Sports, Concussions, and Brain Trauma

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

John Branch, New York Times sports reporter and author of the three-part series “Punched Out: The Life and Death of a Hockey Enforcer,” about Derek Boogaard, a professional hockey player; Alan Schwarz, New York Times education reporter and formerly a sports reporter whose coverage of concussions in sports was nominated for a Pulitzer prize; and Dr. Robert Cantu, neurosurgeon and co-director of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University School of Medicine, discussing the link between contact sports, concussions, and degenerative brain conditions.


John Branch, Dr. Robert Cantu and Alan Schwarz

Comments [6]

ian mcdonald from Vancouver, BC,19835/

Dec. 20 2011 08:30 PM
Erach from Brooklyn, NY

As far as hockey goes, I think that an overlooked problem is the speed of the current game and the rules in place that encourage collisions outside of fighting. These include the elimination of the center line to permit longer passes and the icing rule that encourages a mad rush to a puck that is invariably against the wall.

Dec. 14 2011 02:12 PM
Caroline Schimmel from Greenwich, CT

Inspiring and depressing show; kudos, Alan, for persisting over these years. I know almost exactly when brawn over brains started, at least in hockey. The Philadelphia Flyers had a diminishing attendance in the early 60s (including my long-time season-ticket-holding father and me), despite being in a new arena. Then they noticed that the crowd cheered a brawl. By 1964 dad, who himself didn't much believe high-sticking should be penalized when HE played in his local league, saw it was all fights and no tecnique or skill, and quit going.

Dec. 13 2011 05:35 PM
MikeInBrklyn from Brooklyn, NY

I find the ridiculous and unnecessary violence that is promoted in pro Hockey barbaric and and almost criminal. As a kid I use to think these were the result of blatant fouls. But on learning that this is part of the show; that the silly attempts of umpire to break of fight no different that that of referees in a WWF match, I find this devolution of the game revolting. A beautiful game has be made ugly to satisfy spectators need for "gladiatorship". It is time for this to stop and return hockey to a sport that is enjoy for athleticism, not on ice brawls.

Dec. 13 2011 01:51 PM
Barbara from MSG

I've been going to 10-20 Rangers games a year for 10+ years. Last week, before I read the first of the series about Booguard, I whooped and hollered and cheered on the Rangers during the fights surrounding Artem Anismov's goal. Then I read the article.

On Sunday, at the Rangers-Panthers game, when Proust got into a fight I found myself yelling "Break it up!".
(And Proust was helmet-less, when the Panther managed to keep his on!)

Thank you, Mr. Branch, for writing the articles.

Dec. 13 2011 01:38 PM

Though it's not always the best show for serious subject matter, last Wednesday's episode of "Law & Order: SVU" delivered an unusually thoughtful, compelling dramatic treatment of the long-term effects of athletes' brain concussions. The episode was called "Spiraling Down" and you can probably find it streamed online. I highly recommend it.

Dec. 13 2011 12:31 PM

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