People are not disposable
I can’t imagine a more horrific experience than watch a person you love change into a pain-ridden shadow of their former self. The deterioration of a brain affects the person and all those who love them. It is a person’s worst nightmare and it’s happening every day and all over the world. All the families who are left with their memories of bright, funny, endearing children want to stop this destructive disease from hurting anyone else. Yes. That’s it. Our family suffered – yours doesn’t have to.
People are not expendable
If the source of the disease is the aftereffects of playing one or more contact sports, it is entirely preventable. No person needs to suffer from CTE: Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. No person needs to subject themselves to multiple sub-concussive head hits on a regular basis.
Entertainment sports rituals endanger only the players
Sports that cause brain damage are a multi-trillion-dollar industry — not to the players. The big money goes to the owners, promoters, media, advertisers, vendors, betting syndicates, and gaming – none of whom risk brain damage. The players, despite their huge reported salaries, must renegotiate every year which mitigates the initial contract’s value. By then, they are often slaves to the loans they take out based on their NFL promise. Players become, in effect, indentured servants.
Profession or amateur, the brain suffers
As more and more attention is focused on CTE and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), the science is expanding. Doctors and researchers without affiliations to sports franchises have made studies of actual athletes’ brains and done the research to verify the numbers.
If you play a contact sport, the unavoidable multiple sub-concussive hits per season average 211 to 240 for players 14 and under. As they get older and play High School, College, and Pro games, the hits may decrease but the impacts are stronger and harder.
CTE onset and other conditions associated with head trauma
According to an NIH Study of former players,
- young-age onset [of CTE symptoms] with initial behavior/mood perturbations that manifests at around age 35. These include impulsivity, aggressiveness, violent tendencies, and progression to deficits in cognition.
- Late-age onset [of CTE symptoms] with cognitive deterioration, which presents around age 60. This subset is characterized by deficits in executive function and attention memory. This phenotype typically displays features of advanced CTE. Individuals may also manifest symptoms via alterations in behavior and mood.
Previous work has also shown CTE to synergistically exist with other neurological disorders, such as Lewy Body Dementia (LBD), motor neuron diseases such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and AD.
What is a parent to do when it’s sports sign-up time?
“Mom, Dad, here’s the permission slip to play my absolute favorite contact sport.”
“Son, when’s the meeting with the coach?”
“You don’t have to go. I’m playing.”
“We want to ask about brain injury protections.”
“The coach said I’m good enough to make first team.”
“We don’t think it’s a good idea. It’s time to pick another sport.”
“Mom, Dad, I love the game. I’m good at it. I’m playing.”
“Kid, take your helmet off and listen to us. That helmet won’t save your brain.”
“NO. I love my helmet.”
“You’ve got your whole life ahead of you.”
“I have to play now. I’m a star. I never get hurt. I’ll never get hurt. I’m playing. I’m playing. I’m playing.”
“Get up off the floor.”
“If you don’t let me play, I’m going to hold my breath until I die, and it’ll be all your fault.”
Before you say this: “Okay. Okay. You can play.”
Know this: Based on another NIH study of New Zealand High Schools: 117 coaches and 226 players from netball, football and basketball participated. The majority of coaches surveyed (n = 82, 70%) reported having a coaching qualification and 72 (62%) had completed a sport-related first aid/injury prevention programme. Overall, 196 players (87%) reported hiding an injury to continue playing, and 102 coaches (87%) and 205 players (91%) had witnessed injured players play on. Approximately 50% of players and coaches had seen players put under pressure to play when injured. A lack of knowledge, the desire to win, and not letting the team down were key reasons given for the behaviour reported.
In other words, it is not clear that your child will be able to avoid repetitive head hits, be aware that they are giving or receiving repetitive head hits, or admit to any problems during or immediately after the game — whether you’re there to watch and monitor or not — or whether the coaches promise to watch and pull any player in jeopardy.
Warning signs mean danger, danger, danger
We have put out the word the smoking and drugs are bad. Smoking warnings are on every pack of cigarettes, media advertisements are a thing of the past, and public spaces are smoke-free. Smoking kills.
For drugs, we say, “Just say no.” Addiction addles your brain, removes your drive, and renders you incapable to carry out the simplest of tasks. Drugs kill.
“Friends don’t let friends drive drunk.” Drunk driving can kill the driver as well as innocents in cars or along the side of the road. The message is, if you care about someone, don’t let them hurt themselves.
To save lives, “Buckle Up. The life you save may be your own.”
Now is the time to protect your child’s brain and keep it healthy. #EndCTE. Choose a safe game and save your child’s brain.
NOTE: To any family whose child has played a contact sport and suffers an untimely death, please donate their brain. Contact: Debby Pyka at FACES of CTE. This is a non-profit organization run by mothers who have lost their children to CTE and support a growing database of science through their #SaveYourBrain program. Call: Freephone: +1 800 891 1342E-mail: [email protected] Talk to Debbie and she will arrange everything for you.
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