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NFL: The Game Destroying The Brains & Lives Of Some Of America’s Finest Athletes

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“In football, one has to expect that almost every play of every game and practice, they are going to be hitting their heads against each other. Each time that happens, it’s around 20 G’s or more. That is the equivalent of driving a car at 35 miles into a brick wall. A thousand to 1500 times per year.”

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 —Robert Stern, PhD Neuropsychologist (featured in the frontline documentary Why The NFL Should Be Scared Of Chris Borland)

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Can you imagine being hit in the head constantly with an impact similar to that of hitting a brick wall, and how you might feel the more it happened? Each one of those hits could be potentially damaging for you, let alone having them happen again and again, year after year.

If you’ve ever watched an NFL game, you’re likely unsurprised to hear how dangerous this sport can be. If those big shoulder guards and helmets are any indication, this is not a sport for the faint of heart. It’s rough, requires enormous strength, speed, and agility, and only a select few can make it to the big time.

For many young boys, often their dream is to end up playing in the big leagues, becoming a super wealthy sports star. If they play in college, but don’t get picked up by the professional league, it can completely crush their dreams.

But this rejection may actually be a huge blessing in disguise. That is because, playing in the professional NFL may actually destroy your life.

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Tens Of Thousands Of High Impact Hits To The Brain Over The Life Of A Professional Player

By the time someone has finished college football, it is estimated that they will have received an alarming 8000 high impact hits alone (1). When you add a professional football career spanning many years, that number increases dramatically.

Take away the glamour and prestige of the game, and think about it just in terms of these high impacts, and it might not take a lot to see: it’s a very dangerous game for long-term health. Many of the NFL fans out there are still perhaps not aware that a large number of players have died due to these impacts, and some in the most brutal and gruesome ways.

“In my opinion, taking professional football players as a cohort, I think over 90% of American football players suffer from this disease. Over 90% of players who play to the professional level have some degree of this disease. I have not examined any brain of a retired football player that came back negative.”

— Dr. Omalu, speaking to Time Magazine

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CTE: Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

Dr. Bennet Omalu, who holds four board certifications in Anatomic Pathology, Clinical Pathology, Forensic Pathology, and Neuropathology, began investigating what could be happening to these players and discovered that Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy [CTE] was a disease affecting many professional footballers.

CTE (2) is a degenerative disease found in people who have had severe blows to the head. It can occur from even one hit to the head. Professional football players are at the greatest risk of developing CTE. It is now thought that professional NFL players have a whopping 90% chance of developing brain disorders and/or early death.  Those with CTE are found to have an increased buildup of the protein Tau. The changes to the brain can begin after one hit, months, years, or even decades after the last hit (3).

Dr. Omalu first came across the case of Mike Webster, who played as a centre for the Pittsburgh Steelers for over 15 years. Some still call him one of the greatest NFL players ever to play the sport. Mike played an estimated 245 professional games.

To give you an idea of how many high impact hits in the head Mike may have received, just in these games, and with the estimation from college football games also included, Mike is likely to have received 17,800 hits. To put this into a different perspective, Mike may as well have been in 25,000 automobile accidents.

Absolutely astounding to say the least.

Mike’s life ended in tragedy. He suffered from amnesia, depression, and dementia. Despite having offers of places to live, he ended up living all alone in his pick-up truck.

What happened to Mike is not an isolated case. To see how many former players have had CTE confirmed after death, please see this alarming compilation here.

Terry Long, who played in 108 NFL games, is a truly tragic case. He drank a gallon of anti-freeze to kill himself. He had been experiencing extreme mental issues such as hearing voices. Terry was perfectly healthy before he played in the NFL.

There have also been several murders and suicides linked to CTE where a football player, Jovan Belcher, killed his girlfriend, and then himself.  OJ Simpson, who allegedly killed two people, was a huge football star for many years, and it is speculated that he may too have suffered from CTE, which is proven to affect mood and behaviour. the-science-behind-head-injuries

NFL Worth Billions; CTE Threatens Big Money

Dr. Omalu then went on to write a landmark study on CTE, which he brought to the NFL. While the clinical findings were overwhelming, the NFL (with the 32 teams being worth an estimated combined $63 billion) denied CTE was happening. They simply did not want to know. Many of its leaders were interviewed on TV and said that the sport was ‘safe’ and had ‘zero’ risk of brain injury.

