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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Contact sports

For years, the AMA has been against boxing because of the brain injury known as "boxer's encephalopathy" (popularly known as being "punch drunk") which so often results from it. Football is also known to cause a lot of head injury and encephalopathy. A recent study by Boston University researchers dissecting the brains of 12 athletes again notes the frequency of degeneration in the brain in areas characteristic of ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease as a result of sports-related and combat-related head injury.

This prompted the New York Times to say that "maybe Lou Gehrig didn't have Lou Gehrig's disease", prompting others in the blogosphere to say "huh?" But the point the Times was making was that since Lou Gehrig had a lot of sports-related head injury, perhaps this was the cause, whereas by definition for ALS, the cause has been unknown.

Bottom line: Boxing, football, and military combat are dangerous. While the latter may be unavoidable, the first two are not, so avoid them and help your children avoid them. Our entertainment is not a good reason to sacrifice their future health.

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