CTE in Former NFL Players

For sometime now, a few scientists have been trying to study the brains of former NFL players.  Unfortunately, all that’s been found in the brains of these former players has been posthumously (after death).  It was said to be impossible to detect CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) in living patients.  UCLA recently discovered brains scans which revealed a certain protein that causes brain damage.  CTE is caused by a buildup of tau, an abnormal protein which strangles vital brain cells. The tau would buildup in areas that controlled emotions, memory, and other functions.  It is still very early but being able to diagnose living patients with CTE can go a long way in providing treatment and preventing horrible tragedies like in years past.  For example, in 2011, Dave Duerson, a defesnsive back for the Chicago Bears, shot himself in the chest and left a note saying that he wanted his brained donated to research.  Another former football player, Fred McNiell had a very successful career and went on to become a lawyer after his career.  But late in his 50s, he was diagnosed with early onset dementia and is now being tested for possible CTE.  Not too long ago, Junior Seau, a very loved and respected football player and person committed suicide at the young age of 45.  Junior Seau shot himself in the chest and his family decided to donate his brain to research as well.  When the results were relseaeed, Seau was also diagnosed with CTE.  It is tough for the players to deal with because once they are done playing in the NFL it is basically impossible to find an insurance company who will cover them.  Their bodies and brains are already very messed up so the insurance companies know it will cost them lots of money to cover the players.  So they usually just deny them.  This leaves the retired football players in a lot of trouble because the NFL does not cover them after they retire either.  So they are left on their own basically to deal with the injuries and problems that were caused to them by playing professional football for all those years.

April 25th, 2013 by georgewarburton | No Comments »

2013 NFL Draft

Tonight at 8 PM, and continuing throughout the weekend, college football players from all over the country will be waiting patiently and hopeful to hear their names be called.  If their name is called, it is because they have been drafted by an NFL team.  For all the players, this means that their dreams have come true.  They have put in so much hard work to get themselves prepared and worked so hard while they played in high school and in college.  All the hard work was for this moment right now.  To be selected to be on a professional football team.  There will only be 254 players choosen in the draft.  So just to be drafted is a milestone in and of its own.  The draft is held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.  To be eligible for the draft,  the college football players had to have completed high school at least three years prior to today, and had until January 15, 2013 to declare their intention to the draft and to give up their remaining eligibility to play football in college.  This is a major step for all the players.  They are now eligible to get paid for playing football, most of them will make more than $1 million annually.  The athletes also have to realize that the road will not be easy though.  Just because they are drafted by the team, does not mean that they make the team.  They have to be able to agree to a contract with the theam.  Then, once the training camps come around, they have to prove themselves to the coaches and to the front office.  It is not an easy process, but it is what these athlets have been working for all their lives.  So if their head is in the right place and they are working as hard as they can, then they will be able to complete their dream of playing in the NFL.

April 25th, 2013 by georgewarburton | No Comments »

2013 NHL Lockout

The 2013 NHL season was delay because of a lockout.  The owners of the teams locked out the players of the teams because the two sides could not come to an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement after the old one had expired.  The new agreement was finally made and they agreed to play a compressed season of 48 games.  The new CBA had a couple of key points that the owners and the players had to come to agreements on.  The first one is that the new CBA is a 10 year agreement with an option to opt-out of it after 8 years.  The next was, is that teams can only sign players for a max of 7 years, 8 if they are resigning with the team that they were on.  The biggest disagreement the owners and they players had was how they were going to spilt the hockey related revenue.  Last CBA the players were getting 57% of the HRR, which is a huge amount compared to other leagues.  In the new CBA the players and owners came to an agreement of a 50-50 spilt.  Another issue discussed was the salary cap.  This season it will be $60 million for all teams with a $44 million floor.  Next season it will be $64.3 with the floor being $44 million again.  The next one is the variance of money that players will make over the different years of their contract.  There used to be no rule against that so they came to an agreement that a player’s salary can’t vary from more than 35% of what it was the year before, and it can’t change more than 50% over the entire contract.  The final point was that teams will have revenue sharing, meaning that teams that make a lot of money will have to share some revenue with teams that don’t.  13 of 30 teams in the NHL actually lost money last year, so this was a key point as well.

