WEEI>On Demand>>Chris Nowinski, Co-Founder of the Sports Legacy Institute, sits down with us live in studio

Chris Nowinski, Co-Founder of the Sports Legacy Institute, sits down with us live in studio

Dec 4, 2012|

Nowinski talks with John and Gerry about the recently released study on Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and its connection to repeated concussions. The study details the consequences of repeated hits to the head in contact sports, consequences that include aggression and dementia. Chris helps the guys understand the impact of head trauma on athletes during their careers and after they retire.

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Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Yes it was a very big day in the lives of a lot of Smart people a lot of researchers a lot of people who have bitten. Using their brain matter to study CTE chronic traumatic encephalopathy. A crystal -- joins us here in the studio it is self four years in the making. 85 brains examined and the largest CTE study ever released records that is correct. And then what were the results of the study were you surprised by anything that came out of the course of course this is information that you had ongoing over four years correct. Right if it was it's a profound -- largest case there's ever published actually doubles the world's knowledge and verified cases of this disease. You know what was concerning is that in nearly all the athletes in the series that -- really long time probably over 1015 years of football or ice hockey boxing. On nearly all had CDs and 33 of 34 NFL players for four HL players 99 college football player. Mean two by example so it doesn't mean everybody has this those things but. For someone who did bang my head quite a bit its its concern. Our other people. Is it possible that CT and have no fax no no symptoms and and live happily ever after. What is it always cause a miniature memory loss etc. If that was an important findings -- doesn't always cause problems in and what this study did doctor Ian McKee staged this stage of the disease and 44 stages. In the first stage you sometimes have symptoms but the generally mild the second stage more people have symptoms by a stage three or four when it's attacked many parts of your brain everybody. Have some sort of problem but. What was interesting is we did have older athletes. Not not necessarily football players -- ice hockey players and some others who. Probably got the disease their teens -- twenties but by the sixty's still had staged to. Meaning me and it did not have symptoms according family and others hope that even if you had it. That maybe there's some genetic protection you'll have does it ever get better does it all but it. I guess you just said it doesn't always get worse right we believe it's progressive and in in most if not all cases -- granted it's very slow -- it's different speeds and everybody. Right now we we don't way to even diagnose in the people or stop the progression. We just treat the symptoms but there's never been any studies done see what treatment works so it's a struggle for those who might happen. Applying yesterday's story to a contemporary story the played out in Kansas City I'm sure a lot of people already asked you do you think Javon. Belcher had CTV and did that contribute to this particular incident. The fact that he was 25 and only played the league four seasons does that make it less likely that he did. Well what I would say again not the for me it's very big interest is to speculate speculate on this but I'll stop what the what we do know and that is. You know that we had 3334. FL players -- this chance he had. If you -- -- it would have been early stage stage one or two based on what we know meaning it -- affected you know handful of parts of his brain who knows which won and who knows what they movement clinically. I thought -- was more interest in just kind of thinking about this this strategy what causes these sorts of behaviors. With some recent resources you did you see HBO real sports is one. So talking about how all these its head overseas and actually change the way your brain functions in this season. And that it was a studied Donna Purdue and then there's been to Harvard and -- and slap in the last couple weeks and soccer and ice hockey thing. The -- using using certain imaging technology on the brain -- changes in season. So I wouldn't be surprised if you know every football player you know middle linebackers and other folks they do you know their brain is. Abnormal by the by the end of the season and so if you think you know the -- obviously all all behavior comes from the brain right. You know his brain problem was -- from all those its head in some way but also you know listening you know -- morning in the way in the alcohol. Lack of sleep description locations -- medication I mean it's so complex we. We. Look at these guys we know the name's Dave doers and Mike Webster and Andre waters and and -- Junior Seau how many of them are violent not just -- we know a lot of -- you know kill themselves. How many of whom. Have -- other people have been violent and and have the -- in May be at their families or maybe you attribute the the violence to the head trauma. It's a great question. You know -- sadly a lot of it's hard -- a lot I know of multiple instances of of great men for the downturn the lives. Appreciate fortieth fiftieth start becoming violent towards their family Dave tuition was by right horses scrambling. You know Chris Benoit my colleague with them to be killed his wife and son 2007 and he had seat he had the fancy -- he. You know. -- in and had games that documentary that I -- talk while it lasts about us here. We tell the story of a forty something boxer who tried to kill this son a couple days before he took his own life and part of his wife. But try to choke him over nothing so so certainly this disease can cause aggression. What your reaction we know we all read I think you now -- review and doctor Cantu when I hear that they don't within minutes of here in the story here in the details I think what is Chris thank and were they thinking at that that the lab they've taken. Here we go again. You know world I'm thinking what can we publicly -- we learn anything from this to prevent this from happening in the future this is you know you put you put all these stories together. And you know tells us that we need to do a lot more it's you are your brains -- very precious things and to be rattling it all the time. Can lead to some very bad consequences and then. You know whether or not this is related there's enough other cases out there to say that you -- tease and joke. If Javon bill teachers family were so inclined to have his brain study is disqualified from being studied and apparently he shot himself in the head. No. There have been other cases studied. Andre waters -- It is. So I'll I'll give details but you know not all the rain issues damage right -- What ever happened with the disposition of junior sales -- of the family ever relent -- say yes somebody can study it. You know it's in -- were relaxed because it was it was an outright while it was a it was a battle all it was just unfortunate the media got some bad information. And put the fair and we very bad position which is why we