Brief Review of a New York Times Article on Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

Updated on July 12, 2018
H. P. Loveboat profile image

Vince is a technical writer working in the medical research field. He also enjoys exploring literature in his free time.

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

The New York Times ran an article this month about a former hockey player, Jeff Parker, who died recently. Parker lived with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which he is believed to have sustained during his time playing in the National Hockey League. The article highlights his life and his family’s struggle to support him, but it is just one part of a longer series the Times has been doing on CTE as more and more information has been coming out about this poorly understood condition (Branch, 2018).

The Condition

CTE is caused by ongoing injuries to the brain caused by repeated head blows. It has been linked to jerking or twisting of the head and neck, which means that helmets do little to protect against the condition. Many sports players who wear helmets, still find themselves at risk due to the constant jostling of their heads that occur during impacts. CTE does not necessarily present at the time of injury and can develop slowly over time from repeated blows to the head that do not even qualify as minor concussions (Mez, Daneshvar, & Kiernan, 2017).

Epidemiology

A widely publicized study by Mez, Daneshvar, and Kiernan (2017) brought national attention to the condition. In it, 99 percent of the brains studied from football players who donated their bodies to science were found to have signs of CTE. This is a condition that can affect anyone of any population who plays high impact sports or who for any reason experiences repeated blows to or jerking of the head. Part of the reason the problem is believed to be so prevalent is due to how poorly it is understood and how recently all this information has come to light.

The Article

The article by Branch (2018) is titled “The Tragic Diagnosis They Already Knew: Their Brother Died With C.T.E.” This is not sensationalist and accurately reflects the content. The article takes a snapshot perspective of one family’s struggle with CTE and how it affected one athlete’s life. It does reference the other articles they have run on the issue and hints at the fact that it is a wider spread problem that is especially dangerous for child and teenage athletes whose brains are still developing.

Policy and Change

There are no official policies that relate to improving this condition. Rather, it is the culture of the country and ignorance about the CTE that has made it so prevalent. People enjoy sports as a pastime, and it is difficult to hear that something they love would have to forever change in order to avoid this hidden illness. Stakeholders are prominent investors in major league sports who wish to please fans but also want to avoid public backlash, players themselves, and local schools who have sports programs. Parents of youth players would of course need a voice in addressing this issue. Unfortunately, the only known intervention seems to be to avoid head trauma that is repeated over time.

Conclusion

The New York Times has been continually informing the public about this health matter that affects much of the population in direct and indirect ways. It is going to take large scale change to improve this matter and people are going to have to be educated and want that change to occur. Snapshot pieces like Branch (2018) help the general public see this situation in personal terms and to put themselves in the shoes of people affected by this condition.

References

Branch, J. (2018). The tragic diagnosis they already knew: Their brother died with C.T.E. The New York Times. Retrieved May 20, 2018 from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/03/sports/nhl-cte-jeff-parker.html

Mez J., Daneshvar D. H., Kiernan P. T., et al. (2017). Clinicopathological evaluation of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in players of american football. JAMA, 318(4), 360–370. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.8334


© 2018 Vince

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • H. P. Loveboat profile imageAUTHOR

      Vince 

      4 months ago from New York CIty

      Thank you. And I definitely think something needs to change with regards to juvenile sports in light of this new information. It may be difficult for some people who see football as an enjoyable part of their culture, but there are many things through the course of history that had to change once people realized how harmful they were.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 months ago from Sunny Florida

      CTE certainly has been underdiagnosed. Obviously boxing is known for head traumas, but there are many rough sports. I know football teams have been wearing safer helmets but apparently that doesn't always help as you pointed out. This is a good article to bring attention to this problem. Parents may rethink letting theit children play football.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, owlcation.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://owlcation.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)