agreed. I don't have a problem with trying to improve safety but not to the extent that it drastically changes the game.

The players playing right now know all of the risks and accept it for the huge pay and fame. They can retire at any time and when they do there will be a line of players ready to step to take their place.

I agree in principle, but what about college players? They don't receive nearly the fame or fortune of professionals, yest still take on at least some of the risk.

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I saw that...then read the article. Later on it gives a caveat saying how ALL the brains tested were donated and were ALREADY SUSPECTED OF HAVING CTE.

In other words, that "study" is completely worthless as proof and the author should be castrated for the intentional and grossly misleading title. It's very likely football leads to an increase in the occurance of CTE, but nowhere remotely close to "95.6%".

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NFL just needs to embrace that the game is dangerous and that's why players are paid as much as they are. You can play in the NFL, have fame and fortune beyond your dreams or you can work for something like UPS for 40 years in anonymity. One is a huge health risk and the other isn't. Your call. Some people wash windows and make minimum wage, other people wash windows on the 95th floor of skyscrapers and make 6 figures. With risk comes money. Would you rather work 50 years sitting in some office barely getting by and maybe live a long life? Or would you rather be a gridiron god, make 40 million bucks and have a much higher risk of health problems later in life? If I had the athletic ability I'd take the shot at the fame and fortune knowing what the risks were.

Agreed. I don't have a problem with trying to improve safety but not to the extent that it drastically changes the game.

The players playing right now know all of the risks and accept it for the huge pay and fame. They can retire at any time and when they do there will be a line of players ready to step to take their place.

I agree in principle, but what about college players? They don't receive nearly the fame or fortune of professionals, yest still take on at least some of the risk.

Most college players get some fame and benefits, at least in the dating pool.

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NFL just needs to embrace that the game is dangerous and that's why players are paid as much as they are. You can play in the NFL, have fame and fortune beyond your dreams or you can work for something like UPS for 40 years in anonymity. One is a huge health risk and the other isn't. Your call. Some people wash windows and make minimum wage, other people wash windows on the 95th floor of skyscrapers and make 6 figures. With risk comes money. Would you rather work 50 years sitting in some office barely getting by and maybe live a long life? Or would you rather be a gridiron god, make 40 million bucks and have a much higher risk of health problems later in life? If I had the athletic ability I'd take the shot at the fame and fortune knowing what the risks were.

Agreed. I don't have a problem with trying to improve safety but not to the extent that it drastically changes the game.

The players playing right now know all of the risks and accept it for the huge pay and fame. They can retire at any time and when they do there will be a line of players ready to step to take their place.

I agree in principle, but what about college players? They don't receive nearly the fame or fortune of professionals, yest still take on at least some of the risk.

Most college players get some fame and benefits, at least in the dating pool.

Just to add:

More college players than not take advantage of "free" education that along with at least a puncher's chance at the NFL has great value to them even at the risk of long term health.

And for those don't believe that players actually graduate.

http://www.si.com/college-football/2014/12/08/bowl-teams-graduation-rates-ncaa-academics

Edited by coolnerd
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First time I noticed NFL being oversaturating dbags was I think it was like 4 or 5 years ago, the NFL decided to release the upcoming season's schedules on MLB's Opening Day. Like eff off. Let the damn sport have its day.

What is MLB?

Those letters stand for Major League Baseball.

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I saw that...then read the article. Later on it gives a caveat saying how ALL the brains tested were donated and were ALREADY SUSPECTED OF HAVING CTE.

In other words, that "study" is completely worthless as proof and the author should be castrated for the intentional and grossly misleading title. It's very likely football leads to an increase in the occurance of CTE, but nowhere remotely close to "95.6%".

There is not strong evidence to date to even make this claim. It is possible. But, asymptomatic individuals with no known concussion history show evidence of tau deposition on autopsy. There is not an established link between concussions and CTE. There is not an established dose dependent relationship (i.e., more concussions = greater risk and/or more widespread pathology). It is not known what the base rates of CTE are in the general population or in individuals with high blood pressure or steroid users or diabetes or Alzheimer's disease or drug dependency or depression. We do not understand if there even is a clinical profile for CTE and how that progresses.

