Daniel Amen, Newport Beach Brain Doctor, Says NFL Must Get Its Heads Examined
"Playing football frequently causes brain damage," according to Dr. Daniel Amen, the founder of Amen Clinics, Inc. that currently has four locations around the country and plans to open three more in 2012. Amen, who is also CEO and medical director of the clinics, began studying the effects of football on brain health in 2007 at the request of the Retired NFL Players Association.
|Dr. Daniel Amen|
If you began playing football in high school, the doctor says, you have a higher risk of suffering health problems involving the brain later in life. Among the ailments that may be linked to football is chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a progressive degenerative disease associated with repeated brain trauma. Symptoms, which may occur early or years after a brain injury, include dementia, memory loss, aggression and depression. Amen has also found violent behavior, obesity, mental illness, and suicide statistically common in populations of former players.
"Fortunately, there are treatment protocols that can literally reverse many of the symptoms and improve brain function," says Amen.
But his research involving 115 active and retired players led to this conclusion: the NFL needs much stricter helmet rules, heavier penalties for hard hits to heads and safer helmet technology to protect current and future players.
His work with NFL players, active and retired, appeared in The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs in March under the headline, "Reversing Brain Damage in Former NFL Players: Implications for Traumatic Brain Injury and Substance Abuse Rehabilitation."
A month later, perhaps as a result of brain injuries I suffered riding the pine for my high school and college football teams, I mistakenly posted an item on Terry Bradshaw visiting Amen's Newport Beach clinic eight days after Weekly strong safety R. Scott Moxley reported the exact same thing. Did somebody say memory loss?
Moxley: Pro Football Legend Visits OC Brain Clinic
Coker: Terry Bradshaw, Treated for Brain Injury in OC, Wants NFL to Better Protect Players' Heads