SBD/November 14, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NFLPA, Cleveland Clinic Partner To Assist Former Players Suffering From Brain Trauma

The NFLPA yesterday announced it is "partnering with the Cleveland Clinic in a program to test and treat retired football players with brain trauma," according to Steve Carp of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. Under the program, called "The Trust," former players "can get physical and neurological evaluations and receive a plan to treat problems resulting for blows to the head." Las Vegas-based Dr. Charles Bernick said that the opportunity for former NFLers to "receive help will give them a chance to extend their lives." Bernick said that the "neurological conditions players suffer are garnered over time and that’s a separate battle the NFLPA will have to fight in terms of making the game safer." Carp reports the program will "be free to all former NFL players." Players can "go to three Cleveland Clinic sites -- its main campus in Cleveland, Ohio, and its clinics in Las Vegas and Weston, Fla. -- or to the University of North Carolina or Tulane University." It begins with "a comprehensive medical history and exams, including a brain scan, cognitive evaluations and psychological interviews." Doctors will "give players personalized treatment plans to relieve symptoms, slow degeneration and restore function." The plan calls for "continued communication between the player and doctors" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 11/14).

DROP IN YOUTH PARTICIPATION: ESPN.com's Fainaru & Fainaru-Wada noted Pop Warner youth football "saw participation drop 9.5 percent between 2010-12, a sign that the concussion crisis that began in the NFL is having a dramatic impact at the lowest rungs of the sport." Pop Warner "lost 23,612 players, thought to be the largest two-year decline since the organization began keeping statistics decades ago." Pop Warner officials believe "several factors played a role in the decline, including the trend of youngsters focusing on one sport." But the organization's chief medical officer, Dr. Julian Bailes, cited "concerns about head injuries as 'the No. 1 cause'" (ESPN.com, 11/13).
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