Re: Tough But Fair

1

On the second link, I'm unclear on what I'm supposed to be comparing 76 out of 79 to. Why were the 79 selected for testing.

Researchers there have now examined the brain tissue of 128 football players who, before their deaths, played the game professionally, semi-professionally, in college or in high school. Of that sample, 101 players, or just under 80 percent, tested positive for CTE.

Again, I'm not clear how broad a sample (or how high an incidence) that is compared to the general population. Don't quite a lot of people play football in high school? What proportion of the 128 played "real" football?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 2:12 AM
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Hail to the conquering heroes!
Hail to the victors valiant!
Hail, hail, to Michigan
The leaders of the West!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 3:29 AM
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This NFL stuff creates such an ethical quandary for me. Thank goodness it's all coming out in a year the Patriots suck.

I was chatting with a taxi driver in Tampa recently about the NFL (the Logan Mankins trade: a deal where fans of both teams think they got screwed!), and it illustrated really clearly how a dedicated fan could find rationalizations for why the League is blameless and brain injuries are nothing to worry about. Presumably he was regurgitating what's being discussed on talk radio. It made me pessimistic that there will ever be any real pressure from the fan base. </thomasfriedman>


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 4:38 AM
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The Michigan thing is pretty awful. The boyfriend had turned off the game long before then. This is the same coach who played a rapist (or lied to explain his absence) and didn't bench a guy who threatened the victim. For a school that prides itself on character (to the point of being totally ridiculous), things have been rotten for a while now. I'm surprised this incident caught the eye of the press. So, congrats, UM, you're no better than every other greedy exploitive athletic program.

I suspect CTE in the NFL is just the beginning. The data look pretty unambiguous, with very low numbers of head injuries showing a clear increase in risk, with a "dose-proportional" increase. I bet the NHL is trying its best to avoid data collection about now. Is boxing organized so it can't be sued?


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 4:51 AM
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I assume they mean played tackle football on their high school football team. It's not really a game people play in a non-organized fashion. (People will play "touch" football, where you tag somebody rather than actually tackle them.)


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 5:00 AM
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Is boxing organized so it can't be sued?

Considering that it used to be called dementia pugilistica, I'm not sure the boxers would get very far.

compared to the general population

That would be nice to know, but it's still experimental and very expensive to test pre-mortem, and there's very little reason to do so in the general population, but I don't think anyone thinks the incidence is nearly as high as they're finding in ex-athletes. From a neuropathologist in the article.

"Obviously this high percentage of living individuals is not suffering from CTE,"


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 5:13 AM
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You'd just recruit some healthy controls for a small study. You don't really know otherwise.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 5:17 AM
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Healthy, except for being dead, controls.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 5:19 AM
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That would be nice to know, but it's still experimental and very expensive to test pre-mortem, and there's very little reason to do so in the general population, but I don't think anyone thinks the incidence is nearly as high as they're finding in ex-athletes.

I don't doubt the incidence is higher, probably much higher, in football players. But the lack of any numbers for comparison in the article, whether pre- or post- mortem, struck me as odd (and frustrating).


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 5:20 AM
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It wasn't that long ago that everyone was struck by how much higher in incidence was in football players than what everybody thought it was.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 5:26 AM
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I'm sure we'll get studies like that eventually. For now, let's not lose sight of the need for beheadings in college sports.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 5:29 AM
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Beheading causes CTE.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 5:33 AM
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Until the studies are done, I can still feel smug about having been associated with football-intensive universities that aren't having any obvious, recent issues, right?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 5:35 AM
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And, my current university, which looks like it has a shot at going to a bowl game somebody heard of.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 5:38 AM
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Beheading causes CTE.

Acute rather than chronic I'd have thought.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:02 AM
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Once you're beheaded, it doesn't heal.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:03 AM
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13: Ha. I think the argument-ender in that vein for all time is "Well, at least I didn't go to a football intensive school that covered up child molestation."

I like college sports, but yeah, probably beheading is the way to go. Basketball disasters are next in queue, right?


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:04 AM
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Could you change the rules enough that you had a game which resembled football loosely enough that we could keep the Harvard-Yale game but otherwise destroy the sport?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:05 AM
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The Ohio State - Michigan game is the Harvard-Yale game for many more people than those for whom the Harvard-Yale game is the Harvard-Yale game. If that makes sense.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:07 AM
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Michigan prides itself on being the Harvard of the West, enough to put that in the alma mater song, which is just about the lamest most reaching thing you could write.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:10 AM
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3.1 gets it right.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:11 AM
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I wonder if Michigan Tech prides itself on being the MIT of the west.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:13 AM
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19, 20: What.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:16 AM
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22: "Where men are men and the women are, too" is the slogan I hear for Tech when I'm in the Mitten State.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:17 AM
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OT: There's a Taken 3? Hasn't Liam Neeson's character killed everybody in the world yet?*

