Category Archives: College

Comment by McKee in ‘League of Denial’ Takes a Hit

The shocking comment was featured in the trailer for “League of Denial” and at the beginning of the 2-hour special, which aired on Frontline Tuesday night.

“I’m really wondering if at some level every single football player has this,” said Boston University neuropathologist Ann McKee, in speaking about chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

The opinion of McKee isn’t to be taken lightly, given that she has studied the brains of 46 ex-NFL players, and found CTE in 45 of them. At the same time, the comment seems to brush past the notion that people are affected differently by concussions and subconcussive hits.

Brian Hainline, a neurologist who became the NCAA’s Chief Medical Officer in January, told the Birmingham News in a story that ran Wednesday that there is no data to prove that athletes who suffer concussions are more susceptible to long-term brain injuries.

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“The overwhelming majority of athletes who have a concussion, they recover from a concussion,” he told the paper. “I think there’s a subgroup of athletes who either have a genetic susceptibility or they have repeated concussions or subconcussions and the brain has not gone into recovery mode and they become susceptible to long-term brain issues.”

Hainline noted that many people, who suffer from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s diseases, have never experienced head trauma. The paper paraphrased Hainline as saying CTE has features of those diseases, but the science is evolving. “Theories such as genetics, drug use, stimulants and psychiatric disease are ‘very possible reasons’ some players absorb subconcussive impacts worse than others,” the article continued.

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Canadian Football Player Sues University over Concussion

(Editor’s Note: Jon Heshka, Associate Dean of Law at Thompson Rivers University, recently provided his expert analysis on a recent lawsuit brought by a student athlete in Canada against Bishop’s University)

A victim of bad timing following the NFL’s $765 million settlement with ex-football players in which the league admitted no wrongdoing in relation to brain injuries sustained on the playing field, a Canadian football player has sued his former university for brain injuries sustained during a 2011 game.John_Heshka24982

Former defensive end Kevin Kwasny has sued Bishop’s University – based in Sherbrooke, Quebec – in a Manitoba court for $7.5 million alleging he was forced to play despite having symptoms of a concussion during a September 10, 2011 game.

Kwasny alleges he took a blow to his head during the game and told multiple members of the coaching staff that he felt dizzy, had blurred vision and felt like he had “his bell rung.” He further alleges that he was ordered to play despite having these concussion symptoms.

Shortly after returning to the field, Kwasny was hit again and suffered a subdural hematoma (bleeding on the brain). Emergency surgery was performed and he was put in a medically-induced coma. Kwasny now has permanent brain damage and has lost use of the right side of his body. The statement of claim says he will never be able to work again.

Kwasny alleges that coaches and trainers failed to assess him for signs and/or symptoms of a concussion or head injury as required or at all.

Bishop’s University Principal and Vice-Chancellor denies the university did anything wrong saying, “Our football program, our coaches, our medical staff would not allow an athlete to go back on the field if there was any indication of head trauma.” At the time, coaches reviewed game film and were unable to pinpoint any hit or play that caused an injury.

Though they had yet to receive a copy of the statement of claim and were unable to comment specifically, Bishop’s University released a statement saying that a thorough review had been undertaken which showed that from the moment the sports medicine team and coaching staff became aware of a potential injury they took all necessary precautions to ensure Kwasny received immediate medical care.

Bishop’s University has yet to file a statement of defense. None of these allegations have been proven in court.

(Heshka went on to write about case law that is relevant to the instant lawsuit as well as strategies that may be employed. To read the full story, visit https://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/concussion-litigation-reporter/)

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Valdosta State Says It is Cycling Out Old Helmets

The Valdosta State athletic department revealed recently that it has spent more than $10,000 on at least 20 additional Riddell and Schutt football helmets in its continuing bid to enhance the safety of student athletes.

VSU athletic director Herb Reinhard told the media that “what we do at Valdosta State and what you see across college football is that schools are looking at their equipment—making sure they’ve got the most up-to-date equipment.”schutt-vengeance-1

Reinhard added that the introduction of safer helmets is part of an ongoing campaign.

“We’ve added about 80 helmets over the last two years,” Reinhard said. “We’ve been able to put more helmets into our inventory to cycle out older or simply adequate helmets.”

VSU Director of Sports Medicine Russ Hoff said the school uses the rating system developed by Virginia Tech in selecting helmets.

“We looked at helmets that were rated highly on Virginia Tech’s star-rating system,” he said. “We got more than one vendor because helmets fit people differently. We’ve diversified our inventory by manufacturer but we still utilize the star-rating system to choose what are considered higher-quality helmets.”

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