What we know is that a large lab in Boston is securing millions upon millions of dollars to conduct case series studies of brains and soliciting families of former NFL players (and others, but football has been the primary source) to donate the brains of their loved ones. Some families agree to this, others do not. Thus, there is an inherent problem with possible selection bias here. Families who observed unusual behaviors in their loved ones, for example, might be more inclined to donate than families who do not observe such behaviors. Ultimately, this is the problem when relying on case reports instead of systematically studying the phenomenon in question, because in this case especially, the case series model fails to answer the question if concussions cause CTE or even if CTE is causing the behavior change. (We might, for example, one day decide to autopsy the brains of 100 plumbers whose families expressed concern about unusual behavior and find 90% show elevated tau deposition and/or other brain abnormalities, which might lead folks to conclude that being a plumber increases the risk of a neurodegenerative process...which is awfully flimsy interpretation of data).

Ultimately, there no strong epidemiological evidence to support any of this yet, but it's alarming stuff, it fits a good narrative for the media, and as such, holes in the story don't get addressed. Which is why most in the neuroscience community remain agnostic and even a bit skeptical about all this. Doesn't mean further research (preferably from a lab independent from the Boston group who has an enormous vested interest in arriving at one conclusion versus another) won't eventually support the concussion--CTE connection. It's just that the narrative has far outpaced the science.

ETA: Does anyone know if these findings have been subject to peer review yet? Or did McKee's group go straight to PBS first?

Edited by cobalt_27
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I saw that...then read the article. Later on it gives a caveat saying how ALL the brains tested were donated and were ALREADY SUSPECTED OF HAVING CTE.

In other words, that "study" is completely worthless as proof and the author should be castrated for the intentional and grossly misleading title. It's very likely football leads to an increase in the occurance of CTE, but nowhere remotely close to "95.6%".

There is not strong evidence to date to even make this claim. It is possible. But, asymptomatic individuals with no known concussion history show evidence of tau deposition on autopsy. There is not an established link between concussions and CTE. There is not an established dose dependent relationship (i.e., more concussions = greater risk and/or more widespread pathology). It is not known what the base rates of CTE are in the general population or in individuals with high blood pressure or steroid users or diabetes or Alzheimer's disease or drug dependency or depression. We do not understand if there even is a clinical profile for CTE and how that progresses.

What we know is that a large lab in Boston is securing millions upon millions of dollars to conduct case series studies of brains and soliciting families of former NFL players (and others, but football has been the primary source) to donate the brains of their loved ones. Some families agree to this, others do not. Thus, there is an inherent problem with possible selection bias here. Families who observed unusual behaviors in their loved ones, for example, might be more inclined to donate than families who do not observe such behaviors. Ultimately, this is the problem when relying on case reports instead of systematically studying the phenomenon in question, because in this case especially, the case series model fails to answer the question if concussions cause CTE or even if CTE is causing the behavior change. (We might, for example, one day decide to autopsy the brains of 100 plumbers whose families expressed concern about unusual behavior and find 90% show elevated tau deposition and/or other brain abnormalities, which might lead folks to conclude that being a plumber increases the risk of a neurodegenerative process...which is awfully flimsy interpretation of data).

Ultimately, there no strong epidemiological evidence to support any of this yet, but it's alarming stuff, it fits a good narrative for the media, and as such, holes in the story don't get addressed. Which is why most in the neuroscience community remain agnostic and even a bit skeptical about all this. Doesn't mean further research (preferably from a lab independent from the Boston group who has an enormous vested interest in arriving at one conclusion versus another) won't eventually support the concussion--CTE connection. It's just that the narrative has far outpaced the science.

ETA: Does anyone know if these findings have been subject to peer review yet? Or did McKee's group go straight to PBS first?

Oh....I understand and almost 100% agree with you here. I think there's just enough, barely, to state that there is likely a rise in the risk of brain related deficits later in life from repeated head trauma (concussions). Where I take issue (as I suspect you do) is the sensationalist headlines and manipulated data such as in this article.

