Concussion Legacy Foundation Issues Statement About Irv Cross’ Passing

From the CLF:

The Concussion Legacy Foundation was profoundly saddened to learn of the loss of former NFL cornerback and broadcasting legend Irv Cross at the age of 81. Our thoughts are with Irv’s wife Liz, his four children, and the entire Cross family.

Cross was a two-time Pro Bowl selection with the Philadelphia Eagles and one of the best defensive backs in the 1960s. After his playing career, he became a broadcasting pioneer as the first Black sportscaster on national television for CBS’ NFL Today and was a staple of NFL broadcasts for 23 seasons. In his 70s, Cross received a diagnosis of mild cognitive dementia. He bravely went public with his diagnosis and symptoms to help others, and he pledged to donate his brain to the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank to advance research. Irv’s brain has since been donated to the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank for research on CTE.

Always a trailblazer, Cross advocated for the first ever Pop Warner flag football league when he was chairman of the Pop Warner 50th Anniversary Celebration in 1979. Members of the CLF staff had the unique honor of visiting Cross in late 2018 to interview him on his endorsement of Flag Football Under 14, our campaign to educate parents on the risks of youth tackle football. We were inspired by Irv’s courage to publicly pledge his brain for research and speak out against youth tackle football, all in the name of making the game he loved safer.

In lieu of flowers, the Cross family has asked for donations to be sent to the Concussion Legacy Foundation or to the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation. Those interested in donating to CLF in Cross’ memory can do so at give.classy.org/ConcussionFoundation

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CLF co-founders react to concerning new study data: “Who will protect the brains of college football players?”

CLF’s co-founders Christopher Nowinski, Ph.D. and Robert Cantu, M.D. have advocated for more than a decade that the best way to reduce the negative outcomes of brain trauma in football is to reduce hitting in practice.

A new study published this week in JAMA Neurology found that 72% of concussions in college football over 5 seasons happened in practice, not games. What’s more, the two men note, while preseason training accounted for only around one-fifth of the time researchers studied, nearly half of concussions occurred during this period.

Nowinski and Cantu wrote an accompanying editorial, also published in JAMA Neurology, reacting to the findings.

They wrote: “Ultimately, whether college football players experience preventable concussions in practice or preventable degenerative brain diseases is in the hands of football coaches, football conferences, schools, and the NCAA, none of whom have done enough to reform college football practice, which leads us to ask: who will protect the brains of college football players?”

Click here to read the op-ed from Dr. Robert Cantu and Chris Nowinski, Ph.D.

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Aerobic Exercise or Rest after a Sports-related Concussion?

What follows is a recent research report for the American Academy of Sports Medicine:

Rest has long been the cornerstone of health care professionals’ recommendations for optimal recovery from a sports-related concussion. A recently published systematic review suggests that gradually resuming aerobic exercise like cycling and running as early as three days after a concussion is safe and likely beneficial in reducing symptoms as long as exertion does not result in worsening of symptoms. This systematic review examined seven randomized clinical trials (total of 326 adolescents) comparing the effectiveness of exercise programs to relative rest following a sports-related concussion. The intensity of aerobic exercises varied between studies from low to moderate. Although limitations to some of the included studies were found, taken together, these studies show that aerobic exercise is not associated with more adverse events compared to rest and that it is likely beneficial in reducing the intensity of symptoms such as headache and dizziness. In clinical practice, the results of this study suggest that, even in the presence of residual concussion symptoms after a brief initial rest period, clinicians could recommend a gradual progression toward moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, as long as activity does not result in an increase of symptoms.

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