One who denied CTE was Dave Duerson, who played for several NFL teams during his career; he vehemently disagreed that CTE was a problem within the NFL. In a sad and ironic twist of fate, Dave committed suicide in 2011. His brain was sent for further study and it was found that he too, had CTE.

In the movie Concussion (released December 2015), which is about CTE and the NFL (Will Smith plays Dr. Omalu), the viewer sees that the NFL have behaved just like other powerful entities that have a lot of money at stake — when they see a pressing problem they simply chose to deny and hide it.  Dr. Omalu spent much of his own money carrying out the study and also ended up being ridiculed and threatened by those close to the NFL. Despite there being so much evidence now that he is right, Omalu today is still often discredited.

“My son is 6. I wouldn’t let my six-year-old son near any football field. And if any coach asks my son to play football, I’ll sue that coach, and I’ll sue the school.”

– Dr. Bennett Omalu, speaking to Time

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Chris Borland AKA The Most Dangerous Man In Football

How are some of the players dealing with the issue of CTE? Many choose to ignore it but some have not. Chris Borland was a rising star in the NFL world. He was signed to the San Francisco 49ers and had a very ‘bright’ future ahead of him. Yet after only a year of playing in the big leagues, he quit. His reasoning? He had researched CTE and saw that he was at great risk of developing this and chose to end his career, putting his health first.

To the powerful NFL, what he has done is very threatening to the league.  The game makes many billions each year, with the owners of the teams often being worth a billion (or 2 or 3) alone.

Chris spoke about this in an episode of Frontline which you can see below:

“The NFL is smart, they are scared of Chris Borland and the people that will come after them.”

— Chris Nowinski, Executive Director, Concussion Legacy Foundation

NFL Concussion Settlement: 20,000 Players Suing

Since the NFL had prior knowledge of CTE, many players have now sued for not being informed about the risks they would be taking by having a professional football career. It is estimated that 20,000 men are involved in this lawsuit.

Where To From Here? Can The NFL Be Safer?

America’s most loved and lucrative game isn’t going to end anytime soon. The only hope we have is making it safer, but is that even possible? Improvements so far which have been helping to improve the chances of delaying CTE are: longer time spent off the field after a high impact tackle or hit (to allow the brain to rest), new designs of helmets such as the Procap, and new rules to the game. While these may help, it’s perhaps nowhere near enough to decrease the risks of CTE in a way that is going to make a profound improvement.

The game itself would have to be completely changed to make CTE something that doesn’t happen in the extremes it is. So it seems the answer is no, the NFL can’t ever be risk free.

The only thing we can do is hope that players have much more knowledge about what they might be getting themselves into. I wish they would realize that money and fame cannot do a thing to make CTE go away once it’s affected the brain. And experiencing the severe mental problems such as some of the now deceased players have experienced, is something that you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemy.

Do People Love NFL For The Wrong Reasons?

I’m ending this on a personal note: I didn’t grow up in America so seeing NFL games is not something that I was at all used to. The first time I ever saw one on TV, I was stunned at how rough it was. It just looked like a game to me that had impossible odds to avoid these high impacts and at times what seemed like near-death accidents. It boggles my mind that just like boxing, it’s something that has become so popular today.

It begs the question: is there perhaps something very wrong with a society that seems to enjoy seeing grown men experience these horrific body slams, the occasional breaking of limbs, and intense head impacts that just make you cringe and feel a bit sick to the stomach because you know that what you just saw has hurt a heck of a lot?

You can also find many clips on Youtube like this one with titles like ‘20 of the Most Gruesome NFL Injuries Ever.’ I couldn’t even bring myself to watch it.

Is all of this violence in sports perhaps a slight throwback to the Roman times where men would be released into a pit and have to fight off lions, and the more gory it was, the louder the cheers?

I know, I’m ‘just’ a woman — I hear some of you saying — who doesn’t ‘get’ what its like to be in a man’s world or understand the skill of this sport. But come on, there’s something seriously awry here. Men are dying, and the odds aren’t good. There will definitely be more, and we can bet on that.

