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Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,493
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: NFL Brains . . . so incredibly sad

I saw this early today. It's worse than I thought. They have to redesign the helmets or change the rule of play.  Knee injuries, too:  both highschool football athletes I have known have had both knees replaced. 

 

My dad was a small-town dr and he forbade two things to his sons: football and motorcycles.  Of course, my bros did as they pleased, and one played football for a season, but then switched to boxing (bad enough).  All of them rode motorcycles.  Because children are the way they are when they choose to love these sports, it would be better if we made them safer.

 

One normal brain out of 211 former pros.  Those poor guys.

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Re: NFL Brains . . . so incredibly sad

Baseball players get concussions too,  not to the extent that football and hockey players do. For obvious reasons, the physical contact is not the same. But it does happen. Baseball players can also sustain serious head injuries from being hit by pitches, or pitchers can be hit by line drives hit back to them.

"Empathy is a superpower"
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Re: NFL Brains . . . so incredibly sad


@momtochloe wrote:

@Spurt wrote:

@LipstickDiva wrote:

Call me crazy but I just don't trust the coaching and medical staff/team doctors and the concussion protocol.  There is too much money in football.

 

I've even recently heard an NFL player interviewed about all these findings and he started talking about the amazing life he's been able to lead, the things he's been able to afford, the houses, the cars, the vacations, etc. all because of his NFL salary.    It was a trade-off to him.  I wonder how he may feel in 10 years.

 

    


@LipstickDiva

 

But the same issues apply to someone making a career in the military or law enforcement or a fire fighter.....we recently had a fire fighter die in the line of duty in our city.........there's risk and dangers in their jobs too........  So each person has to make their own individual decision..........


@Spurt I totally get what you are saying but for me what this article drives to the forefront is that these guys thought they were participating in a sport not realizing they may be taking years/decades off of their lives.

 

Please know God bless our military/police/firefighters that run toward the fight and realize the dangers up front and still choose to serve.  Maybe I'm wrong here but these are just guys that loved the game but were never made aware of the dangers to their health.


@momtochloe

 

Way back when no one even cared to even think about the physicality and possible dangers which is sad, because perhaps changes could have been made earlier to save lives.  I do remember some players concerned about injuries to their backs and legs and having the ability to play with their kids or grandkids or even the ability to walk when they got older.....watch and see if you can catch former player and Coach, Muke Ditka walk sometime.......

 

Here's a story of former Raider Center Jim Otto and his health .............

 

As he awakes every morning, Jim Otto looks at his $40,000 carbon-fiber leg, decorated with the Raider' shield and a tiny version of his famous No. 00 jersey. It sits near the bed, detached from its owner, waiting for him to have breakfast with his wife, Sally, and do all the little things that help him prepare for the day. By 11 a.m., though, they will be joined at the hip, the artificial limb and the former NFL center and they will stay that way for 12 hours.

 

Wearing the prosthesis can be exhausting and extremely uncomfortable, as the connecting points grind into his pelvic area, but he made a commitment when the insurance company agreed to pay for this high-tech leg with its microprocessor knee. He would use it regularly and try to reclaim as much of his old life as possible.

 

It hasn't been easy, though, not even for a man who had endured 15 years of pounding in the NFL and close to 70 surgeries on his knees, shoulders, back, nose, you name it. This summer, a surgeon pried Otto's sternum open and worked on his heart, which had been damaged by all the infections that claimed his right leg.

 

"It's doing great now," he said, tapping his chest and smiling. During an interview at his home in the Sierra foothills, Otto made several whimsical references to his medical nightmares, even savoring the comedy of a story about falling in his office at the Raiders headquarters and lying helplessly on the floor before someone walked in and found him.

 

The humor appears to be part of his survival instinct. By all rights, he should be dead several times over. In nine years, Otto had five life-threatening infections, which set up camp around his artificial right knee and then waged war on the rest of his body. By July 2007, he had to choose between his leg and his life.

 

The amputation, he said, led to the greatest physical pain he had ever felt. There was no funny spin to put on this, so he didn't try.

 

Discussing certain elements of his health problems made Otto very somber: the fear Sally has had to cope with, the gloomy emotions that came with losing his leg and a deep concern for younger people going through various stages of what he has already endured. After his amputation, he inquired about the treatment of soldiers who lost limbs and was relieved to learn that they receive extraordinarily heavy medication. He doesn't know what to make of the apparent increase in infections among this generation of athletes, especially the drug-resistant strains of staph.

 

As a player and as a businessman after football, Otto could have been a role model for any of them. Yet he is also the quintessential cautionary tale, a reminder that every second of sports glory carries an enormous risk. Just by looking at him, no one could imagine the excruciating pain of the last 40 years. He walks stiffly because of the artificial leg, but he remains a strapping man with a booming voice and posture that should be the envy of other 70-year-olds.

