Dissecting the brain of a football player


36 Responses to “Dissecting the brain of a football player”

  1. Antinous / Moderator says:


  2. Ashcan says:

    I’ve heard that former NFL players often end up totally disabled at a quite young age due to the wear on their bodies. Hulk Hogan, former pro wrestling idol has had both hips replaced and I imagine other parts too. I live in a city where the industries have long since moved on. What you see on the streets are men and women whose bodies are worn and bowed by long hours on the production line.

  3. That was pretty amazing. Hard to imagine that all of THIS ( i.e. the Universe ) is contained within so small a space of meat.

    The whole thing is an Illusion.

  4. Teller says:

    I appreciate contact sports. Hope it brings about significant concussion research. Sorry it’s all too late for the guys from the era of “hah, he really got his bell rung.”

  5. grima says:

    DAE think “Fava beans and a nice chianti?” Hmm?  No?  

  6. millie fink says:

    So good to see this kind of work being done on such a large and growing scale. Football-induced brain injuries are a national disgrace in the U.S., the result for so many players AND families and friends of a bloodlust among too much of the American populace. 

    I stopped watching football a long time ago because I know what those games, put on for my mere entertainment, do to the players’ bodies and minds and emotions and psychology. Enjoying football while blocking out that awareness is one thing, plain and simple–a spectatorial pathology.

    • Spriggan_Prime says:

      Why the American specific hate? Rugby and Soccer players aren’t exactly delicate flowers on the field. Most sports incur physical harm and more so at the pursuit of a pro level paycheck.

      • millie fink says:

        Cuz I’m a Murican. And I don’t watch Rugby. As for any claim that soccer debilitates like American football does–puhleeeze.

        • Spriggan_Prime says:

          As a ‘Murican you probably also know dick about other sports.


          My point being, if you find a bunch of millionaire slamming into each other a sport I don’t boohoo over their brain damage after the fact. Just park’em in one of their Ferrari on their mansion lawns and have their certified asswiper check on them now and again.

          • millie fink says:

            The gross-out page you linked is all about broken legs and ankles (and what sentient adult doesn’t know those happen in soccer?), nothing about the MUCH more debilitating results of brain injury (again, debilitating not only to the players, but also to those they know). 

            Does the level of long-term debilitation caused by brain injuries in soccer come anywhere near that of American football? If not, you’re off topic, at best.

          • AlexG55 says:

            They used to in the old days- the leather ball was very heavy when it became waterlogged, and frequent heading took its toll. Of course, with more modern balls that don’t absorb as much water, plus advances in tactics that mean “hoof it up the field for someone to head it” is less common, the risk is a lot smaller now.

        • 秀平 月 says:

          Soccer doesn’t (or at least shouldn’t) involve being knocked over all the time, true. On the other hand, getting hit on the (unprotected) head with a ball at high speed is an integral part of soccer. As far as I’m concerned, traumatic brain injuries are more debilitating than other injuries.

          • millie fink says:

            Interesting. I wonder if that results in the kind of, and rate of, long-term debilitation that results from the innumerable concussive headshots in American football. Anyone know of studies on this?

      • Jay Converse says:

        Rugby and non-American football players don’t surround themselves with plastic that lets them collide at effective speeds of 40 Mph and greater.  The impact of flesh upon flesh instead of pad upon pad makes the sport become self-regulating.

      • robuluz says:

        Rugby and Soccer players aren’t exactly delicate flowers on the field.

        Well, Rugby players aren’t, at any rate.

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          And off the field?

          • robuluz says:

            Australian Rugby players are known the world over for their intellect and grace. Many of them, particularly NRL players, read their own work at poetry open mike evenings.

    • Gulliver says:

      Tackle football is brutal helmet or no helmet (and this comes from
      someone who’s practiced competitive martial arts since age eight). Tag
      football’s a lot of fun though, and much healthier. Still, I haven’t
      heard many American ex-pro football players say they’d wish they’d never
      played. Glad they’re backing this research; it could help them and a lot
      of other people. But I’m not going to shed any tears over people who
      have the talent, fortune and work ethic to play pro sports. Not sure
      where the bloodlust comes in…I think you might be thinking of hockey

      I personally don’t see the appeal of spectator sports. Watching other
      people have fun is tedious and boring. So whether they’re achieving
      their dreams or being coerced to fight in a gladiator ring, I’m not
      enabling them to do it.

      Soccer, at least at the high school level I played it years ago, is
      dangerous primarily to the shins, calves and heels. I do kind of enjoy
      watching pro footballers – they’re like ninja acrobats when they
      grandstand – but I still can’t through a whole game.