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Vancouver Council Votes Against Mandatory Mask Mandate: They’re Not Required

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Vancouver, Canada will not have a required mask policy in civic facilities, and instead will simply recommend that people wear them.

  • Reflect On:

    Should governments recommend what they feel we should do and present the science instead of forcing certain measures on the population that many people and health professionals clearly disagree with?

What Happened: The city of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada will not mandate masks inside city buildings and will “strongly encourage” people to wear them instead. This is a bold move as many cities across the globe have mandatory mask measures in place.

The proposal by Counc. Sarah Kirby-Yung, which would have required masks inside city buildings, was opposed by more than a dozen speakers who pleaded with the city council to vote against it.

“Please consider our forefathers fought for our freedom, and if we release that choice, it’s the first step towards a dictatorship,” said one speaker according to City News. “Masks are used as weapons and they have certainly been used as weapons against me and others to silence and marginalize us and it’s not fair.”

According to Coun. Christine Boyle, public health experts encourage wearing masks, but a mandatory policy is not needed.

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Positive Association Found Amongst COVID Deaths & Flu Shot Rates Worldwide In Elderly

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A recently published paper has found a positive association between COVID-19 deaths and influenza vaccination rates in elderly people worldwide.

  • Reflect On:

    Why does vaccine hesitancy continue to grow worldwide? What's going on? What information/factors are contributing to this hesitancy?

What Happened: A recently published study in PeerJ  by Christian Wehenkel, a Professor at Universidad Juárez del Estado de Durango in Mexico, has found a positive association between COVID-19 deaths and influenza vaccination rates in elderly people worldwide.

According to the study, “The results showed a positive association between COVID-19 deaths and IVR (influenza vaccination rate) of people ≥65 years-old. There is a significant increase in COVID-19 deaths from eastern to western regions in the world. Further exploration is needed to explain these findings, and additional work on this line of research may lead to prevention of deaths associated with COVID-19.”

To determine this association, data sets from 39 countries with more than half a million people were analyzed.

The study was published on October 1st, and two weeks later a note from the publisher appeared atop the paper emphasizing that correlation does not equal causation, and that this paper “should not be taken to suggest that receiving the influenza vaccination results in an increased risk of death for an individual with COVID-19 as there may be confounding factors at play.”

The paper provides evidence from others which have recently been published that ponder if the flu shot could increase ones chance of contracting and dying from COVID-19.

For example, this study published in April of 2020, reported a negative correlation between influenza vaccination rates (IVRs) and COVID-19 related mortality and morbidity. Marín-Hernández, Schwartz & Nixon (2020) also showed epidemiological evidence of an association between higher influenza vaccine uptake by elderly people and lower percentage of COVID-19 deaths in Italy, which directly contradicts the author’s own findings and suggests that the flu shot may help prevent COVID-19 related deaths.

He goes on to mention another study:

In a study analyzing 92,664 clinically and molecularly confirmed COVID-19 cases in Brazil, Fink et al. (2020) reported that patients who received a recent flu vaccine experienced on average 17% lower odds of death. Moreover, Pawlowski et al. (2020) analyzed the immunization records of 137,037 individuals who tested positive in a SARS-CoV-2 PCR. They found that polio, Hemophilus influenzae type-B, measles-mumps-rubella, varicella, pneumococcal conjugate (PCV13), geriatric flu, and hepatitis A/hepatitis B (HepA-HepB) vaccines, which had been administered in the past 1, 2, and 5 years, were associated with decreased SARS-CoV-2 infection rates.

So, its important to mention that correlations between the flu vaccine have also found that it may decrease ones chance of deaths from COVID-19.

But are there studies that have shown an increased chance of death or contracting other respiratory viruses as a result of getting the flu shot? Yes.

That’s also discussed in the paper. For example, he mentions a paper published in 2018:

In a study with 6,120 subjects, Wolff (2020) reported that influenza vaccination was significantly associated with a higher risk of some other respiratory diseases, due to virus interference. In a specific examination of non-influenza viruses, the odds of coronavirus infection (but not the COVID-19 virus) in vaccinated individuals were significantly higher, when compared to unvaccinated individuals (odds ratio = 1.36).

The study above found the flu shot to increase the risk of other coronaviruses among those who had been vaccinated for influenza by 36 percent. The study was conducted prior to COVID-19, so it’s not included and only applies to pre-existing coronaviruses. The study also found an even higher chance of contracting human metapneumovirus amongst those who had received the flu shot.

