November 10, 2017

"I don't understand the narrative purpose of withdrawing any mention of Hernandez. How does it make the piece more compelling?"

A comment on the NYT article, "On the Table, the Brain Appeared Normal," which engages in coy/literary storytelling:
The brain arrived in April, delivered to the basement of the hospital without ceremony, like all the others....

It went to the lab outside the city, instead of the one in Boston, where most of the examinations are performed these days, because it was less likely to attract attention that way... The brain was given a pseudonym....

[T]he brain came alone and disconnected from its past, unattached to its celebrity. The sordid details of the man’s rise and fall, the speculation over what went wrong, the debate over justice — all that was left behind for others to assess....

52 comments:

Ignorance is Bliss said...

The brain was given a pseudonym....

Abby

mccullough said...

Wait until OJ's autopsy.

roesch/voltaire said...

That is what makes it so compelling everyone reading this knows whose brain it is and as a result it stays in the forefront of every sentence.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Sounds like a master-persuader sort of technique.

AReasonableMan said...

This is going to kill college football eventually. Universities aren't designed to cope with the liability issues involved here. They can't get student athletes to sign no-liability contracts the way the professionals will.

Yancey Ward said...

Mccullough wins the thread.

Curious George said...

"AReasonableMan said...
This is going to kill college football eventually. Universities aren't designed to cope with the liability issues involved here. They can't get student athletes to sign no-liability contracts the way the professionals will."

No, it will kill ALL football. First no midget, then no high school, then no college, then no pro. You can't have Pro Football, at least as we know it, without football at lower levels.

Original Mike said...

I've really soured on professional football. A quarter of the team gets hurt every game.

The Bergall said...

One was labeled________, and next to it another was labeled _________.

Original Mike said...

I had the Seattle/Atlanta game on as background last night while I was reading. Players were getting hurt right and left (sometimes two per play) and I began to wonder if players were smart enough in days of yore to pull back a little in the interests of not getting hurt. After all, it's in the best interests of the team (to say nothing of yourself). You don't do your team any damn good if you're out for 8 weeks due to injury.

Original Mike said...

Seattle/Arizona (you can tell how much I cared...)

grackle said...

No, it will kill ALL football.

Yep. Long run it’s a real problem. In the short run? The kneeling bullshit. Rome had its gladiators. We have our Social Justice Warriors.

The shine is off the NFL. It used to be part of America. Now it’s part of the Left and will prosper or fail as such.

Me, Trump and millions like us are going to cost the NFL billions. The NFL is hoping the kneeling controversy will blow over. Trump doesn’t allow stuff like this to slowly recede into history.

rcocean said...

There's a big difference between NFL and College in terms of Concussions and brain damage.

The College players are slower and lighter, the number of games are fewer, and most of the players stop after 4 years.

A pro that plays even 3 years will have doubled the amount of Football games a College player who stops after his senior year. (Roughly 50 vs. 100) A six year pro will have played almost 100 regular season games, that's 3x the games.

There's very little evidence of Non-NFL 4 year College Football players suffering from brain damage.

sparrow said...

I'm wondering if the kneeling fiasco will effect the future class action jury pool.

gspencer said...

Maybe there was a tendency among lab staff to use the brain for their weekly game of touch football.

Mark said...

Original Mike - the short turnaround on these huge bodies and over-pumped muscles from Sunday to Thursday cannot help. Many players exist week to week just barely off the injured reserve, a rough Thursday night game can put them on that list for the rest of the season.

I have begun to wonder about how artificial turf affects things. The new `sport turf' is supposed to be better, but yet there are constant injuries game after game.

Not much fun watching a team full of 2nd or 3rd stringers filling in on a moment's notice.

Patrick said...

It will be interesting to see Brett Farve's scan to see how far his CTE develops before he does. He played a long time and took a lot of hits.

traditionalguy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

Science just admited they fake all results for the highest authority or cash bidder unless this special form of secrecy is maintained to stop them. They all grew up faking global warming data and the FBI Laboratory results.

Original Mike said...

"the short turnaround on these huge bodies and over-pumped muscles from Sunday to Thursday cannot help."

Thursday night football is insane.

LarsPorsena said...

The predominant injury in the NFL isn't heads it's legs.

Sebastian said...

Can the studies rule out the possibility that NFL players were severely brain-damaged when they decided to play football for living?

LarsPorsena said...

Hernandez had problems before he even got to college.
The NFL accelerated his decline but it didn't start there.

southcentralpa said...

Well, they were probably trying to "blind" the lab. (Didn't want the knowledge of what they were hoping to find to influence the techs/docs examining.)

Richard said...

gppencer: Yours of 3:14 is my laugh of the day. Cheers.

The Godfather said...

If I'd known what the article was about I might have read it, but I didn't, so I didn't. I guess they call that journalism these days.

Mac McConnell said...

Bumped your head on the coffee table when you were a toddler, you got CTE.

Fist fight. you got CTE.

Ever bumped you head hard, you got CTE.

Played soccer, you got CTE.

The list is endless.

Grandma Bee said...

About college students in Football: According to the Sports Illustrated article I read a little while back, some College and even a few HS players who killed themselves left notes for the brains to be donated; and CTE showed up there too.

rcocean said...

There are probably 200 Colleges and 2000 (at least) HS football teams. A helluva of a lot of peeps have played Football since 1900, so where's the CTE Evidence?
We should be seeing massive numbers of HS/College ex-players with head problems and we don't.

We need more research and evidence. But people love to jump to conclusions.

Also, the NCAA needs to look into rule changes to decrease the concussions and low-impact blows to the head.

