Army researchers developing football helmet to lessen head injuries

ABC2 News
January 8, 2015

ABERDEEN, Md. – A U.S Army research team is one of seven groups nationally that was awarded grant money by the NFL, Under Armor and General Electric to study and develop ways of preventing brain trauma from sports and the battlefield.

Emergency room visits for concussions have reached epidemic levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of visits doubled for kids 8 to 13 and rose about 200 percent for teens 14-18 in recent years.

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Ex-Cowboy Jethro Pugh dead at 70

Associated Press
January 8, 2015

IRVING, Texas — Jethro Pugh played alongside Hall of Famers Bob Lilly and Randy White in a long career as a defensive tackle for the Dallas Cowboys, which may explain why he was among the most unsung Super Bowl winners in the franchise’s storied history.

Pugh, who played in the first four Super Bowls for Dallas and was part of a “Doomsday Defense” that won two of them, died Wednesday. He was 70.

Jethro Pugh

Manny Rubio/USA TODAY SportsJethro Pugh, who died Wednesday, played in Dallas’ first four Super Bowls and was part of a “Doomsday Defense” that won two of them.

The team said Pugh died of natural causes four days before the Cowboys were to play their first postseason game in Green Bay since the famous Ice Bowl in 1967. Pugh was blocked on Bart Starr’s quarterback sneak for the game-winning touchdown in Dallas’ 21-17 loss in the Ice Bowl that sent the Packers to the second Super Bowl.

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Head First

In the days since the Wild Card playoff game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens last Saturday, the Steelers’ organization has come under criticism for apparently failing to follow the NFL-mandated concussion protocol after QB Ben Roethlisberger and TE Heath Miller each suffered hard hits and left the field. Both Roethlisberger and Miller were permitted to return to the game just minutes after their injuries. Media, fans and former NFL players questioned the Steelers’ actions.

According to the NFL, the league‘s concussion protocol takes between eight and 12 minutes to complete. The Washington Post consulted a doctor who has worked in the NFL and who now serves as medical director for a Major League Baseball team. Noting that Roethlisberger and Miller missed only three and two plays, respectively, the unnamed doctor stated that isn’t enough time to determine whether either suffered a brain injury. However, a Steelers’ spokesperson, quoted in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, indicated that the team’s medical staff had evaluated Roethlisberger and Miller, neither exhibited concussion symptoms and therefore neither went through the concussion protocol.

By contrast, the Dcowboys-rolando-mcclain-concussionallas Cowboys took a more cautious approach when LB Rolando McClain suffered a hard hit during the Cowboys’ playoff game against the Detroit Lions on Sunday. McClain left the game early in the second quarter and did not return. According to The Dallas Morning News, McClain is experiencing concussion-like symptoms and will have to pass concussion protocol tests before being allowed to play against the Green Bay Packers this weekend.

A recent study conducted by the Analysis Research and Planning Corporation determined that approximately 14 percent of all former players will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and another 14 percent will develop moderate dementia. In fact, the study contends that former players are twice as likely as the general population to suffer from early-onset Alzheimer’s, ALS, Parkinson’s or dementia.

A protocol is only as effective as its adherence and enforcement. We urge NFL teams to put player safety first – and we urge NFL players to put their health first. The Analysis Research and Planning Corporation study and others, as well as research conducted by Boston University, NIH and other medical institutions reinforce the dangers – and the ramifications – of concussion and head trauma. Those of us who have seen the suffering, who have witnessed the decline, who have supported afflicted husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons know far too well that no game, no victory, no championship is worth risking one’s health…one’s future… one’s brain.

Head first.

Bruce Laird
President, Fourth & Goal
Baltimore Colts, 1972-1981
San Diego Chargers, 1982-1983

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On ’60 Minutes Sports,’ Junior Seau’s family tells why it’s fighting NFL

Yahoo Sports
January 4, 2015
by Dan WetzelAFC Championship: San Diego Chargers v New England Patriots

Even as far back in the early 1990s, during the initial years of Junior Seau’s brilliant two-decade NFL career, the linebacker would complain to his then wife Gina of searing headaches.

“When he would come home from games, he would go straight to the room,” Gina told Showtime’s “60 Minutes Sports” in an episode that airs this week. “[He’d] lower the blinds, the blackout blinds, and just say, ‘Quiet, my head is, is burning.'”

After Seau retired in 2010, his children slowly watched their dad’s famously charismatic personality grow distant. He began slipping away from them. The post-NFL life they all envisioned became a nightmare.

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Cardinals still close to heart of the oldest Pro Football Hall of Fame player

Sporting News
by David Steele
January 1, 2015

As of right now, the oldest living player in the Pro Football Hall of Fame has no plans to attend the Super Bowl in Arizona, the home of the team to whom he helped bring its last NFL championship 67 years ago.

“No, unless I’m invited,” Charley Trippi joked, adding, “You tell them I’m available, all right?”

Trippi just recently turned 93; NFL Films founder Ed Sabol, 97, is the Hall’s oldest non-player member. Trippi rarely travels far from his Athens, Ga., home these days. But he stays close to the Arizona Cardinals, the franchise that picked him first overall in the 1945 NFL draft (he’s also the oldest former No. 1 pick) when it was based in Chicago.

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Fuzzy Thurston, legendary Packers guard, dead at 80

Thurston played on five of the Packers’ record 13 National Football League championship teams from 1959 through 1967

Fred “Fuzzy” Thurston, one of the pulling guards for the Lombardi Sweep in the 1960s, died today. Thurston, 80, died after several years of dealing with health issues.

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Chris Kluwe: Ray Rice Needs Rehabilitation, Not Retribution

Dec. 7, 2014
by Chris Kluwe

To say he should never play again no matter what amends he tries to make means that we care more about salving our own indignant rage than about truly fixing problems

…I find this an interesting example of a question I’ve frequently asked myself about American culture: Are we, as a nation, focused on rehabilitation—on changing mistakes? Or is our primary concern retribution, the righteous vengeance of the wronged—on punishing mistakes?

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