It wouldn't shock me to find that in the end the risk rises by only a few percentage points, and that when compared to risks found in many other fields, this rise is not all that bad after all. For example, those who spend a lot of time in planes (pilots, stewardesses) are exposed to far more cosmic radiation, and are at a measurebly higher risk for cancers.

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I saw that...then read the article. Later on it gives a caveat saying how ALL the brains tested were donated and were ALREADY SUSPECTED OF HAVING CTE.

In other words, that "study" is completely worthless as proof and the author should be castrated for the intentional and grossly misleading title. It's very likely football leads to an increase in the occurance of CTE, but nowhere remotely close to "95.6%".

There is not strong evidence to date to even make this claim. It is possible. But, asymptomatic individuals with no known concussion history show evidence of tau deposition on autopsy. There is not an established link between concussions and CTE. There is not an established dose dependent relationship (i.e., more concussions = greater risk and/or more widespread pathology). It is not known what the base rates of CTE are in the general population or in individuals with high blood pressure or steroid users or diabetes or Alzheimer's disease or drug dependency or depression. We do not understand if there even is a clinical profile for CTE and how that progresses.

What we know is that a large lab in Boston is securing millions upon millions of dollars to conduct case series studies of brains and soliciting families of former NFL players (and others, but football has been the primary source) to donate the brains of their loved ones. Some families agree to this, others do not. Thus, there is an inherent problem with possible selection bias here. Families who observed unusual behaviors in their loved ones, for example, might be more inclined to donate than families who do not observe such behaviors. Ultimately, this is the problem when relying on case reports instead of systematically studying the phenomenon in question, because in this case especially, the case series model fails to answer the question if concussions cause CTE or even if CTE is causing the behavior change. (We might, for example, one day decide to autopsy the brains of 100 plumbers whose families expressed concern about unusual behavior and find 90% show elevated tau deposition and/or other brain abnormalities, which might lead folks to conclude that being a plumber increases the risk of a neurodegenerative process...which is awfully flimsy interpretation of data).

Ultimately, there no strong epidemiological evidence to support any of this yet, but it's alarming stuff, it fits a good narrative for the media, and as such, holes in the story don't get addressed. Which is why most in the neuroscience community remain agnostic and even a bit skeptical about all this. Doesn't mean further research (preferably from a lab independent from the Boston group who has an enormous vested interest in arriving at one conclusion versus another) won't eventually support the concussion--CTE connection. It's just that the narrative has far outpaced the science.

ETA: Does anyone know if these findings have been subject to peer review yet? Or did McKee's group go straight to PBS first?

Oh....I understand and almost 100% agree with you here. I think there's just enough, barely, to state that there is likely a rise in the risk of brain related deficits later in life from repeated head trauma (concussions). Where I take issue (as I suspect you do) is the sensationalist headlines and manipulated data such as in this article.

It wouldn't shock me to find that in the end the risk rises by only a few percentage points, and that when compared to risks found in many other fields, this rise is not all that bad after all. For example, those who spend a lot of time in planes (pilots, stewardesses) are exposed to far more cosmic radiation, and are at a measurebly higher risk for cancers.

I suppose I'm curious to know is what gets you in that "barely" category? Beyond the headlines, there is negligible support for in the literature for an association. Which, as we both know, the absence of evidence is not evidence for its absence...but, if you can get past the hysteria, there's just not a well established link at all.

I spend most of my time now as a neuropsychologist evaluating post-concussion related issues and trying to educate clients, parents, spouses to help dial down the anxiety. While I truly am agnostic in regard to the proposed concussion-CTE link--it's a fascinating scientific question with clear societal implications--I am frustrated by the marketing pitch to tell a story even the authors concede is incomplete, lacking scientific rigor, and yet continue to explicitly and implicitly slash the message out to the media, often well before their data have been subject to the peer review process.

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I saw that...then read the article. Later on it gives a caveat saying how ALL the brains tested were donated and were ALREADY SUSPECTED OF HAVING CTE.

In other words, that "study" is completely worthless as proof and the author should be castrated for the intentional and grossly misleading title. It's very likely football leads to an increase in the occurance of CTE, but nowhere remotely close to "95.6%".

