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League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth

– tekijä: Mark Fainaru-Wada, Steve Fainaru

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
209999,109 (4.26)8
Both ESPN investigative reporters, the authors reveal how the NFL, over a period of nearly two decades, sought to cover up and deny mounting evidence of the connection between football and brain damage. This narrative moves between the NFL trenches, America's research labs and the boardrooms where the NFL went to war against science; it examines how the league used its power and resources to attack independent scientists and elevate its own flawed research.… (lisätietoja)
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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 9) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
Good book but I had to knock a star off the rating for the blatant lie that this is the “first” time this issue has been written about. It seems like every vulture in this country wants to take for this despite the proven fact that the non-academic (right there is the problem) MD in Pittsburgh discovered this horror in his careful, thorough and documented study and autopsy of the late Steeler great Mike Webster’s brain. And published his findings in a peer reviewed journal. Only to be scoffed at. Undeterred, he was worried this issue may be more prevalent than anyone knew. So he repeated his tests with similar findings on another late NFL player, published his findings in a another peer reviewed journal. He felt so concerned about this issue that the NFL was ignoring, he went public. And it ruined his life. The NFL and a former financial partner destroyed his professional credibility and he lost his job. His ex-wrestler partner was recruited by Boston U (or C) to help create a CTE center where his new MD partner conducted an autopsy for all the press, and despite the fact this poor, idealistic, naive African MD had already done this many times with research published in peer-reviewed journals, this woman - and his conniving ex-partner - was credited with “discovering” CTE and had been the leading authority in the world ever since. And since his former partner had no academic credentials, they gave him a freaking PHD so he could be called “Doctor” too. Genius. And devious. And I’ve hated all of these people - especially the NFL - for denying, taking credit and chewing up and spitting out the poor original researcher. And now these authors come along and claim this is the “first” time the story’s been told! Like I said, fascinating story. Just sickens me how all the vultures have picked away at the carcass of the original researcher naive enough to mean well and help others... ( )
  scottcholstad | May 21, 2020 |
A must read. More forthcoming...

This is a truncated review. To read the full review, please visit my blog.

Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago during the 1980s means that the team of all teams was the 1985 Bears. Walter Payton flew over defensive lines and on occasion did land on his head. To us, it was amazing. To his body, it was brutal.

"League of Denial" provides amazing detail into how brutal the game of football is to the human body. On page 5, the Fainaru brothers cite a physicist who calculated a Dick Butkus hit as equivalent to the size of a small adult killer whale. HOLY CRAP!

Ultimately, the Fainaru brothers tell the story of how football players were paid a king's ransom to play a boy's game, but their bodies and brains paid the real price. The NFL told players that they were special. Weaker men, who would be hurt by concussions, had been weeded out. They were the cream of the crop in more than just playing skills, but in how their bodies reacted to injury.

Many of the men highlighted in the book clearly were full of regret for not hurting themselves, but hurting their friends, their brothers in arms. Story after story involves not just brain injury, but loss of employment and ultimately the destruction of many families due to violent behavior and/or economic strain. Even agents, such as Leigh Steinberg, began to question what the hell they were doing.

They also tell of a vast conspiracy that bled into children's lives. See, in an effort to keep NFL players in the dark, the NFL created a whole team of scientists and studies that said, "Concussions? No need to worry about them! They rarely happen and when they do, no big deal." Yet, helmet makers wanted to create the concussion-proof helmet and when they felt they did, they marketed it to parents and youth leagues too. The other issue with the helmets were not just that they didn't protect one from getting concussions, but it left players with a false sense of security -- to hit harder!

And this conspiracy began by an accident. Concussions were never under scrutiny. The chance that one former NFL player happened to die on a day when a curious corner was on duty spurred this whole discussion. Outside of one or two people involved in "discovering" the extent of the concussion issue, all the scientists involved were strong football fans. They wanted to help the NFL make football safer and to keep players as healthy as possible. They never wanted to kill football. Yet, the league quickly dismissed them and framed them as quacks, when they should have worked with them right then and there.

