I watched the Frontline documentary Tuesday night in horror called 'League Of Denial,The NFL's Concussion Crisis' which is based on the book League Of Denial, which sheds much light (with evidence) on the effects football can have on the human brain and the people that play the sport as well as exposing the NFL's criminal way they covered it up.
The National Football League, a multibillion-dollar commercial juggernaut, presides over America’s indisputable national pastime. But the NFL is under assault as thousands of former players and a host of scientists claim the league has covered up how football inflicted long-term brain injuries on many players. FRONTLINE investigates: What did the NFL know, and when did it know it?
It shows the massive coverup the NFL undertook to try and suppress any evidence that contradicted their phony Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Safety Committee, which was headed up by a team doctor from the NY Jets who was an NFL puppet and didn't have any knowledge about brain disease. Paul Tagliabue. the ex commissioner put together that committee and if I had a say, he'd be locked up for his role in the coverup until he turned eighty. Roger Goddell also is a culprit in all of this subterfuge and if he's going to represent the NFL owners and deny information that could have helped the safety of the players then he needs to be in a cell right next to Tagliabue. The book and documentary focus on the sad fate of Mike Webster, an iron man of the great Pittsburgh Steeler teams of the seventies.
Mike Webster played with the Steelers (1974-1988) and Kansas City Chiefs (1989-1990), winning four Super Bowls with Pittsburgh in his Hall of Fame career. But the physical toll was high for the offensive lineman. "For Mike Webster, the head hits just kept on coming for 17 years," says Frontline narrator Will Lyman.
The documentary details Webster's descent into confusion, depression and dementia, the end of his marriage, his living out of a pickup truck and his inability to sleep. His former wife, Pam, tells how he took a knife and slashed all his football pictures.
Webster died on Sept. 24, 2002.
"The news that day would start a chain of events that would threaten to forever change the way America sees the game of football," the narrator says.
Frontline shows a photo of Webster's body on a table at the coroner's office in Pittsburgh. Bennet Omalu, the forensic neuropathologist who did the autopsy, said death was due to heart disease, but he also wanted to examine Webster's brain.
Omalu said his examination found evidence of CTE, a degenerative condition that previously been associated with boxers. Omalu was the first to report a case in an NFL player and in 2005 he published his findings in the journal Neurosurgery.
In response, the then-chairman and other members of the NFL's former Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI) Committee wrote a letter to the journal saying Omalu's findings were based on a "complete misunderstanding of the relevant medical literature" and that there was "inadequate clinical evidence that the subject had a chronic neurological condition."
"They insinuated I was not practicing medicine. I was practicing voodoo … voodoo," the Nigerian-born Omalu tells Frontline.
Omalu added: "CTE has dragged me into the politics of science, the politics of the NFL. You can't go against the NFL. They'll squash you."
You will be repulsed watching the brain injury deniers in action try to dismiss any claims that playing football could be hazardous to your health. Webster's death ushered in lawsuits that finally caught up to the NFL in the amount of $765 million to settle concussion-related suits by about 4,500 former players. That still comes out to chump change for these suffering vets, but at least Mike's death has some meaning attached to it for his family.
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