  7. Mary Holmes says:

    It’s not just NFL player’s. This is proof that any kind of concussion to the head cause injury to the brain and repeated concussion whether mild or heavy cause injury. Kids playing football taking blow after blow, game after game will end up with brain damage. Car accidents, motorcycle accidents – helmet or not, four wheelers, and IED’s, etc. cause BRAIN DAMAGE. When will people realize that a Tramatic Brain Injury doesn’t have to have a scare to be serious. It’s not a laughing matter for the people that have to live with it on a daily bases.

  8. tsa says:

    Where is the rest of the video? Those two minutes can’t be all of it, right? Besides, the way they handle that brain seems pretty unprofessional to me, but I don’t know how they normally do it. I would take pictures of every step.

  9. I hope that this will help to convince people how dangerous the sport is, I am astounded by how many parents allow their young children to play.

  10. Dr. Drang says:

    Well, it’s been a few hours since this was posted, and since no one has pointed out yet that the brain in the video is not Duerson’s, I guess I’ll do it. It’s pretty clearly stated in the linked article.

  11. adamnvillani says:

    The point is that the specific types of actions that lead to brain injury later on are common in football. The helmets, in particular, enable you to slam your head into other guys (and their helmets) repeatedly without the cracked skulls that would lead to somebody being taken off the field. It’s the difference between less-frequent but more obvious immediately dangerous injuries and more frequent but less obvious dangerous injuries that destroy you a couple decades later.

    It’s good to see that these types of long-term injuries are finally getting the attention they deserve. Football would probably be a lot safer in the long term if they got rid of the helmets. Once you actually have to start watching out for your own head, you’re less likely to get the frequent low-level pounding that really damages your brain.

    Also, it’s pretty laughable to think of soccer players as tough guys, considering how they fall to the ground and writhe about in pain looking for a red card if an opposing player brushes by them slightly.

  12. querent says:

    Lot of you must have played a different type of soccer from the one I played.  But of course american football is heavier contact.

    But on topic, this is pretty cool.  It’s related to something that’s always bugged me about our athlete entertainers.

    For a lot of kids, sports is the only way they can make it out of a shitty situation, so they sacrifice their bodies like fucking gladiators.  We should find out what it’s costing them.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      But of course american football is heavier contact.

      In handegg, it seems like mass is sometimes the primary qualification for making the team. It’s hard to imagine Refrigerator Perry playing rugby, let alone soccer.

      • adamnvillani says:


        You know, “football” refers to the fact that the game is played on foot, not horseback. And there are many types of football played around the world (American, Association (soccer), Canadian, Gaelic, Australian Rules, Rugby Union, Rugby League, etc.), all of which ultimately trace their origins back to games played in English schools, most of which involve a ball that isn’t a sphere and most of which involve picking up the ball with your hands at least some of the time.

        Also, the general practice is to refer to whatever is the dominant local form as simply “football” (unless it’s rugby, I think) unless the context makes it clear that you’re talking about some other form.

  13. ackpht says:

    I was a very big kid and people always used to ask if I played football. I replied that no, I liked my head the shape that it was. Apparently that was the better bet in the long run.

  14. EvilSpirit says:

    It still baffles me how “bare-knuckle fighting” is so blithely accepted as a part of hockey, when it’s not even legal in, you know, *boxing*.

  15. Paul says:

    I’m with TSA , where’s the rest of the video ?
    Can anyone point out what the characteristics she is referring to are.

  16. RobDobbs says:

    Shouldn’t she be wearing a hair net? 

  17. Emo Pinata says:

    Pretty much all professional athletes experience cardiovascular problems later in life because of training, supplements (or drugs), the lifestyle of young people with too much money, etc. They also tend to have extremely bad joints and a lot retire because of injury that only causes more problems later in life. As bad as brain injuries are, sports stars will lead a shorter life than the average person. It’s just too extreme an activity for a body to handle for that long – even in non contact sports.

    I think a lot of contact sport players will even die of blood clots before brain injury if I remember correctly.

  18. Naomi Williams says:

    Sure it looks gross, but I don’t know what a normal brain of the same age looks like when you slice it open. Anybody have a good link for comparison?

  19. flosofl says:

    Because it’s an unarmored hand vs. an mostly armored cranium and torso.
    Except for knocking out teeth or breaking a nose (bad enough, I know),
    bare hand punch to a helmeted head is more likely to result in a broken

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