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by Merril Hoge


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The outcry surrounding CTE is missing something critical: the science to justify it.

When post-concussion syndrome forced star NFL running back Merril Hoge into early retirement in 1994, research on football-related head injuries wasn’t a priority. At the time, football was heavily influenced by a tough guy culture, and little was known about concussions and their potentially dangerous effects.
Then the tragic death of Hoge’s ex-teammate Mike Webster in 2002 launched a wave of fear after an autopsy determined he suffered from an obscure brain disease—chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The media pounced. Concern over player safety soon became a war on football at every level, with one scientist even declaring youth football “child abuse.”
In an effort to set the record straight, Hoge and board-certified forensic neuropathologist Dr. Peter Cummings explore the hidden agendas and misinformation fueling the CTE hysteria machine. Armed with extensive research, critical insight, and expert interviews, they address some of the common myths surrounding the disease, examining significant flaws in the often-cited studies and exposing the sensationalistic reporting that dominates today’s CTE dialogue.
Compelling, accessible, and ultimately revelatory, Brainwashed exposes the biases and unsubstantiated claims crippling true scientific advancement in the area of CTE research. This is a must-read for anyone who cares about the future of youth sports and the survival of our nation’s most beloved game.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781684018659
Publisher: Mascot Books
Publication date: 10/23/2018
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 551,148
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Merril Hoge is a former NFL running back who worked as an analyst at ESPN for twenty-one years, helping launch ESPN2, NFL Live, and Fantasy Football.
Hoge is chairman of the board of the Highmark Caring Foundation and on the board of the Chuck Noll Foundation for Brain Injury Research. Active in concussion research and in the prevention and treatment of brain injuries, Hoge testified at a congressional hearing on football head injuries in 2009 and was appointed to the NFL Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee in 2010.
In 2018, Hoge helped launch Your Call Football and is the author of Find a Way: Three Words That Changed My Life. He lives in Fort Thomas, Kentucky.

Table of Contents

Significant Players xvii

A CTE Timeline xix

Introduction 1

Hysteria is Outrunning the Facts 4

We've Been Brainwashed 6

Dr. Peter Cummings 8

Why I Wrote This Book 10

What is CTE? 13

Myth #1 All NFL Players Are Falling Apart 17

Chapter 1 A Concussion Becomes a Mission 19

"I Can Never Clear You" 23

ESPN Saved My Life 29

Beginning to Transform Youth Football 32

The First Whispers of CTE 36

Chapter 2 The Big Picture 39

Reasonable Standard of Care 43

Dr. Joseph Maroon 46

Slow Progress in the NFL 47

Where Are All the Players Who Are Falling Apart? 50

Guys Who Take Care of Themselves Are Doing Fine 54

Football's Tough Guy Culture Has Evolved 57

Chapter 3 All Eyes on Suicide 61

Press Coverage 66

Are Players Really More Likely to Kill Themselves? 68

The Crushing Impact of Life After Football 69

Junior Seau and Aaron Hernandez 72

Confirmation Bias 74

The Real Killer: Fear of CTE 76

Myth #2 GTE is Settled Science, and Football Causes It 83

Chapter 4 Headlines 85

Sloppy Reporting, Limited Sources 89

A One-Sided View of What "Sells" 90

There Are Sane Voices in the Press 93

Chapter 5 Cherry Picking Data 97

Pressure on Academic Free Speech 101

A Pro-CTE Propaganda Tool 104

Legal Blockades 106

Issues with Peer Review 111

Todd Ewen and the End of Dose-Response 113

Chapter 6 The Triumph of Junk Science 117

Skewed Diagnostic Guidelines 122

No Replication 125

Selection Bias 127

Unreliable Interviews with Loved Ones 129

Moving the Goalposts 130

Not Controlling for Other Factors 134

Is There Even a Stage I CTE? 137

Laboratory Artifacts 139

Hasty Conclusions 140

Correlation Doesn't Equal Causation 141

Chapter 7 The Inflammation Theory of CTE 147

What Happens When You Get Hit in the Head? 151

The Link Between Obesity and CTE 154

Neurological Damage May Be Reversible 157

Understanding Changes in the Person, Not Just the Brain 159

Money, Money, Money 161

Myth #3 Youth Football Is Child Abuse 165

Chapter 8 Under Attack 167

Youth Football and Fear-Inducing Headlines 170

Faces of CTE 176

Bring Out the Lawyers 177

The Fight to Ban Tackle Football 180

Taking Down the California Ban Bill 184

These Young Men Did Not Have CTE 186

The Case of Kosta Karageorge 188

…And Jeff Winans 190

A CTE Diagnosis Mill? 191

Speaking Up Against the Pressure to Stay Silent 194

Chapter 9 Don't Ban Football, Ban Sugar 199

More Bad Science, Youth Football Edition 202

The Great Game 205

"The Funnest Thing I've Ever Done!" 207

Becoming a Leader 208

It's About Staying Active 211

The Real Childhood Threat 213

Let Kids Be Kids 217

Chapter 10 Heads Up! 221

Teaching Football the Right Way 225

Heads Up Football By the Numbers 229

We Are the Gatekeepers 231

We're Changing How Coaches Think About the Game 234

Tire Biggest Threat is Ignorance 236

If the Rules Don't Work, Change Them 239

The Future is Now 242

Chapter 11 From The Cleats to the Helmet 247

Sweetness 250

Diagnostic Advances 253

Improving Helmet Technology 255

Six Kinds of Concussions 257

A Multidisciplinary Approach to Concussion Treatment 259

Nutrition, Lifestyle, and Nonpharmacological Approaches 265

The TB12 Method 270

Teaching Kids to Live a Healthy Lifestyle 273

Jaws and Coke 274

It's About Life, Not Football 277

Things to Know About CTE and Questions to Ask About Youth Football 283

Acknowledgments 289

About the Authors 293

References 297

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