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The following is a letter released today by the Concussion Legacy Foundation from Lisa McHale, entitled:
A Selfless Act Can Make All The Difference
This year we have made enormous strides in the fight against the neurodegenerative disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
In 2008, I lost my husband Tom to CTE. The Concussion Legacy Foundation reached out to me, and Tom became the 2nd former NFL player diagnosed with the disease by our researchers at the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank.
Since then, I’ve joined the team as our Director of Family Relations, where I coordinate the clinical research process and provide comfort and support for our now hundreds of Legacy Families who have made the same decision to donate the brain of their loved one.
Every day it becomes more apparent how desperately we need an effective treatment for this disease, and I’m proud to say in 2016 we have taken major steps toward this goal. Earlier this year, Dr. Ann McKee led the development of the first government criteria for the pathological diagnosis of CTE. Our brain bank allowed for a study that discovered how CTE spreads. Finally, we’ve made progress on how CTE can be detected in the living. These three advancements are crucial steps toward finding a treatment for this devastating disease.
Researchers affiliated with the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank — which has diagnosed CTE in 220 brains, accounting for over 70 percent of the world’s cases — published 11 articles in medical journals this year. In addition, over 40 research projects from around the world have used tissue shared from the Brain Bank. This includes researchers from leading institutions including Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Mayo Clinic.
We never would have made this progress without the selfless contribution of our Legacy Donors (brain donors) and their families, who I have the honor of working with on a daily basis. Please take a moment and read the stories of those who make our research possible:
At its annual meeting Tuesday, the NFL instituted a measure whereby an independent official in the booth will be vested with the authority to call a medical timeout if a player appears woozy and in need of evaluation under the NFL’s concussion protocol.
Rich McKay, a co-chairman of the competition committee, told ESPN earlier this week that “the Edelman situation was a play we looked at and it was part of the issue. There were a couple of other plays that go back a couple of years that we looked at and really it came a little bit from the health and safety committee just saying, ‘We got the ATC spotters, they’ve got a really good vantage point, they’ve got technology in their booth, they’re communicating pretty well with our trainers and doctors and we’ve got a pretty good rhythm going there, why would we miss a player where a player shouldn’t come out?’
“And maybe this becomes the fail-safe. So that was the genesis of it. We do not expect this to be a rule that gets used a lot. We expect it to be a fail-safe when people just don’t see this player and the distress the player may have had, the ATC spotter does and stops the game.”