Original Mike said...

Blogger LarsPorsena said..."The predominant injury in the NFL isn't heads it's legs."

I think that's right.

Bad Lieutenant said...

I wonder how much CTE is caused by child abuse.

Sean Sharon said...

If the brain came without identifiers then why was it necessary for it to go to a lab away from the main facility? Did the people actually know what they were working on? I’m betting it was in fact not blinded.

FullMoon said...

Funny there is not much talk of boxers. Maybe because there is not a rich target for a class action suit?

Chris N said...

This would make a great Radio Lab/This American Life episode at the next Aspen Ideas Festival/TED talk. Free brain-scans and a Self Evaluation pop-psychology exam at the Kennedy tent.

Repent!

Ken B said...

“It will kill all football.”
We can dream. But I had discussions about this in the 1970s and yet we still have football. We have more of it than ever.

Lem said...

Sympathy for the devil.

I'm speculating. I'm not reading it.

glenn said...

One upon a time every time a racing driver got killed there were calls from every Mookie on the planet to ban racing. The death toll was an average of 15 a year. Same time the death toll in HS football was 25 a year and nobody said boo. Matter of fact nobody is saying boo now.

Original Mike said...

"Matter of fact nobody is saying boo now."

Frankly, I don't worry about the players; they are adults and they're getting paid. I'm losing interest because the players I expect to be on the field are all in the infirmary.

traditionalguy said...

Football is a game of violent collisions.There is some skill involved, but the game remains boys and later grown men in violent collisions. That was fine when they weighed 150 t0 200, but now they weigh 200 to 300. Do the physics on that, and you will stop your sons after they finish the age 14 competition levels.

Kirk Parker said...

rcocean,

"There are probably ... 2000 (at least) HS football teams"

I have a great perspective on this, given that I live in WA state which has, approximately, 1/50 of the total US population. Thus it's easy to extrapolate from our numbers to the entire country.

Your figure (bolded above) would imply that there are 40 high school football teams in this state. I can assure you, you have underestimated the number by at least one order of magnitude, and maybe more.

Kirk Parker said...

Just off the top of my head, I would expect there are are 2,000 HS football teams in Texas alone, but Google tells me I am off by a factor of two, more or less:

"There are 3,709 high schools in Texas..."

Achilles said...

AReasonableMan said...
This is going to kill college football eventually. Universities aren't designed to cope with the liability issues involved here. They can't get student athletes to sign no-liability contracts the way the professionals will.

It should. A lot of rich white democrats getting rich off the toils and injuries of predominantly poor black kids who aren't getting paid.

Some things never change it seems.

Eric said...

The "trick" in the article is what happens when someone who isn't very clever tries to do something clever. I wouldn't be surprised if lots of people at the NYT couldn't figure it out.

Jeff Teal said...

to all those asking where the evidence of CTE is in HS and College players.I have a cousin 3years younger than I who spent at least half of every fall friday night at the hospital.he ended up playing for three different colleges and the behavior changes were apparent then thirty five years ago.And they are still present today.

Curious George said...

"Ken B said...
We can dream. But I had discussions about this in the 1970s and yet we still have football. We have more of it than ever."

CTE wasn't "discovered" until 2005. Participation in football is down, and has been decreasing annually for the last decade. While I would agree that in the past youth football, even HS football, did not pose a significant risk....otherwise there would be millions of adults with CTE, in the last 25 years high school football has changed. I graduated in 1975, and played High School football in the Chicago suburbs...the largest HS district in the US. Lots of schools and high enrollment. I lettered two years playing center on offense, and LB on defense, and weighed 175 lbs at graduation. Our heaviest player was maybe 225. This was common everywhere. By 1995 it wasn't uncommon to see 300 pound players, as a matter of fact the 1993 IL state champion Loyola average 300 pounds in their offence line. Bigger faster kids. And HS players have been tested and found to have CTE.

Mac McConnell said...

Whats the CDC have to say about suicide rates among college athletes. College football players have twice the suicide rate of college athletes in general, but half the rate of male college students in general.

The CDC pro football study found players have half the rate of suicides of the general population, speed players had even less a rate.

Pro players had half the rate of heart disease and cancer than the general public.

I believe steroid use has more to do with athlete suicides than CTE and steroids over use seems to go with strength sports like football.


Mac McConnell said...

Curious George
If you played center and LB, I guarantee your autopsy will find CTE. CTE will be found in all soccer players also.

Tina848 said...

I wonder if there are effects of steroids eexcellerate any brain damage. How much impact does performance enhancing drugs have on injuries?

Birches said...

Watched a bit on Roger Staubach last night. Boy, did he take some hits. Where's the evidence of CTE for him? There's another contributing factor researchers are missing right now. I'm guessing it has to do with steroid and/or drug use.

Birches said...

Guys like Aikman and Steve Young are fine. Guys like Boomer Esiason are not. One of these is not like the others....

rcocean said...

According to Google there are 36,000 HS/Pivate Secondary Schools in the USA.

Lets assume 30,000 or approximately 80% have football teams

@ 50 kids a team, that's 1.5 million HS football players! And there are millions of ex-HS football players. So where's the brain damage?

And we don't know enough about CTE. It could be that CTE is easily caused by doesn't result in any symptoms/problems until it reaches a certain level. Maybe, its like high pressure. Anything over 120 is "High blood pressure" but we know that someone with 125/80 in fact, has very little increased risk of stroke or heart disease.

Daniel Jackson said...

A truly D- article; the reader only finds out about this "one particular disease" through the link?

Nevertheless, it really does say something about the sport and the bullshit the players do and get away with, does it not.