The NFL has been a two-fer these last two years, spreading brain injury among a small populace and infectious disease among its fans. And just like the CTE and other injuries it causes, the pro owners won’t be culpable for disease spread in the stands.
The average life expectancy of NFL players is only 59.6 years according to an item on Science.org, but that is counting the deaths of all players. I suspect the life expectancy of players by era to be longer for pre-1970 players (and inverse to their average body weight per era), shorter for those who came later. I should track that sometime, the NFL prints an annual list of ex-players and coaches who have died.
The NFL’s list of deaths in 2021 is large, over 170. The most telling part is ex-players who were born in 1962 or later and died during 2021, those less than average. The players whose names are in bold either died from CTE, had CTE-related and post concussion issues, or mental health issues (which could be CTE related). News articles are given for all but one death.
Noticeably, Philip Adams (who murdered six people) is not listed amongst the 2021 dead listed on the NFL’s page. He died in April 2021, before many of those listed. This is not an end of year omission, it looks intentional.
And, of course, football deaths aren’t limited to the NFL. There are many ex-college and ex-high school players as well. However, Tate Myre absolutely should not be counted among them; he was killed while trying to disarm a school shooter and protect other students.
Elijah Chapman, a member of the Class of 2021, died, according to a tweet from the account.
Chapman is the third current or former Dutch Fork player to die in the past six months. Chapman was running back/linebacker on the Silver Foxes 2020 state championship team.
There are several more items linked below the fold.
Drake Geiger (age 16) collapsed during practice back in August.
The autopsy report just came back and it shows the heat was the primary factor in his death, but not the only one.
Chino Yelum Cajetan Nsofor, 13, died from cardiac dysrhythmia, or an irregular heartbeat, following physical exertion, the coroner said.
He also was reported to have “rhinovirus/enterovirus, cardiomegaly, and genetic variant of uncertain significance.”
According to a coroner report, Nsofor participated in 10 minutes of warm-up exercises before telling the coach, “Coach, I can’t do it,” on June 28 at Legacy High School.
He then sat down in the shade to rest and told his sister he could not breathe. He then collapsed, and 911 was called.
While rhinovirus was detected at the time of his death, COVID-19 was not. The report noted Nsofor’s cousin had died at age 16 while playing basketball in Atlanta two years prior.
His death was ruled natural.
A source close to the program tells WIS the student-athlete fell ill at home and died at a local hospital.
The team has been in COVID-19 protocols for the last two weeks. Monday marks their first practice since being placed in quarantine.
Tyler Christman, a 14-year-old JV football player at Carthage High School in Carthage, New York, died on Tuesday after suffering a severe head injury and collapsing during a weekend football game against West Genesee High School.
No details have been revealed about the exact nature of the head injury, but his family confirmed on social media that Tyler was hurt during a game.
According to Syracuse.com, surgery revealed “extensive brain damage.” A family member told CNY Central that Tyler was bleeding in the frontal cortex of his brain, causing massive swelling.
Some articles advocate young men seriously reconsider “football”, to play other sports or not at all.
It’s no secret that football is a dangerous sport. Grown, 250+ pound men running into each other at top speed is not what comes to mind when defining safety.
But for many players, the injury was worth the risk. They were willing to break their arm because they knew it would heal eventually. They knew that a torn ACL was serious, but not something that couldn’t be fixed. But newer research reveals the serious threat of long-term brain injuries, and more and more football players are starting to reconsider their career path.
It seems intuitive. How could kids banging their heads into each other as hard as possible be safe? Yet, it wasn’t until 2016 when the NFL recognized a connection between Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and playing professional football. This led to many great NFL players retiring because of the risk of severe head trauma. Players like Chris Borland and Joshua Perry chose a life with their families and better long-term brain health over a long NFL career because of repeated concussions. Many other current players continue to weigh the costs and benefits of playing football. For some players, making millions and risking a shorter life is worth a life without football. However, many players do not think the consequences of CTE — such as depression or suicidal thoughts — are worth it.
A new Public Service Announcement (PSA) calls for children under the age of 14, to avoid playing tackle football. The warning says tackling increases the chances of developing a serious brain disease called CTE.
So is this true?
Our VERIFY team went to the experts to find out.
Are youth football players more at risk for developing CTE?
Yes, this claim is true. Because a child’s brain is still developing, they do have a higher risk of developing CTE. A study found tackle football players are 15 times more likely to suffer head injuries as well.
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A study by the Journal of the American Medical Association found 21-percent of high school football players had CTE.
And it’s not just limited to professional football. Players in other sports who suffer repeated hits can suffer long term brain injuries.
Leo Perez was a multi-sport athlete.
He ran track. He wrestled. And he played football from grade school through college. When he was young, his coaches taught him the art of “spearheading,” leading with your skull while tackling and hitting as hard as you can, Perez recalled.
