From what I have read and heard, the NFL playoffs have been quite the little Entertainment this year, what with the high scoring and down to the wire finishes. And now some sort of sibling rivalry theme awaits in the Super Bowl, apparently. Since my very public declaration a few weeks ago that I was quitting football cold turkey, I have not watched a single game. So far, it hasn't been too terribly challenging. The true test of my principles will come next year when Urban Meyer is BCS-eligible and Chud has the Browns steaming toward an AFC North title.....
Anyway, more CTE data keeps rolling in. The latest is from a group at UCLA who are attempting to formulate a protocol for diagnosing CTE in living individuals. Until now, the only way to identify the pathognomonic tau proteins of CTE was during an autopsy. In a very small study (5 ex-NFL players vs. a control group) the researchers used images from PET scans to identify increased uptake consistent with tau protein deposition in the brains of the former players compared with the control group.
Obviously more research is warranted but the implications are harrowing. This could be the game changer that completely marginalizes organized football as we now know it. What if we get a study that demonstrates steady accumulation of tau protein over time, at age 15, 20, 30, 45, etc? What if another paper proves that a boy who plays football from age 8 until senior year of high school increases his risk of developing some element of CTE by, say, 26% compared with boys who never played? How many parents would be willing to take that chance?
The game is slowly becoming an anachronism. Again, goodbye to all that. Watch the EPL instead.
Update: Junior Seau's family is suing the NFL.