Research on a link between playing in the NFL and dying from certain degenerative brain diseases received extensive coverage in print, online, and on the national broadcast news.
ABC World News (9/5, story 7, 1:50, Muir) reported, “Now, with football season here, a troubling new report tonight, we’ve long heard about the link between football and head injuries, concussions and tonight a new study finds the risks are even greater than we imagined — Alzheimer’s, Lou Gehrig’s Disease — a startling new reality check just as the season kicks off.”
The CBS Evening News (9/5, story 6, 2:45, Pelley) reported that the research, published “in the medical journal ‘Neurology,’ looks at what a career of collisions can do to the brain.”
USA Today (9/6, Lloyd, Mihoces) reports that the “study finds retired football players are three to four times more likely to die from diseases of the brain compared with the general population.” USA Today points out, “The NFL, which on Wednesday announced it had pledged $30 million for medical research to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, points to the steps it has taken in response to concerns about head injuries.”
The AP (9/6) reports, “NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the research could benefit athletes and potential areas of study may include CTE, concussion management and treatment and disorders from later in life such as Alzheimer’s.”
The New York Times (9/6, Tierney) “The Fifth Down” blog reports, “The findings were based on a review of death certificates by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” Researchers found that, “of the 334 player deaths prior to 2008 that were inspected, Alzheimer’s was an underlying or contributing factor in seven and Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in seven others. The rate for the general population is two in each category.”
— “Study Finds Increased Risks for N.F.L. Players, “Mike Tierney, The New York Times, September 6, 2012.