* N.B.: I take no issue with Liam Neeson killing everybody.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:19 AM
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a game which resembled football loosely enough that we could keep the Harvard-Yale game

The Harvard-Yale game is already a game that closely resembles football.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:21 AM
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25: What about the wolves, Flippy? Did you enjoy his killing those poor wolves?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:21 AM
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Interestingly, it was a Harvard-Yale game that saw the debut of the flying wedge, an innovation so dangerous to defensive players that it led to a wholesale rewrite of the rules of the game.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:28 AM
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If these results bear out, is football dying? Numbers like one-third or more getting a disorder make me think even most football-fan parents would start forbidding their kids from pursuing it.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:29 AM
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That's what I think, although I think it will take many years. I'm already surprised when I see kids playing football--what are those parents thinking?--but it's such a part of the culture in some parts of the US that it'll take a while before it turns into boxing.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:31 AM
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I mean, boxing isn't dead. MMA is doing it's best to make sure it's just as bad as football or boxing. If you take away the ability of poor kids to sacrifice their brains for free for the edification of wealthy people, you take away hope.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:38 AM
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it's such a part of the culture in some parts of the US that it'll take a while before it turns into boxing.

This brings up the depressing prospect of a decades-long transition period during which loyalty to football is a culture war talisman akin to owning guns.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:39 AM
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Posit: CTE and NFL football will become (already is) the next front in the Republican rejection of scientific consensus. This will lead to an even heavier concentration of red state conservatives at all levels of the sport. This will lead to massive increases in the number of former NFL and big-time college players who go into Republican politics, which will mean that national Republicans will grow even more quick-tempered, impulsive, and incoherent than they are now.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:42 AM
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Aren't there already significant numbers of parents who would not let their kids play football? Or still just the liberal pansies (including moi)?

Football is obviously very big here, and down the street I see 6-7 year olds practicing in full pads and helmets all the time.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:42 AM
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This will lead to massive increases in the number of former NFL and big-time college players who go into Republican politics

Added bonus: a much richer recruiting pool for minority candidates as the GOP adapts to the coming demographic challenge. Good God, this is really going to happen, isn't it? The fusion with the national security state is already a done deal.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:49 AM
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36

I'm gearing up for the counter-troll where I tell you all I'm really tired of the "they're really brain-damaged!" jokes.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:52 AM
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37


Coming soon: Rep. Andrew Luck (R-MD). (His father, himself a less prominent football hero, actually ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for Congress.)


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:53 AM
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I'm going to hold on to a thin reed of hope that even Republicans don't want their kids to be brain-damaged. The league can string this out for a long time by making changes to the game and forcing us to wait another five, ten years before we realize that players are still getting CTE.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:55 AM
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I'm going to hold on to a thin reed of hope that even Republicans don't want their kids to be brain-damaged.

Abortion politics hasn't sufficiently demonstrated for you that Republican politicians are perfectly capable of distinguishing between the public policies they endorse and what they want for their own children?


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:59 AM
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39 is right.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 7:01 AM
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Well, someone is going to have to let their kids play football, so maybe you think it will be all minority kids? The league will be a lot less popular if it's 100% "thug."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 7:02 AM
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It'll be poor kids and stubborn macho types.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 7:04 AM
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Given the huge monetary rewards from being a pro football player, I suspect a lot of players might say "I'll just play it until I'm a little stupid." After all, they already have a much higher than normal risk of diabetes and heart attacks (depending on the position) due to bulking up and being unable to de-bulk later, and a high likelihood of lifelong knee and hip problems, and so on.

People are good at denial.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 7:04 AM
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||

I... actually just found five dollars. This is much more meaningful than it would have been two years ago.

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 7:11 AM
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45

I'm really happy for you.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 7:17 AM
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46

But in the meantime the high school and college pipelines could dry up, no? Which would at least significantly change the game, possibly make it less of a moneymaker.

I suppose some compromise like going to touch football would go down even worse than suggesting a wholesale switch to soccer.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 7:26 AM
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I do think it will become ghettoized and less popular, and take on a class-stigma, though.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 7:29 AM
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48

Gerald Ford was ahead of his time.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 7:54 AM
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49

Searching for the LBJ quote led me to this 1970s newspaper article: "Last Man To Play Without A Helmet Has Hole In His Head".

Of course, helmets exacerbate the issue (help with the "acute" issue like in the article, but facilitate the chronic issues--as previously discussed here WRT American footie v. rugby IIRC).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 8:06 AM
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Helmets are a parable for Ezekiel Emanuel.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 8:07 AM
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NEED I EVEN SAY IT?


