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Thursday - July 27, 2017 3:36 am

Despite study of football and brain injuries, UW-L coach says sport now is a different game

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Despite study of football and brain injuries, UW-L coach says sport now is a different game @UWLaCrosseAthletics on Facebook

Of 111 deceased players studied, 110 tested positive for C.T.E. 

It appears to be troubling news for those who play football.

But, according to University of Wisconsin-La Crosse football coach Mike Schmidt, it's important to look at football then and football now.

The study, by neuropathologist Dr. Ann McKee, found that of 111 deceased NFL players, 110 of them tested positive for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (C.T.E.).

A broad survey of the study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"We gotta kind of read these studies and reports with a little bit of caution," Schmidt said. "Those guys played in the 60s, 70s, 80s — technology that we don't even come close to using now."

The premise of the game is the same. Get football. Score touchdown. But Schmidt points out how different everything is now, from how kids are taught to tackle — even from the youngest levels — to the equipment players are wearing today.

On top of that, there's technology now at a team's disposal to measure just about everything.

"Anybody who's going to play in the game (is) going to have a computer chip in their helmet," Schmidt explained. "When the helmet registers a hit consistent with a concussion-type of an impact, we take them out of the game.

"There's a buzzer that buzzes to our head athletic trainer and that guy comes out of the game or practice."

Schmidt sees football as an important part of childhood and parents shouldn't be put off from the study.

"The benefits that you get from football, the life lessons that you're going to learn from this sport — and uniquely from this sport — will far outweigh the risk that could be had by serious injury," Schmidt said.

Schmidt says technology is the most advanced it's ever been, and with rules implemented, the sport has never been safer.

The New York Times broke down those 111 football players. Well, 110 of those players, as the one player who did not test positive for C.T.E. was not authorized to be publicly identified.

Last modified on Thursday - July 27, 2017 3:41 am
Drew Kelly

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