Ostensibly in an attempt to prove that football is dangerous to players’ health (like nobody watching the sport could figure that one out), a report was released suggesting that now deceased Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry had major brain damage at the time of his death. The report says Henry’s brain shows he had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) — a form of degenerative brain damage caused by multiple hits to the head. See, it’s not that I dispute that taking hits in football can lead to concussions and brain damage — it’s dangerous the same way boxing and MMA is — it’s that I dispute the circumstances of the report. Let’s all actually use our brains here.
On December 17th, 2009, Chris Henry either fell or jumped out of a car and landed on the street. Considering the damage from the fall was enough to kill Henry, I’m guessing it also did some serious brain damage. And if the fall out of the truck didn’t result in some brain damage, I’m guessing all the weed Henry smoked didn’t help much either. Getting back to it, If the doctors doing the study don’t have a baseline for comparison from before AND after Henry’s death, then how are we supposed to know when the brain damage was done? Henry never had a concussion throughout his football playing career. Isn’t it quite plausible that the damage was done by the fall out of the car rather than football? Since the fall was enough to kill him, I’d say it’s a darn good possibility.
The other purported reason for the study was to ascribe blame elsewhere. See, saying Henry had brain damage from football leads to the following thoughts from the article: “Now … Henry’s family, friends and fans — will wonder if his neural damage contributed to his emotional volatility, including whatever problems he was suffering the day he died.” Please. Henry exhibited poor judgment and illegal behavior well before he started taking NFL hits. I’m not here to ruin the day for Henry’s family nor to sully Chris’ name postmortem. Rather, I just want to call out b.s. when I see it and this is b.s.
Researchers find brain trauma in Henry [Peter Keating/ESPN]