April 9th, 2013 by georgewarburton | No Comments »

Rutgers Coach in Hot Water

“Coach” Mike Rice was fired on April 3 for shoving, grabbing, throwing balls, and using gay slurs against players on the Rutgers basketball team. The video takes place over a long period of time and was not an isolated incident. Rice was investigated for this matter and was suspended 3 games, fined $50,000, and ordered to attend anger management classes. After that was completed, there was no other mention of Mike Rice in the press until a former employee leaked the video to the media. Now Rice has been fired, an assistant coach has resigned, the athletic director is under very intense public scrutiny, and faculty are calling for the president to resign as well.

I believe that the athletic director should be fired as well because he investigated the incident twice and did very minimal to ensure the best interest of all the parties involved. It seems to be that the athletic director tried to give Rice a slap on the wrist and hope it would not be an issue moving forward. The AD has not done what is in the best interests of the school considering that the coach was physically and verbally abusing his players and he could have prevented it. Also, after the Tyler Clementi incident, you would think Rutgers would have a zero tolerance policy on matters dealing with gay slurs. Rice should have been fired immediately after school officials saw the video. It was a very easy decision to make and one that any other AD would have made instantly. Rice has had several players transfer to other schools, not had success on the basketball court, and tormented the lives of young men aspiring to become the best student-athlete they can be. Why were Rutgers school
officials covering this up?

April 9th, 2013 by georgewarburton | No Comments »

March Madness

This month is the biggest for college basketball.  It’s called March Madness.  March Madness is the tournament that the men’s college basketball teams use to figure out which team is the national championship.  It starts with 68 teams and on April 8th it ends with the championship game in Atlanta, Georgia.  The teams are ranked from 1 through 16 in 4 different divisions.  The number 1 seeds this year are Indiana, Gonzaga, Kansas, and Louisville.  It is called March Madness because you never know who is going to win what game.  There is always all kinds of upsets and you really never do know who is going to win the whole thing.  Already this year, a number 15 seed, Florida Gulf Coast University, beat a number 2 seed, Georgetown University, 78-68.  This is a huge upset.  It was only the 7th time ever that a 15 seed beat a 2 seed.  So it is a pretty remarkable upset.  A number 16 seed has never beat a number 1 seed.

ESPN lets people fill out brackets for free and this year almost 8.15 million brackets were filled out on ESPN.  After the first games of the 3rd round, no one had a perfect bracket still.  0 out of 8.15 million.  That tells you how crazy this years tournament has been.  One of the other big upset was when the number 9 seed Wichita State beat the number 1 seed Gonzaga to get into the “Sweet 16″, which is the final 16 teams left in the tournament.  Wichita State won 76-70 and this was another big upset.  This is why people make such a big deal out of “March Madness” because it is so much fun because you never can predict what will happen and there is always close games with game winning shots in the final seconds.

March 25th, 2013 by georgewarburton | No Comments »

Traditional and Individual Talend

I am going to write my blog this week about athletes and how they grow either as individuals by practicing by themselves, or by having a coach help them.  I got a lot of my inspiration for this post from a quote in “Tradition and the Individual Talent,” by T.S. Eliot.   “Honest criticism and sensitive appreciation is directed not upon the poet but upon the poetry. If we attend to the confused cries of the newspaper critics and the susurrus of popular repetition that follows, we shall hear the names of poets in great numbers; if we seek not Blue-book knowledge but the enjoyment of poetry, and ask for a poem, we shall seldom find it (Eliot).”

