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Researchers find tau protein in living NFL players
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titanrick


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:19 pm    Post subject: Researchers find tau protein in living NFL players Reply with quote

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Using a scan called positron emission tomography, or PET -- typically used to measure nascent Alzheimer's disease -- researchers injected the players with a radioactive marker that travels through the body, crosses the blood-brain barrier and latches on to tau.

Then, the NFL retirees had their brains scanned.

"We found (the tau) in their brains, it lit up," said Dr. Gary Small, professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA and lead author of the study, published Tuesday in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.


Scan may detect signs of NFL players' brain disease

This is incredible news, given that finding the telltale signs of CTE had only been previously confirmed after death. This could lead to testing of current players and significantly reduce the post-career effects of repeated head trauma.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From what I've read, this really isn't a surprise. CTE has been noted post-mortem, yet of the articles I've read, I haven't come across CTE scans among living players. Tau protein doesn't just happen overnight, it's a gradual build-up.

With this coming out, what's the NFL going to do to react to it? That's my biggest question. They're already studying technology to prevent or lessen head injuries, will they feel the need to be extremely reactive and perhaps issue a policy league-wide, or continue to work diligently?
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The Cryptkeeper


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This much I can guarantee....you'll never see them utilize this testing for rookies entering the NFL. The repercussions would be too great as people realize how young players are developing it. The game's already in a more precarious position at the school level than people realize because of the liability/insurance costs rising. I base my stance off of how the NFL's reacted to damaging results before, but if they pull a 180, I'll be glad to give them due credit for it.

The best thing the NFL to protect themselves legally is to perform the test on all incoming players, be straight up about the results, and then have the players that choose to continue to play after acknowledging the risk and signing a waiver. The only problem? Doing so would gut the talent base at the school level.

This test is a game-changer.
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Superman(DH23)


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Cryptkeeper wrote:
This much I can guarantee....you'll never see them utilize this testing for rookies entering the NFL. The repercussions would be too great as people realize how young players are developing it. The game's already in a more precarious position at the school level than people realize because of the liability/insurance costs rising. I base my stance off of how the NFL's reacted to damaging results before, but if they pull a 180, I'll be glad to give them due credit for it.

The best thing the NFL to protect themselves legally is to perform the test on all incoming players, be straight up about the results, and then have the players that choose to continue to play after acknowledging the risk and signing a waiver. The only problem? Doing so would gut the talent base at the school level.

This test is a game-changer.
I expect once the science on it is down, it will be done as a baseline test for every player, and after each concussion they will do it again.
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theJ


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Superman(DH23) wrote:
The Cryptkeeper wrote:
This much I can guarantee....you'll never see them utilize this testing for rookies entering the NFL. The repercussions would be too great as people realize how young players are developing it. The game's already in a more precarious position at the school level than people realize because of the liability/insurance costs rising. I base my stance off of how the NFL's reacted to damaging results before, but if they pull a 180, I'll be glad to give them due credit for it.

The best thing the NFL to protect themselves legally is to perform the test on all incoming players, be straight up about the results, and then have the players that choose to continue to play after acknowledging the risk and signing a waiver. The only problem? Doing so would gut the talent base at the school level.

This test is a game-changer.
I expect once the science on it is down, it will be done as a baseline test for every player, and after each concussion they will do it again.

Maybe. Depending on the cost/procedure. If this test costs 10k every time they do it, i kind of doubt they do it for every player. Maybe only for repeatedly concussed guys (think Austin Collie).
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iPwn


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

theJ wrote:
Maybe. Depending on the cost/procedure. If this test costs 10k every time they do it, i kind of doubt they do it for every player. Maybe only for repeatedly concussed guys (think Austin Collie).
PET scans are typically around $5k per test. I'm guessing this is pretty much just a typical PET scan.
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Superman(DH23)


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

theJ wrote:
Superman(DH23) wrote:
The Cryptkeeper wrote:
This much I can guarantee....you'll never see them utilize this testing for rookies entering the NFL. The repercussions would be too great as people realize how young players are developing it. The game's already in a more precarious position at the school level than people realize because of the liability/insurance costs rising. I base my stance off of how the NFL's reacted to damaging results before, but if they pull a 180, I'll be glad to give them due credit for it.

The best thing the NFL to protect themselves legally is to perform the test on all incoming players, be straight up about the results, and then have the players that choose to continue to play after acknowledging the risk and signing a waiver. The only problem? Doing so would gut the talent base at the school level.

This test is a game-changer.
I expect once the science on it is down, it will be done as a baseline test for every player, and after each concussion they will do it again.