There is not strong evidence to date to even make this claim. It is possible. But, asymptomatic individuals with no known concussion history show evidence of tau deposition on autopsy. There is not an established link between concussions and CTE. There is not an established dose dependent relationship (i.e., more concussions = greater risk and/or more widespread pathology). It is not known what the base rates of CTE are in the general population or in individuals with high blood pressure or steroid users or diabetes or Alzheimer's disease or drug dependency or depression. We do not understand if there even is a clinical profile for CTE and how that progresses.

What we know is that a large lab in Boston is securing millions upon millions of dollars to conduct case series studies of brains and soliciting families of former NFL players (and others, but football has been the primary source) to donate the brains of their loved ones. Some families agree to this, others do not. Thus, there is an inherent problem with possible selection bias here. Families who observed unusual behaviors in their loved ones, for example, might be more inclined to donate than families who do not observe such behaviors. Ultimately, this is the problem when relying on case reports instead of systematically studying the phenomenon in question, because in this case especially, the case series model fails to answer the question if concussions cause CTE or even if CTE is causing the behavior change. (We might, for example, one day decide to autopsy the brains of 100 plumbers whose families expressed concern about unusual behavior and find 90% show elevated tau deposition and/or other brain abnormalities, which might lead folks to conclude that being a plumber increases the risk of a neurodegenerative process...which is awfully flimsy interpretation of data).

Ultimately, there no strong epidemiological evidence to support any of this yet, but it's alarming stuff, it fits a good narrative for the media, and as such, holes in the story don't get addressed. Which is why most in the neuroscience community remain agnostic and even a bit skeptical about all this. Doesn't mean further research (preferably from a lab independent from the Boston group who has an enormous vested interest in arriving at one conclusion versus another) won't eventually support the concussion--CTE connection. It's just that the narrative has far outpaced the science.

ETA: Does anyone know if these findings have been subject to peer review yet? Or did McKee's group go straight to PBS first?

Oh....I understand and almost 100% agree with you here. I think there's just enough, barely, to state that there is likely a rise in the risk of brain related deficits later in life from repeated head trauma (concussions). Where I take issue (as I suspect you do) is the sensationalist headlines and manipulated data such as in this article.

It wouldn't shock me to find that in the end the risk rises by only a few percentage points, and that when compared to risks found in many other fields, this rise is not all that bad after all. For example, those who spend a lot of time in planes (pilots, stewardesses) are exposed to far more cosmic radiation, and are at a measurebly higher risk for cancers.

I suppose I'm curious to know is what gets you in that "barely" category? Beyond the headlines, there is negligible support for in the literature for an association. Which, as we both know, the absence of evidence is not evidence for its absence...but, if you can get past the hysteria, there's just not a well established link at all.

I spend most of my time now as a neuropsychologist evaluating post-concussion related issues and trying to educate clients, parents, spouses to help dial down the anxiety. While I truly am agnostic in regard to the proposed concussion-CTE link--it's a fascinating scientific question with clear societal implications--I am frustrated by the marketing pitch to tell a story even the authors concede is incomplete, lacking scientific rigor, and yet continue to explicitly and implicitly slash the message out to the media, often well before their data have been subject to the peer review process.

Haven't repeated concussions been shown to have negative effects on the brain before? The studies to date are obviously extremely limited and offer no proof as such, but they certainly fit logically. There's enough there to suggest it deserves further (and more scientifically valid) study. Thus "barely". As you said, they aren't proof, but they are compelling. Most scientific inquiries start with a few observations like this.

(We really don't seem that far apart other than I tend to think there is probably a very weak link that in all likelihood isn't significant enough to warrant even 1/100th of the attention it's getting now. After all- how much do we talk about the increased chances of cancer for flight attendants?) In other words; they are dramatically/irresponsibly over-stating the risks, but that doesn't mean that there aren't some risks.

Edited by renesauz
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At what point do they just simply redesign the helmets and pads to have a softer exterior to absorb the shock and have a less weaponizing effect?

It seems like a 5 years old could solve this problem

Edited by Rove!
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At what point do they just simply redesign the helmets and pads to have a softer exterior to absorb the shock and have a less weaponizing effect?

