Monday, June 28, 2010

Chris Henry Had Brain Damage

This is really scary stuff...

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP)—Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry suffered from a chronic brain injury that may have influenced his mental state and behavior before he died last winter, West Virginia University researchers say.

The doctors had done a microscopic tissue analysis of Henry’s brain that showed he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

Neurosurgeon Julian Bailes and California medical examiner Bennet Omalu, co-directors of the Brain Injury Research Institute at WVU, were to publicly announce their findings Monday afternoon alongside Henry’s mother, Carolyn Lee Henry.

Her 26-year-old son died in December, a day after he came out of the back of a pickup truck his fiancee was driving near their home in Charlotte, N.C. It’s unclear whether Henry jumped or fell. Toxicology tests found no alcohol in his system, and an autopsy concluded he died of numerous head injuries, including a fractured skull and brain hemorrhaging.

But Bailes, team doctor for the Mountaineers and a former Pittsburgh Steelers physician, said it’s easy to distinguish those acute traumatic injuries from the underlying condition he and Omaha found when staining tiny slices of Henry’s brain.

Bailes and fellow researchers believe chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, is caused by multiple head impacts, regardless of whether those blows result in a concussion diagnosis. A number of studies, including one commissioned by the NFL, have found that retired professional football players may have a higher rate than normal of Alzheimer’s disease and other memory problems.

What’s interesting, Bailes said, is that Henry was only 26, and neither NFL nor WVU records show he was diagnosed with a concussion during his playing career.

I'm considering doing a post really soon about the culture of football and injuries. To make a long story short I know that I have at times put my health and maybe even my life at risk to play a game for a lot of money. And maybe even before the money I have done the same thing in high school and college. And I am not the exception but the rule when it comes to football players.

The more articles I read like this one the more I wonder, well actually worry, that I may be just a ticking time bomb. But while many folks have pointed fingers at the NFL and the owners, and make no mistake they definitely are a part of the problem, you hardly ever hear people talk about the role that players have in all of this. Like I said I may get into this more later but the truth is when its either admitting an injury and being healthier long term but losing your job or covering it up and continuing to make hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars, a lot of guys have and will continue to go with the later rather than the former.

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