"If only 10 percent of mothers in America begin to conceive of football as a dangerous game, that is the end of football." - page 206

**snip**

Overall the book will make you think twice about letting your child play football. It will also make fans look at the game differently. I wince when I see guys take a huge hit. I admit to letting out, "ohs!" in the past. In fact, I still do. I do not think that we can take tackling out of football. But we can try to minimize the injuries, especially reducing helmet-to-helmet hits. Ultimately, as fans we must question our role in the fact that our favorite players, such as Jim McMahon, and most hated players, such as Bret Favre, can not remember large parts of their lives.

The book is not perfect. As a scientist, I think they minimize the scientific process, especially the peer review process. That said, there are always points in the process that can and should be questioned.

The racism that is evident in how Bennet Omalu is treated during the evolution of the concussion debate is often minimized. It is something that should be better fleshed out, as the sexism that Ann McKee faced was.

The cult of masculinity is the real enemy in this puzzle. The hardest part of the book was the section on Dave Duerson, a beloved member of the 1985 Bears, and his evolution from defending the NFL to ultimately committing suicide by shooting himself in the chest so his brain could be studied. His story includes all the tropes - wondering why some players are whining, that "I'm ok, why aren't you?" and on and on. We are told the tale of a smart and loving person who spins out of control. Outsiders see a washed up athlete who can't handle retirement, when in fact he is a deeply wounded person. How often did he get 'his bell rung" and sucked it up to stay in the game for job security?

As a football fan, I wondered if offsides are a function of concussions? Has anyone looked at this? Considering how former players described the sensation of "shaking it off" and heading back in for the next play, I would bet that offside calls could be a detection point.

This is a must read for every football fan and every parent thinking about letting their young children play tackle football. You may still enjoy the game, I do. You may still allow your child to play. But at least you will know a likely reason as to why Junior Seau spun out of control in retirement and killed himself.
  roniweb | May 30, 2019 |
Wow, this is a wonderful book. League of Denial is journalism at it's absolute finest. I couldn't put it down. For anyone that loves football and wants to begin to understand the NFL cover up of football related brain injury, this is a must read. Some of the personal stories are painful to read about, but they need to be told. It's still too early to know for sure if recent efforts by the NFL will decrease the likelihood of future brain injuries in football athletes at any level. ( )
  Mitchell_Bergeson_Jr | Aug 6, 2017 |
OH MY GOODNESS!!! I actually cheated on this one. It is on the 2014 List of Books for College Bound Students and Life-long Learners (my favorite reading list that, sadly, only comes out every five years) and I try to read all of the books on this list. But when I saw on about Football, I thought "Ugh, I really don't want to read that." But I found that it was also a PBS Frontline special and thought I'd start with that. I was blown away by the information in this documentary. The amount of damage that the sport of Football does, the power that the NFL has, and their consistent attempts to deny the reality of the problem were all just amazing. I highly recommend everyone see this, and most especially if you have children wanting to play tackle football!!! ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
OH MY GOODNESS!!! I actually cheated on this one. It is on the 2014 List of Books for College Bound Students and Life-long Learners (my favorite reading list that, sadly, only comes out every five years) and I try to read all of the books on this list. But when I saw on about Football, I thought "Ugh, I really don't want to read that." But I found that it was also a PBS Frontline special and thought I'd start with that. I was blown away by the information in this documentary. The amount of damage that the sport of Football does, the power that the NFL has, and their consistent attempts to deny the reality of the problem were all just amazing. I highly recommend everyone see this, and most especially if you have children wanting to play tackle football!!! ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 9) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (4)

Both ESPN investigative reporters, the authors reveal how the NFL, over a period of nearly two decades, sought to cover up and deny mounting evidence of the connection between football and brain damage. This narrative moves between the NFL trenches, America's research labs and the boardrooms where the NFL went to war against science; it examines how the league used its power and resources to attack independent scientists and elevate its own flawed research.

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