It seems like a 5 years old could solve this problem

Some might remember Mark Kelso from the 80s/90s and his oversized helmet. It looked strange and he was teased about it (like being called Gazoo from the Flintstones). But apparently it helped him and his concussions.

I've always wondered if it's that easy to help concussions by adding extra padding to helmets, but if players (or the league) just don't do it because of the way it looks. If so (and it's suggested in this article) then I lose hope in whoever's making the decisions.

http://www.crainscleveland.com/article/20140430/BLOGS06/140439971/mark-kelso-mocked-and-shunned-for-his-padded-helmet-in-the-1990s-is

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At what point do they just simply redesign the helmets and pads to have a softer exterior to absorb the shock and have a less weaponizing effect?

It seems like a 5 years old could solve this problem

The problem is that the helmets are very good at protecting the skull, but the brain slams into the skull on these hard collisions. So far, even with additional padding, even the concussion proof helmets (that are not required to be worn, which is stupid in and of itself) are not completely concussion proof.

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At what point do they just simply redesign the helmets and pads to have a softer exterior to absorb the shock and have a less weaponizing effect?

It seems like a 5 years old could solve this problem

The problem is that the helmets are very good at protecting the skull, but the brain slams into the skull on these hard collisions. So far, even with additional padding, even the concussion proof helmets (that are not required to be worn, which is stupid in and of itself) are not completely concussion proof.

Anything that shows improvement should be embraced....

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I teach Statistics. Just finished our unit on experiments and observational studies. There are two main tenets that I make all students memorize.

#1. In order to make inference about a population from a sample there must be random selection of the subjects.

#2. In order to make inference about cause and effect there must be random assignment of treatments.

Only in very rare cases do we get to break these rules (like smoking -> lung cancer), and that's only with an enormous wealth of data over a long period of time. Neither of #1 or #2 have taken place in any study about CTE. Sure, I understand the ethics problems with random assignment of treatment with regard to CTE, but that's the situation we find ourselves in. Such is life.

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I teach Statistics. Just finished our unit on experiments and observational studies. There are two main tenets that I make all students memorize.#1. In order to make inference about a population from a sample there must be random selection of the subjects.#2. In order to make inference about cause and effect there must be random assignment of treatments.Only in very rare cases do we get to break these rules (like smoking -> lung cancer), and that's only with an enormous wealth of data over a long period of time. Neither of #1 or #2 have taken place in any study about CTE. Sure, I understand the ethics problems with random assignment of treatment with regard to CTE, but that's the situation we find ourselves in. Such is life.

You don't even need this high a standard. Just one gosh darn epidemiological study that looked at several key populations would be swell.

Oh, and also, it would help if someone studied how a little tau (not a lot, but a little, as is being reported in many of McKee's work) in the brain was clinically relevant (i.e., related to behavior change). Either of these would be helpful. Not from a media hysteria standpoint, mind you (that's been well established), but from a scientific standpoint.

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At what point do they just simply redesign the helmets and pads to have a softer exterior to absorb the shock and have a less weaponizing effect?

It seems like a 5 years old could solve this problem

Some might remember Mark Kelso from the 80s/90s and his oversized helmet. It looked strange and he was teased about it (like being called Gazoo from the Flintstones). But apparently it helped him and his concussions.

Actually, it didn't. That's not how concussions work. In brief, sudden acceleration/deceleration forces inside the cranium cause concussions. Helmets, both big and small, do nothing to mitigate this mechanism. They do, however, reduce the incidence of skull fractures, which is kind of nice. The idea of doing away with helmets to reduce the incidence of concussion is, at best, ill-informed and at worst would be lethal.

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The threat that I see is at the youth and high school level because you are cutting off the pipeline of available athletes. Many parents are already gun shy about their kids playing football. It is only a matter of time before school districts are sued for failing to protect, diagnose, and treat kids with concussions. Once those payouts and that liability risk gets too high, school districts will terminate football programs because most programs are already big money losers. There will still be college programs and the NFL, but the talent pool will become diluted over time.