Posted by: OPINIONATED INTACTIVIST | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 8:25 AM
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46. Soccer has a concussion problem too, due to headers.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 8:31 AM
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I plan on telling my kids not to head any big air ball. A little volley is fine, but otherwise just trap it. There's also the problem of cracking skulls with another player, but what are you going to do, live in a bubble?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 8:37 AM
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In our league, it's against the rules for kids under some age (14?) to head the ball intentionally. This is required by the insurance company.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 8:39 AM
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Putting aside the larger issues about the future of football and just focusing on the University of Michigan -- are U of M fans and alumni so angry at the coach because of the concussion or because the team is so terrible? Would they care if the team was a national contender?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 8:52 AM
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There's really no way to distinguish. They see it as part of a pattern of incompetence and obliviousness to human decency that has existed since the college signed a soulless corporate drone as athletic director.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 8:56 AM
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Who could possibly care about the Harvard-Yale game? Yes, I read comment 18, that's why I'm asking.

Michigan prides itself on being the Harvard of the West

WTF


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 9:04 AM
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57: Alumni of those universities some of whom get a lot of money. I like the idea of having an annual gathering in the fall where Harvard and Yale meet and would love it if it could continue without the sport.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 9:09 AM
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But obviously, nobody else cares.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 9:10 AM
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57: Back in my day, a popular t-shirt around campus read "Harvard -- Michigan of the East".

That formulation at least has the virtue of being more geographically correct.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 9:41 AM
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57.2: From Wikipedia:

The university became a favored choice for bright Jewish students from New York in the 1920s and 1930s when the Ivy League schools had quotas restricting the number of Jews to be admitted.As a result, U-M gained the nickname "Harvard of the West," which became commonly parodied in reverse after John F. Kennedy referred to himself as "a graduate of the Michigan of the East, Harvard University" in his speech proposing the formation of the Peace Corps while on the front steps of the Michigan Union.


Not seeing it in the Alma Mater, however. There is a line "Champions of the West" which I wonder if h-g got theimpression was "Harvard of the West."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 9:41 AM
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60: The East-West dividing line has traditionally been that great river, the Hudson.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 9:44 AM
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They're mad because it's a string of bad coaching decisions. I think they'd be mad but not calling for immediate termination if the team was better. I think part of their fan ethos is sort of holding themselves to a high moral standard. Now, that's simply a little nuts, but I think they feel like this is a righteous crusade against those doing harm to Bo's legacy.

61.last is right, although I'm unable to remember the stupid words and fist pumps and whatnot so I stand out when I go to football games there.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 9:47 AM
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63 - Not a Michigan alumnus, but I assume this reaction has been compounded by the transition to much higher ticket prices (and reduced subsidized seating for current students) over the last couple of years. When you're not going to a game every Saturday, partially because you're being gouged and partially because the team stinks, it might be easier to recognize that holy shit the coach is a menace.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 9:50 AM
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The university became a favored choice for bright Jewish students from New York in the 1920s and 1930s when the Ivy League schools had quotas restricting the number of Jews to be admitted.

This would make it more the CUNY of the West.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 9:57 AM
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Relatedly, "the Harvard of X" thing gets around:

CUNY wiki:

Many Jewish academics and intellectuals studied and taught at CUNY in the post-World War I era when some Ivy League universities, such as Yale University, discriminated against Jews.[8] The City College of New York has had a reputation of being "the Harvard of the proletariat."[9]


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 10:02 AM
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but it's such a part of the culture in some parts of the US that it'll take a while before it turns into boxing

Like I said.

In our league, it's against the rules for kids under some age (14?) to head the ball intentionally

Similarly, in Little League baseball, the head-first slide is prohibited and will get you called out.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 10:02 AM
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62: Well, the Big 10 was originally the Western Conference and all that.

Michigan booted from the conference in 1906 and did not rejoin for nearly a decade. Objected to rules limiting players to three years and number of football games topped at 5.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 10:04 AM
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64: Yes, there are quite a few details that are pissing off the fans. Ticket prices, student seating, no longer being able to carry in water, luxury boxes, heightened security, music on the sound system (as opposed to the band), falling attendance, and stupid publicity stuff, but that's more on the AD (who they're protesting as well). As far as the coach, they're mad about losing, concussions, not wearing a headset, the fact that their vaunted 5-star recruits don't get much better under his regime, clock mismanagement, protecting players who are committing crimes, and probably a few other things.