 

The infections that took over Otto's body had the same profile - strong, stubborn, almost bigger than life. His first encounter with septic shock occurred in 1998, and almost a decade after he had both knees replaced - for the second time. Otto couldn't name all the types of infection and isn't sure what triggered them - an ingrown toenail, for all he knows.

But he has a pretty good idea why his body couldn't fight off the bacteria. His daughter, Jennifer, had died a year earlier at age 39, after a blood clot appeared during a hysterectomy, sending her into cardiac arrest. She left four children behind.

Fever and forgetting

"My doctor told me: 'When Jennifer died, you started to die, too,' " Otto said. The grief seemed to shut down his immune system.

 

His temperature hovered around 105 degrees for eight days that first time. A lot of what happened during the subsequent infections, he can't remember. He was too feverish. After the third episode, the doctors recommended amputation. Otto refused.

"That's the easy way out," he said. "Let's fight to keep my leg."

 

The fourth infection appeared in 2005. One of Jennifer's children was ill, and Sally flew to Colorado Springs to help. Alone in the house, Otto could feel a fever coming on one night. He mentioned it to Sally when she called and went out of his way to say: "I love you with all my heart." He had a bad feeling about what was coming.

The next morning, Sally phoned to check in. Jim didn't answer. She tried again. He didn't answer. She called Ryan Berry, a Placer County sheriff's deputy who had befriended the family. Jim could barely hear the phone, and the only thing he could sense vividly was the feeling of his dog Suzy, one of their three bichons frises, gently licking his eyelids, presumably trying to wake him. Berry said when he finally reached Otto, "he was in sort of an altered state."

A life and death moment

Berry arrived at the house and found the side door unlocked. He carried a nearly unconscious Otto to his truck and then rushed him to the medical center at UC Davis. "He's a big guy," Otto said. "He weighs about 300."

In retrospect, the story sounds fascinating, half sweet, half-terrifying. A little white fluff ball of a dog standing guard over one of the NFL's legendary tough guys until a burly peace officer can rescue him. In real time, though, it was terrifying, and Sally had to tend to a sickly husband yet again.

"Sally didn't deserve this," Otto said.

He worried about what he had put her through, all the hours she had spent administering antibiotics through an IV, and the endless worry. Last year, when the amputation became inevitable, he had a new concern. As he was being wheeled off to surgery, he asked her: "Honey, are you going to love a guy without a leg?"

Sally said she replied without hesitation. "I don't love your leg," she said. "I love you. I want you to be healthy."

He vowed that by Christmas he would walk to her and give her a hug.

Painful rehab

Agony and painkiller-induced delusion followed the surgery. Otto learned later that when friends would call the hospital, he'd unwittingly bestow some of his most prized possessions on them. As far as he can remember, he tried to give away one of his cars and a precious gun. Once, he called Berry at 4 a.m. and told the deputy that he was being held captive in a cabin.

"It was like having early Alzheimer's," he said. When he finally started feeling like himself, he asked Sally: "Did I ever curse at the nurses?" He considered them angels and didn't want to abuse them. His wife assured him that that hadn't happened.

The doctors, though, were in for some invective. Over the years, Otto had received devoted attention from his surgeon at the University of Utah hospital, but that doctor had retired. Now, he was being treated by a younger physician, and when he learned that there would have to be a follow-up amputation, to take the stump down a little and relieve some of the pain, Otto let the staff know, in un-sanitized terms, that they had better get it right this time.

They did, and he finally went home to start his rehab. The prosthetic leg was ready for him in early November, almost exactly a year ago. He remembered his vow to Sally, and he told his physical therapist about the Christmas goal. They beat it by a long shot.

"He was very motivated," said Julie Gross, a physical therapist at UC Davis's medical center. "He was very determined to get moving quickly."

A Thanksgiving gift

In almost no time, he progressed to using a single-point cane. Shortly before Thanksgiving, Sally was out shopping. When she returned, her husband was standing, waiting for her. He walked across the room and hugged her, a whole holiday ahead of time.

The amputation, though, was never the easy way out, as he had assumed. Even on his bad knees and with his balky back, he used to be able to stride through the hills near his house, covering five miles in less than an hour. He can still walk, but "walking on a prosthesis consumes 65 percent more energy," he said. He can still fish and hunt, but not the way he did before. The pond outside his house sits below a slope, and he can't risk it. He has to fish from flat shores or a boat.

Occasionally, he still feels "ghost pain" in the area of his lost leg. He reminds himself that he has to learn new ways of doing things, because he can't turn back. He empathizes with all the young soldiers coming back home as amputees.

"Some of them have mental problems, and I can see how that can happen," Otto said. "There's been times when I've been sitting in a chair, and some of the things I've been thinking, I probably shouldn't have been thinking."

More often, he sticks to pragmatism and gratitude. He tries to make sure that someone is with him at all times, in case he falls. He was alone that day in the Raiders' office when he toppled over. "As I went down," said the man of many orthopedic disasters, "I thought: 'Oh, this is going to be a good one.' "

But once someone showed up and found him, he was fine.