Below are some more studies regarding the flu shot and viral infections that hint to the same idea.

  • 2018 CDC study (Rikin et al 2018) found that flu shots increase the risk of non-flu acute respiratory illnesses (ARIs), including coronavirus, in children.
  • A 2011 Australian study (Kelly et al 2011) found that flu shots doubled the risk for non-flu viral lung infections.
  • 2012 Hong Kong study (Cowling et al 2012) found that flu shots increase the risk for non-flu respiratory infections by 4.4 times.
  • 2017 study (Mawson et al 2017) found vaccinated children were 5.9 times more likely to suffer pneumonia than their unvaccinated peers.

Why This Is Important: We live in an age where vaccinations are heavily marketed. We’ve seen this with the flu shot time and time again and we are also living in an age where a push for more mandated vaccines seems to be growing.

Dr. Peter Doshi is an associate editor at The BMJ (British Medical Journal) and also an assistant professor of pharmaceutical health services research at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. He published a paper in The BMJ titled “Influenza: Marketing Vaccines By Marketing Disease.”  In it,  he points out that the CDC pledges “to base all public health decisions on the highest quality of scientific data, openly and objectively derived,” and how this isn’t the case when it comes to the flu vaccine and its marketing. He stresses that “the vaccine may be less beneficial and less safe than has been claimed, and that “the threat of influenza seems to be overstated.”

This is a touchy subject that dives into medical ethics and the connections that big pharmaceutical companies have with our federal health regulatory agencies and health associations. Vaccines are a multi billion dollar industry.

At a recent World Health Organization conference on vaccine safety, it was expressed that vaccine hesitancy is growing at quite a fast pace, especially among doctors who are now becoming hesitant to recommend certain vaccines on the schedule. You can read more about that and find links to the conference here.

We have to ask ourselves, why is this happening? Is it because people and professionals are becoming aware of certain information that warrants the freedom of choice? Should freedom of choice with regards to what we put in our body always remain? Are we really protecting the “herd” by taking these actions?

In a 2014 analysis in the Oregon Law Review by New York University (NYU) legal scholars Mary Holland and Chase E. Zachary (who also has a Princeton-conferred doctorate in chemistry), the authors show that 60 years of compulsory vaccine policies “have not attained herd immunity for any childhood disease.” It is time, they suggest, to cast aside coercion in favor of voluntary choice.

When it comes to the flu shot, I put more information and science as to why so many people seem to refuse it, in this article if interested.

The University of California is currently being sued for mandating the flu shot for all staff, faculty and students. A judge has prevented them from doing so as a result until a decision has been made. You can read more about that here.

In South Korea, 48 people have now died after receiving the flu shot this season causing a lot of controversy. You can read more about that here.

The Takeaway: There are many concerns with vaccines, and vaccine injury is one of them. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act has paid more than $4 billion to families of vaccine injured children. A 2010 HHS pilot study by the Federal Agency for Health Care Research (AHCR) found that 1 in every 39 vaccines causes injury, a shocking comparison to the claims from the CDC of 1 in every million.

Should these statistics alone warrant the freedom of choice? Should the government have the ability to force us into measures, or would it simply be better for them to present the science, make recommendations and urge people to follow them? When the citizenry is forced and coerced into certain actions, sometimes under the guise of good-will, there always seems to be a tremendous amount of uproar and people who disagree. Why are these people silenced? Why are they censored? Why are they ridiculed? Why don’t independent health organizations receive the same voice and reach that government and state “owned” or organizations do? What’s going on here? Do we really live in a free, open and transparent world or are we simply subjected to massive amounts of perception manipulation?

When it come to the flu shot there is plenty of information on both sides of the coin that point to its effectiveness, and on the other hand there is information that points to the complete opposite. When something is not 100 percent clear, freedom of choice in all places should always remain, in my opinion.

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Some South Korean Doctors & Politicians Call To Stop Flu Shots After 48 People Die

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The number of South Koreans who have died after getting flu shots has risen to 48, but health authorities in South Korea have found no link between the vaccine and the deaths.

  • Reflect On:

    Is the flu shot as safe as it's marketed to be?