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The threat that I see is at the youth and high school level because you are cutting off the pipeline of available athletes. Many parents are already gun shy about their kids playing football. It is only a matter of time before school districts are sued for failing to protect, diagnose, and treat kids with concussions. Once those payouts and that liability risk gets too high, school districts will terminate football programs because most programs are already big money losers. There will still be college programs and the NFL, but the talent pool will become diluted over time.

That is one sad outcome over all of this. The benefit is coaches and leagues are more sophisticated in managing concussions and making more conservative RTP decisions. But, to stir a mass hysteria over inconclusive, flawed, and misrepresentations is troubling to say the least.

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The threat that I see is at the youth and high school level because you are cutting off the pipeline of available athletes. Many parents are already gun shy about their kids playing football. It is only a matter of time before school districts are sued for failing to protect, diagnose, and treat kids with concussions. Once those payouts and that liability risk gets too high, school districts will terminate football programs because most programs are already big money losers. There will still be college programs and the NFL, but the talent pool will become diluted over time.

Read that as, mothers and PW fathers.

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At what point do they just simply redesign the helmets and pads to have a softer exterior to absorb the shock and have a less weaponizing effect?

It seems like a 5 years old could solve this problem

Some might remember Mark Kelso from the 80s/90s and his oversized helmet. It looked strange and he was teased about it (like being called Gazoo from the Flintstones). But apparently it helped him and his concussions.

Actually, it didn't. That's not how concussions work. In brief, sudden acceleration/deceleration forces inside the cranium cause concussions. Helmets, both big and small, do nothing to mitigate this mechanism. They do, however, reduce the incidence of skull fractures, which is kind of nice. The idea of doing away with helmets to reduce the incidence of concussion is, at best, ill-informed and at worst would be lethal.

Doesn't it stand to reason that a larger helmet, or some shock absorbing protrusion on the exterior of existing helmets, would mitigate acceleration/deceleration forces by absorbing a portion of the impact that causes them?

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At what point do they just simply redesign the helmets and pads to have a softer exterior to absorb the shock and have a less weaponizing effect?

It seems like a 5 years old could solve this problem

Some might remember Mark Kelso from the 80s/90s and his oversized helmet. It looked strange and he was teased about it (like being called Gazoo from the Flintstones). But apparently it helped him and his concussions.

Actually, it didn't. That's not how concussions work. In brief, sudden acceleration/deceleration forces inside the cranium cause concussions. Helmets, both big and small, do nothing to mitigate this mechanism. They do, however, reduce the incidence of skull fractures, which is kind of nice. The idea of doing away with helmets to reduce the incidence of concussion is, at best, ill-informed and at worst would be lethal.

Doesn't it stand to reason that a larger helmet, or some shock absorbing protrusion on the exterior of existing helmets, would mitigate acceleration/deceleration forces by absorbing a portion of the impact that causes them?

No. Mostly because those interventions still wouldn't solve the problem of speed that the brain is traveling as it crashes into the skull on impact of a quick deceleration force.

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At what point do they just simply redesign the helmets and pads to have a softer exterior to absorb the shock and have a less weaponizing effect?

It seems like a 5 years old could solve this problem

Some might remember Mark Kelso from the 80s/90s and his oversized helmet. It looked strange and he was teased about it (like being called Gazoo from the Flintstones). But apparently it helped him and his concussions.

Actually, it didn't. That's not how concussions work. In brief, sudden acceleration/deceleration forces inside the cranium cause concussions. Helmets, both big and small, do nothing to mitigate this mechanism. They do, however, reduce the incidence of skull fractures, which is kind of nice. The idea of doing away with helmets to reduce the incidence of concussion is, at best, ill-informed and at worst would be lethal.

Doesn't it stand to reason that a larger helmet, or some shock absorbing protrusion on the exterior of existing helmets, would mitigate acceleration/deceleration forces by absorbing a portion of the impact that causes them?

No. Mostly because those interventions still wouldn't solve the problem of speed that the brain is traveling as it crashes into the skull on impact of a quick deceleration force.

Maybe not solve, but it should act as a mitigator in much the same way that an airbag mitigates the damage done to a body impacting a steering column.

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At what point do they just simply redesign the helmets and pads to have a softer exterior to absorb the shock and have a less weaponizing effect?