He never really needed the job with the Raiders. After football, he owned a walnut orchard, five successful Burger King franchises, a piece of a bank and an office building. For a while after the team moved back to Oakland, even though he appeared to be a fixture in the seat next to owner Al Davis during games, he wasn't even officially on the payroll.

But when he and Sally sold their fast-food joints, his job became more formal, which helped them hold onto vital health insurance. He is grateful for that, and for simply being here.

"I could be under the grass," Otto said. "I know that, and I'm glad I'm above the grass."

Animals are reliable, full of love, true in their affections, grateful. Difficult standards for people to live up to.”
Respected Contributor
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Registered: ‎02-20-2017

Re: NFL Brains . . . so incredibly sad

Soccer is another sport where the concussion rate is high.

 

The percentage of players who get to the NFL is very small.  These parents who are pushing their kids to play, risking concussions, hoping for scholarships, just to play professional football is very small. 

 

 

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Re: NFL Brains . . . so incredibly sad


@Bri36 wrote:

Soccer is another sport where the concussion rate is high.

 

The percentage of players who get to the NFL is very small.  These parents who are pushing their kids to play, risking concussions, hoping for scholarships, just to play professional football is very small. 

 

 


I know. When my friends start talking about this I want to ask them if they realize how small of a chance their kid has on making it.  More power to him if he does.  I've already gotten the teary-eyed call from my friend because her son got hammered during a game and was lying on the field for quite awhile.  She said it took all she had not to go running out there. 

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Re: NFL Brains . . . so incredibly sad

Nothing new.  There was a movie a few yrs ago about the doctor who did research about it called Concussion.  The movie was an eye opener regarding the NFL.

"Never argue with a fool. Onlookers may not be able to tell the difference."


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Re: NFL Brains . . . so incredibly sad


@momtochloe wrote:

@Spurt wrote:

@momtochloe wrote:

I know Gisele Bundchen (Tom Brady's wife) got a ton of grief for saying Tom has had concussions but I give her credit for speaking out as it is clearly true.  All of my children have had four legs and I am now older and to be honest I would think long and hard about a lot of sports as they are saying even soccer can cause brain related injuries.


@momtochloe

 

At least they are both aware of the risks and possible impact on their future.........and sadly some didnt have a clue on what could happen.  And to keep the sports alive they are talking about better helmets and equipment and better techniques ....some parents are taking a long look whether they want their kids in sports.......but all kids need some type of physical activity to keep their bodies healthy too....too many sit inside playing video games and on electronics and juvenile diabetes and other diseases are increasing in young kids these days ..........

 

Most people think of football or soccer when it comes to brain injuries.....but even basketball when I see a player's head hit the hard court floor I think arent they also at risk but little is mentioned in the NBA about it that I've heard for that sport....


Oh my friend @Spurt a huge Amen about getting kids back outside and moving!  I guess all sports carry a degree of risk but I guess for me I wish some of the (for lack of a better phrase) velocity could be dialed back a bit . . . I am all for do your best, I am not a fan of win at all costs.


@momtochloe

 

They do need to dial it back a bit......the players are getting bigger and stronger and when they make contact---WOW!!!   My Redskin "hogs" were considered big for their time, but today they wouldn't be able to compete with the size and weight of the players now!!!  But sadly as you and others have said....money talks!!!  And "the love of money IS the root of all evil"..and blinds the eyes of the consequences, but there comes a time when the piper has to be paid unfortunately........in this case its both mental and physcal health.....

Animals are reliable, full of love, true in their affections, grateful. Difficult standards for people to live up to.”
Honored Contributor
Posts: 32,165
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: NFL Brains . . . so incredibly sad


@Mz iMac wrote:

Nothing new.  There was a movie a few yrs ago about the doctor who did research about it called Concussion.  The movie was an eye opener regarding the NFL.


It's something new to the guys who played years ago.  It seems more and more keeps coming out about the long term effects.  

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Re: NFL Brains . . . so incredibly sad

@Spurt thank you for the article about Jim Otto and his challenges . . . goodness what a story!   And being from the Chicagoland area I winced when you mentioned Coach Ditka.  I don't believe his brain function has been impaired from his NFL career (which is a miracle in itself) but it is more than tough to watch him when you catch him on camera trying to move . . . Smiley Sad

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Re: NFL Brains . . . so incredibly sad


@momtochloe wrote:

@Spurt thank you for the article about Jim Otto and his challenges . . . goodness what a story!   And being from the Chicagoland area I winced when you mentioned Coach Ditka.  I don't believe his brain function has been impaired from his NFL career (which is a miracle in itself) but it is more than tough to watch him when you catch him on camera trying to move . . . Smiley Sad


@momtochloe

 

The story is so sad, I remember John Madden talking about Jim Otto having difficulty walking and the guy was still very young.................

 

Yep, Coach Ditka's mind is as sharp as ever, but when I saw him try to move and he was fairly young I was shocked!

Animals are reliable, full of love, true in their affections, grateful. Difficult standards for people to live up to.”