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In a rink in her hockey gear, Katie Weatherston describes herself as “a tiny player.” At just five feet two inches, she was one of the smallest members of the Canadian women’s national ice hockey team.
“But I was probably one of the fiercest,” she said. “I had that bull-in-a-china-shop mentality. You wouldn’t want to get in my way … I was fearless.”
[. . .]
In high school, his nickname was “Touchdown Tommy.”
Tommy Edwards, 47, earned that moniker due to his prowess on the football field. He was a star player at Radford High School in Radford, Va., and later at Virginia Tech and Boise State University. He describes himself as having been a “vicious” player.
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Beginning in high school, Shannon Mocca’s health began to decline. Confusion. Dizziness. Headaches. Blurry vision. Slurred speech. Sleeping and memory problems. Aggression. Anxiety. Paranoia. Eventually, suicidal thinking and drug dependence. [. . .] That made sense, Mocca said, because he played football in the 1970s and ’80s — from a young child through high school — and his style of play was brutal. “I used my head as a weapon,” he said.
“The glamorization of football and war lends to misguided metaphors,” wrote sports reporter Jason Shoot in the Spokane, Washington, Spokesman-Review. “Coaches are compared to generals and field marshals. Players are likened to hardened, battle-tested soldiers advancing through hostile territory. Dale Martin’s untimely death revealed a softer truth. Sometimes football coaches are just modest men with big hearts that break, and players too easily lauded as young men are merely boys, teenagers asked to make sense of a world that increasingly does not.”
Dale Martin was 18 years old when he died from a brain injury sustained during a high school football game in early April. The Colville High School senior was “the kind of kid who would always hold the door for you,” said his coach.
Five months later, Tyler Christman, a 14-year-old freshman at Carthage High School in New York, also died of a head injury sustained during a football game. The opposing coach told People magazine that “it was just a regular JV football game … nobody should feel at fault.” The story ran beneath a photo of Christman wearing a hoodie, with a backpack and a big smile full of braces.
The following month, 17-year-old Elijah Gorham died after a hard landing while attempting an end zone catch for his team from Mergenthaler Vocational Technical High School in Maryland; he remained on the ground for 45 minutes before being taken to a hospital by ambulance.
[. . .]
During a “regular football play” on Sept. 3, Dohn Community High School (Ohio) senior Simeon “Tino” Whittle broke his neck after making a tackle moments after the game began, splitting his spinal cord and paralyzing him. Doctors at the time said some of his injuries can’t be repaired and, as of mid-November, he remained tethered to a breathing machine.
In September, Joseph Justice, quarterback of North Carolina’s East Henderson High School team, experienced one of the “scariest plays of his life,” wrote the Times-News. “I ended up taking a shot to the helmet…causing my neck to bend in an awkward way,” Justice said. Unable to feel his legs or squeeze the trainer’s fingers, he was taken to the hospital by ambulance, where he was diagnosed with severe whiplash.
With less than a minute left in a game, sophomore tight end Mason Vicari, playing for the Christian Brothers High School in Sacramento, California, was knocked unconscious and was down for 20 minutes before he was taken to a hospital by ambulance.
Dr. Ann McKee runs the clinic at Boston University that autopsies brains and diagnoses CTE. And she had been a long time football fan.
Ann McKee, the renowned neuropathologist from Boston University, had studied hundreds of brains belonging to former football players. But this one was different.
McKee grew up in Appleton, Wis., cheering on Vince Lombardi’s great Green Bay Packers teams of the 1960s. As a young girl, she looked up to Willie Wood, the gregarious, hard-hitting defensive back. And years later, she met the Pro Football Hall of Famer when they appeared before a congressional committee to discuss football safety.
After Wood’s death in February 2020, his brain ended up on McKee’s table, another three-pound puzzle that could help explain the relationship between a bruising sport and cognitive decline.
McKee observed what she says are “all the classic signs” of severe chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, the degenerative brain disease associated with the repeated blows to the head common in football and boxing. There were lesions, an accumulation of tau protein around blood vessels and in crevices, and a brain that was 20 percent smaller than it should have been, McKee said.
She recently informed the family that Wood suffered from Stage 4 CTE, the most severe form of the disease.
“His brain fit all the criteria,” she said.
For Wood’s family, the postmortem diagnosis amounts to a clinical confirmation of what they had experienced for nearly 15 years, as dementia slowly claimed the football great’s memories, his ability to recognize loved ones and his communication skills.
“It is very tragic to sit there and watch it happen, a loved one just becoming a shell of themselves,” son Willie Wood Jr. said. “He was so electric in terms of his charisma and personality. My father was an alpha, and every time he walked into the room, you knew he was there. And that’s not how he left.”
That damned game is a meat grinder that chews up and spits out broken humans with no accountability.