By Stephanie Watson, Elad I Levy
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Extra info for Brain Injuries in Football
In the 1950s, an NFL lineman might have weighed 230 pounds (104 kg). By the 2000s, an average lineman could tip the scales at nearly 350 pounds (159 kg). 10 More weight equals more force during a hit. B R A I N I N J U RI ES I N FO OT BA L L • 31 Players were also getting faster, which increased the energy behind each hit. 12 Of course, a 350-pound (159 kg) player could create even more force. The potential for injury grew as the players themselves grew. Football players were not only getting bigger.
Bigger Players, Bigger Hits SEASON OF THE CONCUSSION Football has always been an aggressive game. ”11 The injuries occurred all season long, but October 25 was a particularly rough Sunday. Three quarterbacks—Troy Aikman of the Dallas Cowboys, Chris Miller of the Los Angeles Rams, and Vinny Testaverde of the Cleveland Browns—were knocked unconscious. Aikman, who suffered a concussion the previous season, returned for only a few plays. The team doctor asked him the day, the month, and the year. Aikman could only answer it was Sunday.
Then the debate began. On one side were neurologists such as Bailes, Cantu, and Guskiewicz and neuropsychologist Barr. They were known to openly disagree with the NFL’s research. Barr attacked the NFL’s MTBI research. He claimed the league ignored 62 • ES SEN T I A L IS SU ES important data that showed football players were at risk for concussions and CTE. To show what evidence the MTBI research seemed to be overlooking, Bailes presented slides of football players’ brains filled with dark splotches of tau protein.