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Mike Brown: Linking concussions and dementia is “speculation”

Mike Brown AP

Bengals owner Mike Brown says there’s no proof that players who suffer concussions on the football field are more likely than the average man to develop dementia later in life.

Brown said today that there simply isn’t enough research to draw the conclusion that football players who suffer concussions are at greater risk of symptoms of brain damage in old age.

No one really knows what concussions mean, especially as you grow older,” Brown said, via Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “It’s not only not proven, it’s merely speculation that this is something that creates some form of dementia late in life. Our statistics — the ones I’ve seen anyway — don’t show that. I’m not convinced that anybody really knows what concussions bring, what they mean later in life if anything.”

With thousands of former players suing the NFL over the consequences of concussions, Brown and his fellow owners have a strong financial incentive not to see any link between concussions and dementia. It remains to be seen whether juries will find such a link, and hold NFL owners responsible.

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45 Responses to “Mike Brown: Linking concussions and dementia is “speculation””
  1. bennyb82 says: Jul 23, 2013 9:25 PM

    Mike Brown obviously knows the future. Remember? He passed on Hernandez

  2. thegonz13 says: Jul 23, 2013 9:28 PM

    And that, my friends, is why Mike Brown is one of the worst owners in pro sports.

  3. ricardocabeza says: Jul 23, 2013 9:36 PM

    Yes, I agree. And rapidly traveling lead linked to gun violence is just speculation. Wall Street linked to recession, smoking to cancer, poverty and crime, sex and pregnancy, overeating and obesity, Brown’s stupid comments and his selfish greed, all linked by mere speculation.

  4. wwwmattcom says: Jul 23, 2013 9:39 PM

    High school kids will lie about concussions because they want to play. I have heard coaches say, “its not like they are sitting on a porch somewhere in a rocking chair drooling on themsleves when they graduate, because of concussions”

    Well I don’t know any adult who is crying about not playing a high school football game for that matter.

  5. sepl12 says: Jul 23, 2013 9:43 PM

    The sound you hear is Goodell hitting his head against a table because Mike Brown just gave every Bengal on the roster free rights to sue when they retire as well. This guy just single handedly lost the concussion law suits and will be the cause of the eventual financial ruin for the nfl. The owners officially can no longer say they are taking concussions seriously.

  6. gbfanforever says: Jul 23, 2013 9:46 PM

    Yeah, speculation or you know, science…
    You can argue that the players knew there were health risks but denying that dimentia and concussions aren’t linked is like a tobacco exec saying there’s no connection between cigarettes and lung disease.

  7. t8ertot says: Jul 23, 2013 9:54 PM

    Just cuz he’s cheap doesn’t mean he’s not smart. He’s right. There is no evidence

  8. tinbender2000 says: Jul 23, 2013 9:54 PM

    Mike Brown looks punch drunk in that picture. Oh wait, he says there is no such thing. Must just be a drunk.

  9. jaypace says: Jul 23, 2013 9:58 PM

    Yeah I’m sure there’s no link between repeated blows to the head and dementia. Something’s wrong with his medula oblongata. Football and brain reference, you get it all with me.

  10. clickablecontent says: Jul 23, 2013 10:05 PM

    Wow, I’m a big supporter of the NFL but this kind of denial from an owner is just ugly and unworthy of this issue. At least show some concern for your players. “No one really knows what concussions mean” sounds an awful lot like tobacco’s “no proof cigarettes cause cancer” lobby.

  11. raiderapologist says: Jul 23, 2013 10:06 PM

    If Uncle Fester and Bob Newhart had a kid, it would look like Mike Brown.

  12. hatasgonnahate says: Jul 23, 2013 10:07 PM

    Someone please check Mike Brown for signs of a concussion. He sounds like he has dementia.

  13. ninerdynasty says: Jul 23, 2013 10:07 PM

    I agree.. I worked for a retirement home and when i highly doubt all these people that have dementia all had concussion issues. Is a genetic thing.. I’m pretty sure that these days you can even test yourself to see if you have the gene that carries it.

  14. ridnaway says: Jul 23, 2013 10:14 PM

    He should know. Somebody dropped him on his head just before he drafted David Kingler.