What Happened: It’s that time of year and flu shot programs are rolling out across the globe. The number of South Koreans who have died after getting the flu shot has now risen to 48 and some South Korean doctors and politicians have called to stop flu shots as a result, according to Reuters. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) has decided not to stop the program, and that flu vaccines would continue to be given and will reduce the chance of having simultaneous epidemics in the era of COVID-19.

Health authorities in South Korea have explained that they’ve found no direct link between these deaths and the shots. KDCA Director Jeong Eun-kyung said, “After reviewing death cases so far, it is not the time to suspend a flu vaccination programme since vaccination is very crucial this year, considering…the COVID-19 outbreaks.”

According to Reuters, “Some initial autopsy results from the police and the National Forensic Service showed that 13 people died of cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and other disorders not caused by the vaccination.”

The South Korean government is hopeful to vaccinate approximately 30 million of the country’s 54 million people.

Concerns Some People Have With The Flu Shot: One concern many people seem to have is the worry of a severe adverse reaction.

Dr. Alvin Moss, MD and professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine emphasizes in this video:

The flu vaccine happens to be the vaccine that causes the most injury in this country. The vaccine injury compensation program, 40 percent of all vaccinations in this country are flu shots, but 60 percent of all the compensations are for the flu vaccine. So a disproportionate number of  vaccine related injuries are the flu shot.

Moss is one of many who believe that the flu vaccine is not as effective as it’s been marketed to be. For example,  A study recently published in Global Advances In Health & Medicine titled “Ascorbate as Prophylaxis and Therapy for COVID-19—Update From Shanghai and U.S. Medical Institutions outlines the following:

Recently outlined A recent consensus statement from a group of renowned infectious disease clinicians observed that vaccine programs have proven ill-suited to the fast-changing viruses underlying these illnesses, with efficacy ranging from 19% to 54% in the past few years.

Dr. Peter Doshi is an associate editor at The BMJ (British Medical Journal)  published a paper in The BMJ titled “Influenza: Marketing Vaccines By Marketing Disease.”  In it,  he points out that the CDC pledges “to base all public health decisions on the highest quality of scientific data, openly and objectively derived,” and how this isn’t the case when it comes to the flu vaccine and its marketing. He stresses that “the vaccine may be less beneficial and less safe than has been claimed, and that “the threat of influenza seems to be overstated.”

These are just a few examples out of many claiming that the flu shot has not really been effective, opposing others that claim it is.  Mercury that’s still present in some flu shots also seems to be a concern.

The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act has paid more than $4 billion to families of vaccine injured children. A 2010 HHS pilot study by the Federal Agency for Health Care Research (AHCR) found that 1 in every 39 vaccines causes injury, a shocking comparison to the claims from the CDC of 1 in every million.

Professor Heidi Larson, a Professor of Anthropology and the Risk and Decision Scientist Director at the Vaccine Confidence Project stated at a World Health Organization (WHO) conference that more doctors are starting to be hesitant when it comes to recommending vaccines.

The other thing that’s a trend, and an issue, is not just confidence in providers but confidence of health care providers, we have a very wobbly health professional frontline that is starting to question vaccines and the safety of vaccines. That’s a huge problem, because to this day any study I’ve seen… still, the most trusted person on any study I’ve seen globally is the health care provider…

This is no secret, and actions against mandates are being taken. The University of California was recently sued for making the flu shot mandatory. That trial will begin soon, and you can read more about it here, and find information regarding the claim that the flu shot can help in the times of COVID-19.

The Takeaway: We are living in an age of extreme censorship of information, no matter how credible or how much evidence is provided, information that goes against the grain always seems to receive a harsh backlash from mainstream media as well as social media outlets. Why is there a digital fact checker patrolling the internet? Should people not have the right to examine information openly and freely and determine for themselves what is and what isn’t?

As far as vaccines are concerned, despite the fact that there are many safety issues the scientific community  is bringing up, a push for vaccine mandates continues and the idea that we are protecting other people is usually the narrative that’s pushed hard. Vaccine skepticism is growing at a fast pace among people of all professions, and people aren’t stupid. There’s a reason why more and more people are starting to question what we’ve been told for years, and those reasons should be acknowledged and openly discussed amongst people on both sides of the coin.

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