I didn't go there, but everyone I know who did (except heebie) seems to have gotten the same brainwashing about how the school is something truly extraordinary. It's hard for me to follow, but it is an undeniable Thing about the students and alumni.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 10:13 AM
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http://www.answers.com/topic/university-of-montana


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 10:13 AM
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69 - When you consider that the current athletic director is a dude whose chief achievement not at Michigan was slicing costs so deeply at Domino's that his successor was forced to apologize for selling unpalatable food, it all makes sense.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 10:25 AM
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I didn't go there, but everyone I know who did (except heebie) seems to have gotten the same brainwashing about how the school is something truly extraordinary

peep also attended and did not partake of the kool-aid.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 10:39 AM
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I read AD in 69 as Artistic Director, but on brief reflection that is not likely to be correct. On further reflection it would probably be more honest. Perhaps the way forward is to play act all the violence the fans seem so thirsty for?


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 11:20 AM
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60: I believe there are similar novelty items with the slogan "MIT: the Georgia Tech of the north"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 11:40 AM
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74: Was "The Redneck's Perdue" already trademarked or something?


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 11:43 AM
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My sister went to U of M for one semester of grad school. She decided that it was Not Fun compared to her undergrad at UCSB, where she could supplement with surfing and Ultimate, and moved back to California.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 12:30 PM
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I didn't know that Ultimate was something different from frisbee golf, but apparently we had back-to-back men's championships in it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 12:33 PM
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I think Perdue is the Redneck's Perdue.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 12:45 PM
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I didn't know that Ultimate was something different from frisbee golf

Oh no! You killed Megan!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 12:47 PM
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That's a foul, dude.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 12:48 PM
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I couldn't figure out who would call a sport "Ultimate" except stoners and I thought anything more than frisbee golf was too energetic.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 12:49 PM
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You're right about the stoners being involved but no, Ultimate is nearly as aerobically intense as, I dunno, soccer.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 12:50 PM
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Eh. It has been several years since I played. I am more slain by Crossfit practices these days.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 12:51 PM
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I no longer see the point of marijuana. Not that anybody will sell me any. I look too old and cop-like.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 12:56 PM
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I'm sure somebody would sell me some, but it's not like I could just walk up and ask the students for some.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 12:56 PM
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I'd had to find a drug-dealer drug dealer instead of just an art major or something.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 12:59 PM
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||
Why Pepys is a good candidate for blog mascot.

To my study to set matters and papers in order, which, though I can hardly bring myself to do, yet do please me much when it is done.
|>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 1:09 PM
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14: And, my current university, which looks like it has a shot at going to a bowl game somebody heard of.

Dude. They just lost to Akron, a mediocre team from a bad conference. Epistemic sports closure in Pittsburgh's East End?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:10 PM
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Oops.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:15 PM
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90

Speaking of Pittsburgh sports.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:16 PM
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87 is good.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:17 PM
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Som Pittsburgh folks, I am tentatively scheduled to drive there, do some work, and return to DC on the same day. Doable, or will I hate my life? I've made the drive one way, and it was OK. Is traffic leaving in the evening miserable?


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:22 PM
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-m


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:23 PM
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88: I forgot to pay attention this past weekend.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:26 PM
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92: Both? Yes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:27 PM
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Assuming you are in Pittsburgh proper, the best way out toward D.C. is 376. They put a tunnel there and it is only two lanes because that keeps the price of houses in my neighborhood up by making people who live outside of the city have a miserable drive it is really old. I've heard it isn't bad by D.C. standards, but it annoys me greatly.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:30 PM
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96: At Moby U. Thanks for the advice.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:34 PM
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Let me know if you want to have lunch or something. I'm gmail with my pseud.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:36 PM
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Rush hour traffic through that tunnel is insufferable and it's faster to go around it if you're okay with spending more time on city streets. But there's some construction happening in our neighborhood that might make that a wash at rush hour. (If you are: take boulevard of the allies, beacon, shady, forward/commercial, church, braddock, back onto 378. Construction might require routing around beacon.) after the tunnels, 378 still has heavy traffic but it usually moves quickly.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:41 PM
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Thanks, but I suspect I'm going to be incredibly busy. I'll be back for longer week after next and will (fingers crossed) have a less stupid schedule. I'll have a better idea next week.

99: Thank you.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:46 PM
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He means 376, not 378.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:51 PM
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101: Shit, yes. Common thinko for me.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 6:53 PM
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Anyway, that sounds like it will be a long day, but it isn't that bad if you get to rest the next day.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 7:03 PM
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I was hoping dalriata meant 376. Sounds like I haven't made a big mistake not booking a hotel. That's encouraging. Thanks again.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 7:26 PM
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104: Yeah, there was a road called 378 in my hometown and I always confuse them. This has been going on for over a decade. Annoying.

And since you've driven it before you already know but Breezewood, PA is just awful.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10- 1-14 7:54 PM
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I only played through high school, but I started young and hit with my head a fair amount, and I sometimes wonder whether that has affected my decision-making. I don't want my son to play.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 10- 2-14 9:39 AM
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