After finding trauma in NFL players, researchers seek more brains

Dave Duerson, the former Bear who committed suicide this year, was the 15th NFL player whose brain was examined by Boston University researchers, and the 14th who was found to have the brain damage known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy. But that doesn’t necessarily tell the researchers a whole lot.

The problem researchers are having, as detailed by Alan Schwarz in the New York Times, is what’s known as selection bias — the players and families of players who are donating their brains are the ones who suspect they have the condition. Players who haven’t suffered from memory loss, depression or other problems aren’t donating their brains, and therefore there’s no control group in the study.

What we desperately need is what one would call healthy brains,” said Dr. Robert Cantu, a co-director of the group studying brains. “If those have CTE, then that opens up lots of other questions.”

Dr. Ann McKee, the lead neuropathologist for the group studying players’ brains, noted that brains from people who aren’t experiencing any symptoms have been hard to come by.

“A family is much more likely to donate the brain of a loved one if they have even the smallest suspicion that something was wrong,” McKee said. “If they were perfectly confident that they were functioning 100 percent normally, they’re much less likely to go through the process.”

So what the researchers need is to study the brains of a wider cross section of donors. And they’re asking for more players to pledge their brains.

21 responses to “After finding trauma in NFL players, researchers seek more brains

  1. ‘”researchers seek more brains”……..good luck with that. One place they won’t have to look is this board.

  2. Looks like it’s time for zombies everywhere to unionize so they can make sure that they get their fair share of brains. Can’t have these greedy researchers gobbling them all up! Collective Braining Agreement.

  3. i read Rosenthal every day……they can have my brain when i take a dirt nap….I’m sure some damage has been done….

  4. Well if the researchers want to study the brains of today’s players such as Dez Bryant, Rashard Mendenhall, Adrian Peterson, and Aquib Talib then they won’t have much of a brain to study.
    And those players could hardly be defined as having “healthy” brains.

    Expanding further, all the players that chose DEmo Smith to represent their best interests and chose to put their careers in his hands do not have “healthy” brains.

  5. I have been looking for someone with a healthy brain my whole life; guaranteed that their only chance of finding a good brain is to look in my mirror, like I do.

    OMG what did I just say????? 🙂

  6. Igor had a better shot at finding a quality brain when he picked Abbey Normals.

  7. Favre’s looking for something to do. Maybe he’ll donate his brain now instead of waiting until he passes.

  8. The posters on here who are pro-owners and HATE the players should donate their brains, since its not being used. They come on a pro football blog, to vent their frustration at a sport that they HATE the players who play? Make’s sense?????. They buy tickets, jerseys, TV package, build their Sundays around players they HATE. Yes. Donate your brains or find another sport where you don’t hate the players so much. Or wait… want the game back when the players stayed with one team their whole career (reserve clause) and played for the love of the game.(which was never). Donate today!

    Thumbs down if you’re pro player.
    Thumbs up if you love DeMaurice Smith

  9. i’m glad i’m not the only one who thought of zombies when reading this headline.

  10. Please do not attempt to source additional study materials and/or testing subjects from any player or owner who has been instrumental in the current labor negotiations. Owners who are especially brain dead include Richardson, Jones and any owner of a team in the NFC West. Additioanlly, any player who has a Twitter account should be more carefully considered and avoided whenever necessary.

  11. At this point the researchers are asking nicely for co-operation. Don’t make them have to be forceful.

  12. @duanethomas

    There is not one player in the NFL that can not be replaced by someone who is there because they want to play football. I care about the team, not the players.

  13. @duanethomas

    You should donate your pea sized brain.
    Go wash your nose, it’s all fudgy from being up behind DEmo Smith and your inmate players. You love the players but would you still love them playing in semipro leagues. Without the owners who actually OWN the teams, there would be no players in the BIG league.

    The owners will still be rich and successful if all the players quit . But all the players would be broke within 2 years if the owners folded up the league.
    Go wash and sniff Mendenhalls’s jock you nerd

  14. @iamtalkingsolistenandlearn: Actually I would watch a league with the most high skilled players in the world. You call it “semi-pro” I would call it the new League of the best players in the world. Supply and Demand my stupid friend. The owners would have what then? Second rate players? Top college players and fans would flock to the new league stupid man, to see the top talent. You wouldn’t because everything in your life is second rate, your education, job (not career) wife, house, maladjusted kids etc…The team you love to hate….let me guess, has not won a championship ever. Like you, a eternal loser who’s sports career ended when the football player slept with your high school sweetheart. You quit then and have been a loser ever since.

    Did you parents have any kids that lived?

  15. @Duanethomas

    Then go watch that league. Bye.
    Go sell some jewelry on credit to Dez Bryant.
    Hire DEmo Smith to manage your career as an internet XXX reviewer.( see ur mom?)
    Go hang out with Aquib and his momma.
    Go walk the streets when Donte Stallworth is driving.
    Let your daughter go bar hopping with Big Ben.
    Keep following the players, your heroes. Keep spending every waking moment idolizing those that don’t even know your pathetic life exists. Buy their jerseys, go pay $160 for Saint Tebow’s autograph. Cheer your lil heart off and cream your panties when you see Tom Brady.
    Your whole world revolves around these players, and they don’t even know or care if you are alive.
    Quit taking up our air and space, loser

  16. @iamtalkingsolistenandlearn

    You 2 had a bad@ss Saturday night!
    david7590 says:May 7, 2011 5:35 PM


    There is not one player in the NFL that can not be replaced by someone who is there because they want to play football. I care about the team, not the players.
    I want to play football, but I am not sure any of you want to drink your Naty Ice to me on your screen. I watch the NFL because the players are the best in the world at what they do. I don’t care about their social lives or their pay, just be dedicated to my team and the game and play hard. If you don’t care about the players then you have never had a Montona to Rice on your team, a Ronnie Lott chopping off his pinky to stay in a playoff game, or a Catch I or a Catch II. The team is most important, but the jerseys are filled out with players and we all want our team’s players to be the very best. If you just want to watch guys that want to play no matter what the owners give them, watch college. What a championship game treat college gave us this year. Even though you may hate it, the players are the league.

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