  15. sabatimus says: Jul 23, 2013 10:19 PM

    Mike Brown is very wrong.

  16. unbiasfan says: Jul 23, 2013 10:21 PM

    It’s basically using the same logic as linking Mike’s Brown picture to being mentally insane, it’s not provable

  17. Jim says: Jul 23, 2013 10:22 PM

    Reminds me of the coal lobby saying global warming doesn’t exist.

  18. sjs8515 says: Jul 23, 2013 10:30 PM

    Mike Brown is also a lawyer so he knows not to deviate in his public statements from what the NFL is saying in its legal filings.

  19. hatesycophants says: Jul 23, 2013 10:38 PM

    Which is exactly why Mr. Brown should keep his mouth shut on the subject.

    People who have attorneys on retainer should not make public statements without their review.

  20. thegreatgabbert says: Jul 23, 2013 10:40 PM

    The link between dementia and concussions is nebulous. However the link between dementia and patchy, ragged, random hair loss is fairly well established.

  21. jaydm84 says: Jul 23, 2013 10:49 PM

    Speculation is a poor word choice, however, there is no way to establish a cause and effect relationship between concussions and dementia, only a correlation can be made. Not all people with dementia have suffered concussions and not all people who have a history of concussions will suffer from dementia. Statistics is the only way to look at this, a long term study is needed, leave emotion at the door.

  22. thefiesty1 says: Jul 23, 2013 10:52 PM

    Well, that proves it, he doesn’t have a clue

  23. scytherius says: Jul 23, 2013 10:57 PM

    Why do we as a society listen to ANYONE who is not a doctor or medical professional weigh in on medical issues? It’s like having my dog come up with the game plan for the Super Bowl.

  24. calvinisthobbesian says: Jul 23, 2013 10:58 PM

    After all, there’s no evidence I know of that Mike Brown has ever had a concussion, but he’s always seemed pretty demented to me.

  25. detectivejimmymcnulty says: Jul 23, 2013 11:10 PM

    So repetitive injuries to the head have no correlation to brain injuries. Yep makes sense.

  26. northstarnic says: Jul 23, 2013 11:15 PM

    He also believes that climate change is a myth and that natural selection is just a theory, in the conventional sense of the word.

  27. treiz6 says: Jul 23, 2013 11:29 PM

    Is it me or, are we just now realizing that you can get concussed playing football. I knew this back in 1980.

    I wonder if I can sue the auto industry if I get in a car wreck and get a concussion. We know it can happen, and if it does (sarcasm) by golly whoever made my car is gonna pay.

    Drop the suit already!

  28. taosravenfan says: Jul 23, 2013 11:33 PM

    No one knows the exact link between repeated head trauma and dementia really is, not most neurologists and neurosurgeons believe there is some link.

    All that being said, mike brown is a moron. When he opens his mouth like that I’m sure Roger G has repeated bouts of colitis

  29. tsmercurio says: Jul 24, 2013 12:15 AM

    As a Bengals fan, Mike Brown has made very poor decisions in the past, and I am not a huge fan of his; however, if I remember correctly, players were hit much for violently in the early days of the NFL (with not as good equipment I may add) and they just now are starting to sue because a couple of guys got away with it before anything was prove. As for defending / contradicting his comments, I do not know much about the cases to side with or against him, but Brown is not a stupid man. I did get two degrees from IVY LEAGUE SCHOOLS. If he says that he does not see a connection based on the numbers, then maybe there really isn’t. But can we stop ripping on him now? The People that do rip on Mike Brown don’t realize his role in the front office anymore (WHICH IS NEARLY NOTHING) the reason this team has been better is because we actually have (not a G.M. unfortunately) but another person in charge of player contracts and roster moves. Just saying.

  30. jimmylions says: Jul 24, 2013 1:00 AM

    Sounds like a tobacco company saying the link between smoking cigarettes and getting lung cancer is unproven. Next he’ll say that evolution and global climate change are still just speculation.

  31. bruinfan53 says: Jul 24, 2013 1:35 AM

    Having had 3 concussions myself, my doctor said that because a concussion is a brain injury, the likelihood for future neurological issues is increased. This was in the early 90’s.
    When a study is paid for by a multi billion dollar entity, the results are going to read exactly what the payer is looking for.