In this quote I basically replace the words poet and poetry with athlete and sport.  Many athletes get very upset when coaches yell at them or try to show them what they did wrong.  So they think that the coaches are attacking them, when really they are trying to correct them so that they can be the best that they can possibly be.  Then the quote talks about how if you go to newspaper critics and ask about players then you will hear about a lot of them.  Meaning that the players are always in the limelight and they will always be talked about for their mistakes more then they are talked about for their accomplishments.  Then it says if you look for sports through the enjoyment of sports and try to find it, it will be harder to find.  To me, this means that people are always quicker to critique then to applaud.  I think this is even more true in sports because you always see players in the news for weeks about doing drugs or getting arrested.  Yet when they break a record, they are only talked about for a day or two.

1.Eliot, T.S.. “Tradition and the Individual Talent. T.S. Eliot. 1921. The Sacred Wood; Essays on Poetry and Criticism.” Bartleby.com: Great Books Online — Quotes, Poems, Novels, Classics and hundreds more. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2013. <http://www.bartleby.com/200/sw4.html>.(Eliot)

February 24th, 2013 by georgewarburton | 2 Comments »

Steroids in MLB

This weeks post will about about the use of steroids in baseball.  Up until 1991, the MLB had not regulated the use of steroids or performance enhancing drugs.  The commissioner at that time, Fay Vincent, told all the teams that the use of steroids was illegal.  Then in 2005, they set guidelines, with punishments, about what would happen if players were caught using steroids by a positive urine test.  The first time you were caught you would get suspended for 10 games, then after that you would get 60 games for a second positive test.  Then 60 games, and then a full year of suspension.  It was then upgraded to the penalties that are still intact now.  50 game suspension for your first positive test.  Then 100 games for the next one.  Finally, if you are caught 3 times, you are kicked out of the game for life.

Baseball has very recently seen a great increase in players being caught using banned substances or steroids.  Many players use them to come back from injuries, instead of just using them when they are fine and just to gain a real edge over the other players.  This is still illegal though.  Many Dominican players have recently been connected to a doctor in Miami that has been connected with giving players illegal substances that then led to positive tests.  The MLB has a real epidemic on its hand because now some of the best players in the game are trying to get into the hall of fame, but many of the voters will not vote for them because they were connected to doing steroids.  This is causing lots of talk about changing who votes for players to get into the hall of fame.

Overall, the MLB is becoming very tarnished by the usage of steroids and basically the cheating that many of the players have done.  The penalties for being caught doing steroids are very strict, but since many players are still being caught doing them, maybe they are not strict enough.

February 14th, 2013 by georgewarburton | No Comments »

Super Bowl XLVII

On Sunday February 3rd, 2013 the National Football League held its annual championship game.  This game featured the American Football Conference champions, the Baltimore Ravens, against the National Football League conference champions, the San Francisco 49ers.  The Baltimore Ravens jumped out to a big lead and were winning 28-6 after returning the opening kickoff for the second half 108 yards for a touchdown.  Then, on the next 49ers possession, the stadium lost half of its power.  The teams were standing around on the field for 34 minutes.  After this delay, the 49ers came storming back.  They scored 17 straight points to cut the Ravens lead to 28-23.  The score was then 34-29 in favor of the Ravens with less than 5 minutes left.  The 49ers were able to drive the ball all the way down the field to the Ravens 5 yard line.  They had 4 chances to get into the end zone to score a touchdown and take the lead, but they failed on all of them.  The Baltimore Ravens ended up winning the game 34-31.  Another big factor in the game was that it was Ray Lewis’s last game in the NFL.  He had played middle linebacker for the Ravens for the last 17 years, and is one of the greatest to ever play the position.  He has always been a staple of their defense and is the team’s emotional and physical leader, and they wanted nothing but to have him retire on top.  The Ravens quarterback, Joe Flacco, was the MVP of the game.  He had a very strong game, throwing 3 touchdown passes.  He did what all Super Bowl MVP’s have done for a while; he went to Disney World on Monday to celebrate.  On Tuesday, Baltimore was having a parade through the city to celebrate the Ravens winning their 2nd NFL Championship.

February 5th, 2013 by georgewarburton | No Comments »

Hello world!

I’m not really sure how this thing works yet but I’ll figure it out

January 31st, 2013 by georgewarburton | No Comments »