It seems like a 5 years old could solve this problem

Some might remember Mark Kelso from the 80s/90s and his oversized helmet. It looked strange and he was teased about it (like being called Gazoo from the Flintstones). But apparently it helped him and his concussions.

Actually, it didn't. That's not how concussions work. In brief, sudden acceleration/deceleration forces inside the cranium cause concussions. Helmets, both big and small, do nothing to mitigate this mechanism. They do, however, reduce the incidence of skull fractures, which is kind of nice. The idea of doing away with helmets to reduce the incidence of concussion is, at best, ill-informed and at worst would be lethal.

Doesn't it stand to reason that a larger helmet, or some shock absorbing protrusion on the exterior of existing helmets, would mitigate acceleration/deceleration forces by absorbing a portion of the impact that causes them?

No. Mostly because those interventions still wouldn't solve the problem of speed that the brain is traveling as it crashes into the skull on impact of a quick deceleration force.

Maybe not solve, but it should act as a mitigator in much the same way that an airbag mitigates the damage done to a body impacting a steering column.

Mechanism for airbag is twofold as it relates to brain injury: (1) it causes slower deceleration forces versus what it might be if you hit your head against something fixed, like a steering wheel or windshield and (2) it reduces neck torque, which also helps reduce the rate of deceleration.

But, the amount of real estate you have to work with when thinking of an airbag example is a matter of inches to feet difference, whereas proposed shock absorption for helmets are on the order of centimeters and unlikely to make much of a clinical difference. Research on "safer" helmets has been unimpressive thus far, likely due to factors mentioned above and in other posts. In fact, some argue pretty convincingly at helmets contribute to greater rates of concussion. But, when given the choice of concussion versus skull fracture/bleed/death (which was all too common in the era of football predating the use of helmets), there really is no choice. Helmets are essential. Just don't get your hopes up that a design will be produced to reduce concussions. Doesn't work that way.

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At what point do they just simply redesign the helmets and pads to have a softer exterior to absorb the shock and have a less weaponizing effect?

It seems like a 5 years old could solve this problem

Some might remember Mark Kelso from the 80s/90s and his oversized helmet. It looked strange and he was teased about it (like being called Gazoo from the Flintstones). But apparently it helped him and his concussions.

Actually, it didn't. That's not how concussions work. In brief, sudden acceleration/deceleration forces inside the cranium cause concussions. Helmets, both big and small, do nothing to mitigate this mechanism. They do, however, reduce the incidence of skull fractures, which is kind of nice. The idea of doing away with helmets to reduce the incidence of concussion is, at best, ill-informed and at worst would be lethal.

Doesn't it stand to reason that a larger helmet, or some shock absorbing protrusion on the exterior of existing helmets, would mitigate acceleration/deceleration forces by absorbing a portion of the impact that causes them?

No. Mostly because those interventions still wouldn't solve the problem of speed that the brain is traveling as it crashes into the skull on impact of a quick deceleration force.

Maybe not solve, but it should act as a mitigator in much the same way that an airbag mitigates the damage done to a body impacting a steering column.

Mechanism for airbag is twofold as it relates to brain injury: (1) it causes slower deceleration forces versus what it might be if you hit your head against something fixed, like a steering wheel or windshield and (2) it reduces neck torque, which also helps reduce the rate of deceleration.

But, the amount of real estate you have to work with when thinking of an airbag example is a matter of inches to feet difference, whereas proposed shock absorption for helmets are on the order of centimeters and unlikely to make much of a clinical difference. Research on "safer" helmets has been unimpressive thus far, likely due to factors mentioned above and in other posts. In fact, some argue pretty convincingly at helmets contribute to greater rates of concussion. But, when given the choice of concussion versus skull fracture/bleed/death (which was all too common in the era of football predating the use of helmets), there really is no choice. Helmets are essential. Just don't get your hopes up that a design will be produced to reduce concussions. Doesn't work that way.

I don't have any actual figures, but it seems as though some of the most severe concussions occur when the back of a players head impacts the turf. Setting aside issues of aesthetics (this would look pretty silly), what if there were a 6-10 inch long shock absorbing protrusion on the back of the helmet? Maybe it's a replaceable accessory that crumples on impact, thereby absorbing a good deal of the impact and reducing the deceleration of the skull relative to the brain?

