Dec 2013

‘Tradition is a terrible reason to give people avoidable brain damage’ – Chris Nowinski
“I don’t like that term ‘integrity of the game’. You do what’s right for the player, regardless of the risk of cheating, that to me is integrity. If you say the integrity of the score is more important than a player’s health, you’ve got your priorities wrong.”

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On collision course with tragedy
The theme is simple enough: getting banged in the head repeatedly is bad for your health. So bad in fact that your brain may well rot, leaving you to live out the last years of your shortened life with dementia. If you are lucky then none of this will come to your neighbourhood, let alone your front door. If you are less fortunate then it may arrive and ring your bell, and stay a while before moving on. Or worse.

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Concussion in sport: a clip from the film Head Games – video

In this clip from Head Games, a documentary film about sports-related head injuries, neuropathologist Doug Smith from the University of Pennsylvania explains with the aid of graphics (and a bit of Play-Doh) what happens inside the brain when you are concussed while playing sport

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"We only catch 10 per cent of concussions" - Chris Nowinski
"Even if we think that someone gets a concussion and we hold them out for a month and think they have recovered, that's like when we learned that smoking caused lung cancer, we tried light cigarettes. Turned out in didn't work. It's not going to be just holding athletes out for concussions. We have to separate how we think about sports and child development. Rugby and American football were all invented for college age athletes and adults. It's crazy that we have 10-year-old's playing by the same rules when they don't have the physical maturity to take on the injury. The idea that you can whack them as hard in the head is just crazy."

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