July 06, 2011

Just a Ding? Good overview of concussion issues in the NFL

Andrea Goetschius, one of my student colleagues at the University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication, wrote a terrific case study called

"Just a Ding? The NFL Responds to Research on Football-Related Concussion" (summary & links; pdf)

It's a terrific overview of the concussion issues the NFL and its players have been facing for the last few years. It starts with the first cases of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) that neuropathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu, discovered during the autopsies of three former NFL players. It chronicles former WWE wrestler Chris Nowinski's interactions with the New York Times' Alan Schwarz, as well as his founding of the Sports Legacy Institute at Boston University. Throughout, Goetschius chronicles the NFL's response, ranging from the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI) committee to the revamped Head, Neck and Spine Medical Committee.

There are also four pages of citations, which provide more information on all of these issues. I've read most of the articles Goetschius cites and she's done a great job of synthesizing all of them into a 9-page case study.

And the Arthur W. Page Society* agrees with me: they awarded Goetschius's case study the Grand Prize in its 2011 Corporate Communications Case Study Competition (all papers in this year's competition look interesting!). *The Arthur W. Page Society is "a professional association for senior public relations and corporate communications executives."

If you're interested in the topic of concussions and NFL players, this case study is worth a read.

1 comment:

Patricia said...

Yes, I had a college men's lacrosse ball hit me in the face and threw me and I was treated for nose and facial breaks and teeth and eye closed shut for months. and then sugery for nose,but they didnot even think to check me for a TBI. Well, I was in so much pain in my head the next day and every other for five years and dizzie. Because I was the track coach of a DI University of womans team, I was looked at like oh, it is not that bad. ANd a month later, I walked into the same building and the safety nets were not down again to protect the others not in helmets. SO, I was upset and reported it to risk management and was looked at as a neurotic female. Well, as time went on my pain got worse in upper body and then moved into my arms and down back.... And I had bad cognitive issues start up more and more. My affect was different,but I did not know it, just that I felt sad or different. I was always tired and still am. but, workers comp kept me from getting the early treatment for a head injury due to the Er not diagnosing it right away. Try to fight just to get care for the correct diagnosis. Over time it started affecting me more cognitively as well as physicaly. So, a ding is not just a ding. They can add up too. Well, If I get hit in the head again, that is it for me. And it took me 19 years of rehab to get back to school and finish my doctorate from all the damage that one sports ball did. And woman do not wear helmits in this sport that play it. I was a person leaving a building where I thought they had not started to play and if they do, the rule is to drop the nets. They say they get rope burns. WHich is worse?? why play an outdoor sport indoors if you cannot be safe. I had to deal with and will for the rest of my life this TBI. And I fear of having early dementia, when my family does not have that in its background. So, We need to do something more about all athletics and being safer about how we protect atheletes and coaches and fans from traumatic brain injuries in sports. This is not right. I found the school still does not put the safety nets down for the mens team many dsys. What is up with that?? I am an employee,so I cannot sue and it is my alma mater now,so they do not care. Someone has to die first. Such an easy fix. And the nets have holes in them now. SO, spend some money and make them better and automatic if they cannot seem to put them down for safety of the people in the field house walking in the front door or leaving. It is not just for men or football that we have these problems.