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If here are people still willing to be boxers for pay, there isn't going to be a drying up of the pipeline for football players anytime soon.

Negative incidents have littered the NFL for 5 straight years with one MAJOR incident after another and the league just keeps on keepin' on.

I was in agreement that football is going down the slipper slope but I am backing off that thought. It's not going anywhere on a mass scale. But, personally, I think I've hit the wall. The product is pitiful. The commercials and nonsense surrounding every play is intolerable. I'm just one guy but there will be one guy less, soon. Maybe it has a shelf life. After many years, it seems (for me) the product has finally been watered down enough to where I see that this is not the sport I grew up watching, was so passionate about, etc.

What the NFL is today is an attention seeking pinball machine begging us to plop our time and quarters (thousands and thousands of quarters) into.

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At what point do they just simply redesign the helmets and pads to have a softer exterior to absorb the shock and have a less weaponizing effect?

It seems like a 5 years old could solve this problem

Some might remember Mark Kelso from the 80s/90s and his oversized helmet. It looked strange and he was teased about it (like being called Gazoo from the Flintstones). But apparently it helped him and his concussions.

Actually, it didn't. That's not how concussions work. In brief, sudden acceleration/deceleration forces inside the cranium cause concussions. Helmets, both big and small, do nothing to mitigate this mechanism. They do, however, reduce the incidence of skull fractures, which is kind of nice. The idea of doing away with helmets to reduce the incidence of concussion is, at best, ill-informed and at worst would be lethal.

Doesn't it stand to reason that a larger helmet, or some shock absorbing protrusion on the exterior of existing helmets, would mitigate acceleration/deceleration forces by absorbing a portion of the impact that causes them?

No. Mostly because those interventions still wouldn't solve the problem of speed that the brain is traveling as it crashes into the skull on impact of a quick deceleration force.

Maybe not solve, but it should act as a mitigator in much the same way that an airbag mitigates the damage done to a body impacting a steering column.

Mechanism for airbag is twofold as it relates to brain injury: (1) it causes slower deceleration forces versus what it might be if you hit your head against something fixed, like a steering wheel or windshield and (2) it reduces neck torque, which also helps reduce the rate of deceleration.

But, the amount of real estate you have to work with when thinking of an airbag example is a matter of inches to feet difference, whereas proposed shock absorption for helmets are on the order of centimeters and unlikely to make much of a clinical difference. Research on "safer" helmets has been unimpressive thus far, likely due to factors mentioned above and in other posts. In fact, some argue pretty convincingly at helmets contribute to greater rates of concussion. But, when given the choice of concussion versus skull fracture/bleed/death (which was all too common in the era of football predating the use of helmets), there really is no choice. Helmets are essential. Just don't get your hopes up that a design will be produced to reduce concussions. Doesn't work that way.

I don't have any actual figures, but it seems as though some of the most severe concussions occur when the back of a players head impacts the turf. Setting aside issues of aesthetics (this would look pretty silly), what if there were a 6-10 inch long shock absorbing protrusion on the back of the helmet? Maybe it's a replaceable accessory that crumples on impact, thereby absorbing a good deal of the impact and reducing the deceleration of the skull relative to the brain?

Hehe. That would look pretty funny. It's certainly true that if you can increase the distance of deceleration, it's probably going to help. I just don't know if there's going to be much incremental value of larger helmets, especially when that might cause other problems (e.g., increased weight, which might decrease neck strength to withstand whiplash effects).

There's really not consistent data on this, both in terms of incidence and "severity" (which can mean several different things). In football, from what I have seen in the epidemiological literature, most documented concussions arise from frontal impact, though...that's likely due in part to the nature of the game and more opportunities to hit that region. But, speed/g-forces, the brain "rebounding" (contracoup injury), and especially rotational forces...these are all strongly linked to the incidence of concussions. Interestingly, as hinted at above, I've seen presentations at conferences discuss how neck strength and anticipation of a hit (because it activates the neck/shoulder muscles) are really important in mitigating some of the physics around how concussions come about.

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