Day 5 TBI Challenge for CHANGE for Vets
5th Mar 2011 | Posted in: PTSD 0

Remember!!  The 31 Day TBI Challenge for CHANGE during March, Brain Injury Awareness Month, consists of just two parts:

 1.)    Please learn something new about TBI every day.  We will be posting an article daily on our FB page to make it easy for you to learn. Today’s article is below.

 2.)    Help facilitate CHANGE by partnering with The Arms Forces by assisting us in continuing our efforts for invisibly wounded veterans by collecting your CHANGE daily and at the end of March donating the money to The Arms Forces. (contact information below) Create a jar and label it:

“The Arms Forces CHANGE for TBI” and put it out where you and others will see it.  When someone asks you what it is all about, share with them a bit about what you have learned about TBI.  Share stories of the people you will learn about through our posts on Facebook and how their lives have been forever changed by their injuries.

If collecting change every day is not your thing then be a part of the CHANGE by making a donation to The Arms Forces through our website or by mailing a check to the address below.

 Day 5 Article

Weekends during the challenge will consist of articles from online and an open forum for questions and comments from anyone reading.  If you would rather send me a private message with your comment or question than post on the wall, I will answer anonymously on the Facebook wall for you. Thank you and have a great weekend!

With open arms,

Pam Hays

Founder/President and severe TBI survivor

The Arms Forces

PO Box 981

Maumee, OH  43537

419-491-1555 –email


By Dr. Brian E. Moore

GateHouse News ServicePosted Mar 03, 2011 @ 12:10 PM

Last update Mar 03, 2011 @ 12:12 PM

  An NFL player’s suicide resurfaces questions over the long-term effects of playing football that could include repeated traumatic brain damage or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which could play a role in dementia or depression.

Dave Duerson, a former Chicago Bears defensive back, fatally shot himself in the chest on Feb. 17. In an accompanying suicide note, he wrote: “Please, see that my brain is given to the NFL’s brain bank.”

The NFL brain bank is located at Boston University Medical Center, where researchers study the brains of former football players for evidence of damage.

Duerson’s suicide is one in a series of self-inflicted deaths by former football players, and it again raises the question of whether repeated traumatic brain damage, known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, has played a role in the depression or dementia from which many former football players suffer.

“You know, football is a violent game. People hit hard. You put a helmet on somebody and the helmet becomes a security blanket … I don’t want to say that [the helmet] is a weapon, but it makes you have no fear of striking with your head,” said former Chicago Bears football coach Mike Ditka recently to a CNN interviewer in the aftermath of the suicide of yet another former NFL player.

Although concussions can occur in a variety of sports, special attention has been given to the incidence of CTE in two particular sports: boxing and football. That’s because repeated head trauma is intrinsicto these sports, both in games and in practices, rather than a result of an occasional accident.

Researchers at the Boston University CTE Brain Bank are finding that the incidence of CTE among football players is higher than previously recognized. These findings, in turn, bring into question the risks incurred by school-age children who play the game of football.

What exactly is chronic traumatic encephalopathy? It’s a clinical syndrome, which includes memory problems, depression, gait difficulties, slurred speech and other neurological signs.

Microscopic examination at autopsy reveals that brains with CTE harbor a large number of tangles, similar to the tangles seen in Alzheimer’s disease. But CTE does not show other pathologic features of Alzheimer’s disease; therefore, it is a distinct disease. Examination of brains of control subjects who are of similar age and were not subjected to repeated head trauma does not show these abnormal tangles.

When asked by the CNN interviewer whether traumatic brain injury can be avoided in football, Ditka answered with resignation: “Can they stop it? I doubt it … The better the equipment, the less fear you have of hitting with it, especially with the helmet.

“I mean it is what it is. I don’t know how you’re going to change it because it’s part of the game of football. You know, you’re taught from the time that you’re a kid: You strike, you keep your head up, you stick your head into the opponent –– and, basically, that’s what happens.”

It appears that Duerson purposely shot himself in the chest rather than the head so that researchers could examine his brain for evidence of CTE.  Even though Duerson felt that his life was no longer worth living, there was some spark of hope within him that the injuries he sustained could help future players avoid a similar fate –– whether they are pee-wee or big-league players. For that, we should honor Duerson and the legacy he has left behind.

An Illinois House committee has approved legislation that would tighten the rules for high school athletes who suffer concussions, preventing players from returning to a game unless cleared by a licensed physician. House Bill 200 also requires school districts to adopt concussion awareness and treatment policies.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Duerson would be in favor of this legislation, and I would urge the Illinois House of Representatives to pass the measure.

Brian E. Moore, M.D., is a Memorial Medical Center neuropathologist in Springfield, Ill.

Copyright 2011 Jackson Newspapers. Some rights reserved

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