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Football, the American Tragedy: Public Ignorance Persists on a Major Health Crisis The NFL is receiving critical media attention for its failure to follow through with a promised commitment to advance scientific knowledge about the link between football and brain trauma. In 2012, the NFL promised $30 million to the National Institute of Health to help fund medical research related to the effects of football and concussions on mental health. But recent reporting suggests that the NFL only followed through with less than half of those funds, while ensuring that the money could not be used to fund a Boston University study on brain trauma and football, despite the “gift” supposedly coming with no strings attached. In the House of Representatives, an investigation from the Committee on Energy and Commerce concluded that the NFL acted “improperly in attempting to influence the outcome” of the grant-funding process, and as related to the Boston University study. To make matters worse for the NFL’s public image, new medical research also spotlights the negative health effects of playing football. The most recent study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) adds to an already sizable volume of research documenting the negative health consequences associated with the sport. The study speaks to broader concerns over the progressive, degenerative brain disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). For those not familiar with CTE, it is caused by trauma via repeated hits to the head, which lead to the buildup of tau protein in the brain. The disease destroys neural pathways in the brain and is characterized by various symptoms, including confusion, memory loss,...
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