League of Denial

League of Denial

The NFL, Concussions, and the Battle for Truth

eBook - 2013
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""Professional football players do not sustain frequent repetitive blows to the brain on a regular basis." So concluded the National Football League in a December 2005 scientific paper on concussions in America's most popular sport. That judgment, implausible even to a casual fan, also contradicted the opinion of a growing cadre of neuroscientists who worked in vain to convince the NFL that it was facing a deadly new scourge: a chronic brain disease that was driving an alarming number of players--including some of the all-time greats--to madness. 'League of Denial' reveals how the NFL, over a period of nearly two decades, sought to cover up and deny mounting evidence of the connection between football and brain damage. Comprehensively, and for the first time, award-winning ESPN investigative reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru tell the story of a public health crisis that emerged from the playing fields of our 21st century pastime. Everyone knew that football is violent and dangerous. But what the players who built the NFL into a $10 billion industry didn't know--and what the league sought to shield from them--is that no amount of padding could protect the human brain from the force generated by modern football; that the very essence of the game could be exposing these players to brain damage. In a fast-paced narrative that moves between the NFL trenches, America's research labs and the boardrooms where the NFL went to war against science, 'League of Denial' examines how the league used its power and resources to attack independent scientists and elevate its own flawed research--a campaign with echoes of Big Tobacco's fight to deny the connection between smoking and lung cancer. It chronicles the tragic fates of players like Hall of Fame Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster, who was so disturbed at the time of his death he fantasized about shooting NFL executives; and former Chargers great Junior Seau, whose diseased brain became the target of an unseemly scientific battle between researchers and the NFL. Based on exclusive interviews, previously undisclosed documents and private emails, this is the story of what the NFL knew and when it knew it--questions at the heart of crisis that threatens football, from the highest levels all the way down to Pop Warner."--Publisher description.
Publisher: New York : Crown Archetype, c2013.
ISBN: 9780770437558
Characteristics: 1 online resource.
Subjects: National Football League.
Electronic books.
Brain -- Wounds and injuries.
Sports injuries.
Football -- Moral and ethical aspects -- United States.
Sports medicine -- United States.
Brain -- Concussion -- United States.
Football injuries -- United States.
Additional Contributors: Fainaru, Steve

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jswolfmcguire
Mar 10, 2014

This is a stunning book that reads like a mystery novel so save a long weekend to read because you won't be able to put it down. It fills in a lot more detail than the PBS program based on this book could cover. As a lifelong football and Chiefs fan, I was shocked at the NFL's cold denial of the concussion problem and the heartbreaking downhill slide of some of the players mentioned. I cringed at the stories of suicide and health problems and even Jim McMahon, the 80's playboy of Chicago, said he sometimes can't remember his way home now. Remember Nick Nolte in "North Dallas Forty" who can't sleep with the pain in his body? However, my opinion of Carl Peterson was raised a bit when reading of his kindness to Mike Webster in his later years at Arrowhead. Still, it's very worrisome remembering the Jovan Belcher incident in 2012 and Jamal Charles' concussion last November. It will leave readers wondering what else will happen in future. Reminds me of the old saying that NFL means "Not For Long".

e
eastvanbookfan
Nov 12, 2013

As a football junkie I'm probably giving it a star or two more than it deserves but I really enjoyed the book. Now there is a story about bullying in the Miami Dolphin lockerroom. All ties into the same stuff, IMO. In other words, the culture must change so that these human beings don't just exist for our entertainment. Yes, they get paid very well, but I don't want my entertainment to be why they have to live shorter lives.....

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