don't talk about cases that we pursue -- we don't want people calling them now we we leave them alone -- Sale of the separately -- did donate his -- and nationalist to help the federal government the what is being studied it is things that interest when will there be finding. I have no longer -- generally take. You usually know positive or negative within a few weeks but to get a full diagnosis takes months. And so I don't know why I'm on the inside and all you watch. The game we talked about this before but I am you certainly haven't ruined the game I love football watch every week but you've changed the whale -- like and Julian -- settlement gets. It cost a couple of games ago my first reaction is you know is he thinking am I I had concussions and it didn't it wasn't that bad it was not a broken leg is that I can play I can negotiate the softened. In a little buzz and maybe a little headache but it'll I'll be OK I don't think that way anymore do they maybe some guys do a lot of guys don't think that way anymore they think. All I just bruised my brain. Right right now that's very rewarding and certainly there's too many guys still going back in but there are a lot of guys are -- stepping -- bouncing well this is just like another regular entry that I have that I'm allowed to take time off one supreme recovered because. I have a life after sports so that's cents. You and people like you researchers who have put these studies out -- really changed the culture starting to change the culture is that fair to say. I think that's fair to say that was discussed yesterday -- when I was on the outside the lines is that you know. Have things gone too far because the naysayers out -- actually -- out when scared of football and scared -- concussion and you know considering where the patent pendulum was five years ago you know we're not control how far swings were not -- control there are hypochondriac out there but we are dramatically safer. Then what we were five years ago and just because some people are you know too too concerned I will accept that -- -- -- that I don't loosely people preparing going to the doctor -- I'm really nervous about my gosh right. Anybody says the game in on the has been will suffice it is just not watch and you know you're just not watch and and did you see the SEC championship game the Alabama Georgia game and that was his violent and Daniel since sent it to Gary -- and this is just violent game it was. Like an NFL game you know it was that these guys are obviously bigger faster stronger than when you play. And they are just vicious they're not should they haven't changed the game the change the on the penalties. That protected the quarterback court tried the change the the protocol clearly when you get a hand injury but they're not parents are still hit as hard as. Ever -- diagnosed no question Washington past game members Arrington picked up quarterback sidelined. Because of they get. Yeah -- -- -- -- which show which people in high places and places of power should should devour and digest this gigantic study that you put out -- what should they do. Well you know. We hope that you know all major sports are are reading this and that and leadership because we need to change the protocols we continue deep especially reduce overall trauma that -- and really starts the club also and October we had. We've -- hit count symposium -- part of what experts the governing buys youth sports and technology companies. And when actually the technology companies now have sensors you can put headband -- being your mouthpiece and you can register when your -- and how hard. And we're saying if we have pitch counts and baseball that which. You know we limit how off Heathrow or where mobile will we should probably limit how often you couldn't -- a child and -- yes they don't get these sorts of problems and so -- we have technology hopefully within a year. Parents can have an iPhone app that tells them all public execute getting hit -- intervene. When their kids start again you know more than their teammates area coaches are either -- -- play. You know the more the deeper you this I'm gonna follow doctor Cantu whose advice in the I would like I couldn't public could -- football before school. Will you let him wrestle I don't mean real wrestling Emily will you let him paint his face and do the turn buckle thing off the ropes and all that weird wacky stuff you did well you know I did blazed a trail for -- -- -- true liberation you know that work should be like Dale Earnhardt junior you got to do a -- but it was Chris -- a friend of yours. He wasn't a friend produced certainly it a colleague I mean how was your what was your record against. I never wrestled him as a man that was never at that level but Eminem adamant 2002 when I was coming up when you come off of neck injury. And we've got to Cincinnati actually taught me how to throw forums against him and like because you throw form it's tough. Nearly beat the crap out of his head because I would have too hard very frequently and then I remember a year before the murder we were Manchester, New Hampshire. And I was writing head games and he sat me down he said hey what are you finding these long term consequences. And I told them the and he was only -- that he had with congress at six in the past and I'm do you have any Sevilla had more -- -- count and gave his phone number -- we call. And I pieced together after this all happened later did I did column I called a -- like you know whilst calling. That I think there was a moment of he knew something was wrong and no -- had some health and that's always kind of haunted me. Because. You know what happened years later you know. Possibly could have gotten some help. So so I mean I knew Chris and we had that conversation. Use -- in my left was it's still there. Out what's next for you now that the study is out and complete after four years ago dodge out of work here at -- what's next on your play. Now the other researchers moves forward you very quickly now so it's exciting what we're doing with with BU's that were really. Transitioning out now we have this gigantic bringing the world's largest on this disease. We started you know -- doesn't collaborations -- few months of the universities looking at various things that will lead us to -- diagnosis and the people we treat this so. It's a long it's a long -- but the army in this until we have pill you can take to stop the progression. A final question for -- and a really get a bunch of textures and a bunch of emails and a bunch he went and don't tell me about that hit count to get it how can parents get involved with this app thing's gonna is just down the road. This is within a year -- -- -- next year yes it will be obvious where and how you can acquire something like this system for your -- yes we'll we'll do a big campaign around it but -- could start learning about sports legacy dot org read the signs behind in ones that idea and then. -- -- reach out you can help get involved and support the -- that the -- and now they can check it out on sports legacy dot -- your website correct and they can find the report there as well yes the study this great job for years 85 -- largest CTE -- -- history I jumped the -- with it -- -- it will be right back.

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