Maybe. Depending on the cost/procedure. If this test costs 10k every time they do it, i kind of doubt they do it for every player. Maybe only for repeatedly concussed guys (think Austin Collie).
$5K now, or $5M later? B/c they are looking to lose some serious coin if they don't get the concussion situation under control. Its real simple, medical at the combine, you get the PET scan. You sign your contract, you get a PET scan. You suffer a concussion in a game, you get a PET scan. Once you reach the "threshold" of tau (I have no idea what that threshold is) we can no longer clear you to play. Thanks so much, enjoy a nice long happy life.
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boondock


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

theJ wrote:
Superman(DH23) wrote:
The Cryptkeeper wrote:
This much I can guarantee....you'll never see them utilize this testing for rookies entering the NFL. The repercussions would be too great as people realize how young players are developing it. The game's already in a more precarious position at the school level than people realize because of the liability/insurance costs rising. I base my stance off of how the NFL's reacted to damaging results before, but if they pull a 180, I'll be glad to give them due credit for it.

The best thing the NFL to protect themselves legally is to perform the test on all incoming players, be straight up about the results, and then have the players that choose to continue to play after acknowledging the risk and signing a waiver. The only problem? Doing so would gut the talent base at the school level.

This test is a game-changer.
I expect once the science on it is down, it will be done as a baseline test for every player, and after each concussion they will do it again.

Maybe. Depending on the cost/procedure. If this test costs 10k every time they do it, i kind of doubt they do it for every player. Maybe only for repeatedly concussed guys (think Austin Collie).


I could see where all rookies are required to get one before they come in to the league to set a baseline for their tau protein. Then have a scan every x amount of years in the league for comparisons and when a major head trauma occurs.

Once the danger zone is created for the amount of tau protein one can have before experiencing CTE, the NFL can determine the best course of action for that player's future.
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theJ


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The other thing to consider here, money aside, is who is going to lobby for this test?

The players won't want it because they don't want to be told they can't play. Ownership won't want it because of the potential to really hamper the growth of the league. It's going to take some major outside pressure to get either side to move. (this is sort of what Cryptkeeper said)
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You don't have to tell the players they can no longer play when they reach a certain point. You, instead, make sure they're fully informed about what is known about their current state, future problems they may have, and what further injury may lead to. And you let them choose whether or not to continue their career. The NFL need not lead a crusade to make sure no one is ever injured beyond a certain point, just that they continue to lead the way in protection through rule changes (to whatever extent you believe the rules need to be changed), equipment upgrades, and by making sure players are always aware of where they stand.



And anyway, concussions aren't the only way this builds up. sub-concussive hits cause the same issues in the brain, so a simple post-concussion test isn't going to change things. It may just make a player less likely to report a concussion, if he thinks it may possibly signal the end of his career.

Instead, I would make it a part of the yearly (or even just do this every 2 or 3 years) physical. Have the physician sit down and discuss with the player where they stand and let them make an informed decision whether they want to continue or hang them up.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

iPwn wrote:
You don't have to tell the players they can no longer play when they reach a certain point. You, instead, make sure they're fully informed about what is known about their current state, future problems they may have, and what further injury may lead to. And you let them choose whether or not to continue their career. The NFL need not lead a crusade to make sure no one is ever injured beyond a certain point, just that they continue to lead the way in protection through rule changes (to whatever extent you believe the rules need to be changed), equipment upgrades, and by making sure players are always aware of where they stand.



And anyway, concussions aren't the only way this builds up. sub-concussive hits cause the same issues in the brain, so a simple post-concussion test isn't going to change things. It may just make a player less likely to report a concussion, if he thinks it may possibly signal the end of his career.

Instead, I would make it a part of the yearly (or even just do this every 2 or 3 years) physical. Have the physician sit down and discuss with the player where they stand and let them make an informed decision whether they want to continue or hang them up.


I think this is a very reasonable way to move forward with such technology.
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OneBadCat


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The game is going to have to change eventually. Either that or some sort of advanced helmet will have to be made.


The problem though isn't so much the equipment. Pads and helmets have improved a lot. The problem is that since the players are protected they have no fear of going full blast, going for the knock out hit.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This could definitely change things.

That being said the NFL isn't going anywhere. Its a multibillion dollar industry, which greatly effects other multibillion dollar industries(food, beer, tv, retail, etc) it has too great of an impact on our community.

People die every day in mines and on oil rigs, we aren't going to ban those anytime soon. Eventually people will have to just sign something saying they fully know the risks and won't sue if anything happens. I guarantee you most players will not turn down millions of dollars. Just my opinion.
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titanrick


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What happens if the results from a combine "baseline" test already show a build-up of tau in the brain? It's a sad reality, but they've found CTE in college and (I'm pretty sure) high school players before, post-mordem. So you may go in to determine a baseline level and find out that you're already past the point of playing safely in the NFL.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

titanrick wrote:
What happens if the results from a combine "baseline" test already show a build-up of tau in the brain? It's a sad reality, but they've found CTE in college and (I'm pretty sure) high school players before, post-mordem. So you may go in to determine a baseline level and find out that you're already past the point of playing safely in the NFL.
What happens at the combine when they do an MRI and they find that a knee is already bone on bone, this is really no different. If you can't clear medically you don't get to play in the NFL.
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