Category Archives: The Body Is A Temple

“It shouldn’t be a rigged game.”

This is revolting.  But not surprising.

At least a half-dozen top NFL health officials waged an improper, behind-the-scenes campaign last year to influence a major U.S. government research study on football and brain disease, congressional investigators have concluded in a new report.

The 91-page report describes how the NFL pressured the National Institutes of Health to strip the $16 million project from a prominent Boston University researcher and tried to redirect the money to members of the league’s committee on brain injuries. The study was to have been funded out of a $30 million “unrestricted gift” the NFL gave the NIH in 2012.

After the NIH rebuffed the NFL’s campaign to remove Robert Stern, an expert in neurodegenerative disease who has criticized the league, the NFL backed out of a signed agreement to pay for the study, the report shows. Taxpayers ended up bearing the cost instead.

The NFL’s actions violated policies that prohibit private donors from interfering in the NIH peer-review process, the report concludes, and were part of a “long-standing pattern of attempts” by the league to shape concussion research for its own purposes.

I’m sure those purposes were humanitarian.  Totally.

The NFL strenuously objects, of course.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy on Monday said: “The NFL rejects the allegations laid out … There is no dispute that there were concerns raised about both the nature of the study in question and possible conflicts of interest. These concerns were raised for review and consideration through the appropriate channels. … It is deeply disappointing the authors of the Staff Report would make allegations directed at doctors affiliated with the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee without ever speaking to them.”

But I notice it’s not stepping up to relieve the taxpayers of that $16 million dollar bill we’ve been presented with.

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said on SportsCenter on Monday that the union decided, years ago, to split from the NFL on such matters because of the league’s conflicted history around brain research. He said the league has no commitment to the health and safety of its players.

“It’s one of the most troubling and disturbing reports I’ve seen,” Smith said of the Outside the Lines story Monday, adding he wasn’t surprised, however. “It reaffirms the fact that the league has its own view about how they care about players in the NFL.”

Pallone said he hopes the report will push the league to make changes.

“The history with the league is, if you catch them, then they start to listen,” Pallone said.

And you wonder why the people in charge keep getting sued for crap like this.

“Lots of history here. But our process was not tainted and all above board. … Trouble is of course that the [Stern] group is led by people who first broke the science open, and NFL owners and leadership think of them as the creators of the problem.”

Well, actually, you don’t.

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Filed under The Body Is A Temple, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Life may not be fair, but it’s complicated.

Chip Towers catches up with the former Georgia player who’s one of the plaintiffs in the new wave of concussion-related lawsuits filed earlier this week, and it’s just so sad.

In an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Thursday, Hermann said he suffers from severe memory loss. He said he has been undergoing medical treatment and getting tests from neurologists and his family doctor to try to determine if the symptoms that he suffers are the result of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (or CTE).

However, Hermann did not want to talk about the specifics of his case due to the pending litigation.

“This thing has taken on a life of its own,” he said before going off the record. “I’m a very private person. … I’ve had reporters calling me all week and I’m like, ‘this is not what I was signed up for.’”

Hermann would say only that his cognitive skills have been deteriorating rapidly over the last several years and blames it on 18 years of playing football, and those three years in Athens in particular.

In the suit itself, Hermann claims that he suffered “numerous concussions” while practicing and playing special teams for Georgia in from 1984-86 and has suffered memory loss as a result. The suit specifically references a hit Hermann took on a kickoff in which he “saw stars.”

Georgia is not named specifically in the suit. It targets the NCAA and the Southeastern Conference.

“I love UGA,” Hermann said. “This isn’t about them.”

Dignity, a love of the program… and the realization that something stemming from his playing days is wrong and getting worse.  I’m not sure how I would handle all of that were I in his shoes.  Wishing him the best seems inadequate, but it’s all I have to offer.

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Filed under Georgia Football, See You In Court, The Body Is A Temple

The hits just keep on coming.

Thought this was interesting, in part because of one of the specific plaintiffs:

Former college football players at Penn State, Auburn, Georgia, Oregon, Utah and Vanderbilt are suing the NCAA, their former conference and — in some instances — their former school over how their concussions were treated.

Six class-action lawsuits filed Tuesday represent the start of the next wave of concussion litigation in college sports, even as the NCAA finalizes a $75 million settlement from a different lawsuit related to concussions. Chicago attorney Jay Edelson, who is leading this latest effort to sue the NCAA, said 40 to 50 class-action lawsuits will eventually get filed on behalf of tens of thousands of ex-football players.

If it isn’t clear, Georgia isn’t being sued here, but it is being targeted by one former player.

* Georgia — Ronald Hermann (walk-on defensive end, 1984-86) is suing the NCAA and SEC in the Northern District of California. The suit claims Hermann suffered “numerous concussions” and it briefly described an incident in which he “saw stars” after a hit on a kickoff. Today, Hermann’s loss of memory “is particularly challenging, and he has sought out medical treatment in an effort to find answers that Defendants failed to provide,” according to the suit.

There is a downside to being cannon fodder for several years.  I’ll be curious to see the specific allegations and what, if any, news about the program in the latter stages of Dooley’s coaching career emerges from this.

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Filed under Georgia Football, See You In Court, The Body Is A Temple

Alabama got a commitment from Sam Pittman’s wet dream.

It’s not just that offensive guard Evan Neal is six foot six and weighs 350+ pounds, or that, in the words of his high school coach, “(h)e’s got a tremendous first step, he’s as aggressive as any kid I’ve ever coached as a senior”.

It’s that he’ll be part of Alabama’s 2019 class, because he just turned fifteen.  Holy smokes.  I’m not sure describing him as massive does him justice.

(h/t)

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Filed under Recruiting, The Body Is A Temple

Nick Chubb watch: “I’m fired up.”

Kirby Smart digs his videos.

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Filed under Georgia Football, The Body Is A Temple

“Our thing is, when you go, you go.”

For those of you fretting over the wussification of college football, this Paul Myerberg piece on the evolution of tackling in practice is worth a read.

It’ll be interesting to watch over the next few years to see if those teams which have gone to rugby-style tackling are fundamentally sound in games.

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Filed under Strategery And Mechanics, The Body Is A Temple

“It doesn’t impress me because it’s expected.”

I’m gonna have to disagree with you here, Sony.  This does impress me.

Nick Chubb continues to make progress with his recovery.

The latest stepping stone is the fact Chubb was seen participating in individual drills without a knee brace, which would be the second practice in a row he’s done so.

Chubb also went through more positional work than usual. To this point, Chubb had only been participating in play-polish work where he’d take a handoff and run straight ahead. During this practice, Chubb was able to jump cut and step over bags during other drills the running backs have long been doing.

It’s another good sign for Chubb…

I’ve gone from wondering if he’d even see the field this season to speculating on whether he’ll contribute enough to get some all-conference consideration by the end of the year.  Amazing.

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Filed under Georgia Football, The Body Is A Temple