  32. marcinhouston says: Jul 24, 2013 1:45 AM

    Linking Mike Brown and Dementia is speculation, and I am speculating.

  33. coachbeck says: Jul 24, 2013 2:21 AM

    Mike brown is right come back in 20 years with hard data. Not speculation and assumptions.

    The rest of you are like sheep to the concussion drum. Probate believe in global warming, Zimmerman is guilty, and no one on America should have guns.

    Uneducated speculation am assumptions are all this is.

    They have only been. Jarring this stuff for a few years.

  34. joetoronto says: Jul 24, 2013 5:48 AM

    Mike Brown can’t sleep at night, thinking that one day the NFL and it’s franchises will have to fork out money to satisfy the lawsuits.

    Mike Brown, the worst and cheapest owner of any sport on the face of the earth.

  35. flmike says: Jul 24, 2013 6:43 AM

    Mike Brown is a special kind of stupid…

  36. tomthebombtracy says: Jul 24, 2013 7:02 AM

    Thank you, Dr. Brown.

    Can you answer this question. Is there any connection with the Bungles never having won a Super Bowl and your tenure as their owner.

    I know, just speculation.

  37. mustbechris says: Jul 24, 2013 7:09 AM

    Mike Brown: making the world safe for Republicans to say basically the same thing about global warming similarly for self- serving financial reasons.

  38. raiderufan says: Jul 24, 2013 7:31 AM

    It seems pretty obvious that concussions lead in someway to dementia in some players…just like it’s pretty obvious Aaron Hernandez is a murderer.

    That does not eleviate the burden of proof and that’s much harder to come by.

  39. 4grammarpolice says: Jul 24, 2013 8:10 AM

    I wonder if he thinks smoking cigarettes causes lung cancer, or if that is just speculation too.

  40. hitdog042 says: Jul 24, 2013 10:58 AM

    Posters need to use google. Everything Brown said is true. There is no medical science that says it does. Brown doesn’t say it doesn’t. He merely said what is true. No scientific evidence has proven it does. None. Does it? Probably. He didn’t say it doesn’t. Is it proven? Nope. Just like he said.

  41. coachbeck says: Jul 24, 2013 1:38 PM

    Exactly hitdog. Now the lemmings need to stop just taking the unions word for it and go by the facts

  42. wtgriffin says: Jul 24, 2013 2:06 PM

    Is there an epidemiological study that proves a link, yes or no? If not, then the link is in fact speculation. There are such numerous studies for cigarettes and lung cancer and other examples mentioned above. Sadly, everyone screaming “moron” is too stupid or lazy to read what Brown stated. You don’t need to be a doctor to state simple facts and that is what Brown did.

  43. bonniebengal says: Jul 24, 2013 4:33 PM

    I’ve had a lot of relatives with dementia as they got older. None of them had concussion issues. I don’t know what caused it except it seems to run in my family. I don’t know the statistics of the total number of people with dementia who had concussion issues and the total number of people with concussion issues who don’t have dementia. But I assume Mike Brown does know these numbers since this affects his business. Say but you will about him but he is up on the legal facts and numbers. He’s a lawyer and he’s not going to say anything that he can’t back up.

  44. bengaldiplomat says: Jul 24, 2013 10:47 PM

    It is a shame that this article completely ignores the full interview from the team lunch yesterday. Mike Brown was actually discussing the need to make the game safer. The concussion topic was one piece of the comments.

  45. browns89 says: Jul 26, 2013 2:02 PM

    Actually, Mike Brown is correct. The science on this is still out. Very little research has been done into the longterm effects of concussions, and the media mostly has latched on the anecdotal stories. More than 4 million people in the U.S. play tackle football every year but 50 or so cases of CTE in former NFL players somehow passes for conclusive proof.

    That’s not to say science won’t catch up and define this issue one way or another. But to compare the longterm effects of concussion to something as scientifically agreed up on as say Climate Change is incorrect. Multiple-concussion syndrome. Yes, that is bad. Don’t let your kid return to any sport or activity if they have a concussion. But all studies so far say that if an individual completely recovers from a concussion before sustaining another one, there is no greater chance of damage than if he or she had never had one to begin with.

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