PCMS_Philadelphia_Medicine_Spring2017 - 12
p h i l a m e d s o c .org
Dr. Ann McKee received her MD from Case Western Reserve School of Medicine
and did a residency in neurology at Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital followed by
neuropathology fellowship at the Massachusetts General Hospital. After being an Assistant
Professor of Neuropathology at Harvard Medical School, she joined the faculty of Boston
University School of Medicine and in 2011 was promoted to Professor of Neurology and
Dr. McKee, Chief of Neuropathology for VA Boston, also directs the Chronic Traumatic
Encephalopathy Center and Brain Banks for the Boston University Alzheimer's Disease
Center, Framingham Heart Study, VA-Boston University-Concussion Legacy Foundation,
and VA Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium, where, since 1996, thousands of
brains have been studied.
The NFL draft has been held in
Philadelphia 14 previous times:
and Racquet Club of Philadelphia
1953-54-55-56 Bellevue-Stratford Hotel
and Warwick Hotel
1958 -59-60-61 Warwick Hotel
Benjamin Franklin Parkway
And a little history ...
The 1935 University of Chicago football
team (they were called the Maroons)
was a national powerhouse coasting on
the forty-year tenure of the legendary
pioneering coach, Amos Alonzo Stagg.
Their star halfback, Jay Berwanger, was
awarded the first Downtown Athletic
Club trophy, which later became known
as the Heisman Trophy. He was the first
player taken in the first NFL draft. (The
Philadelphia Eagles traded their first
draft pick of him.) Later, the University
of Chicago President Robert Maynard
Hutchins decided that university football
should not divert from academics and
in 1939 abolished the football program
altogether. Berwanger never played in
the NFL and chose to pursue what he
thought would be a more lucrative career.
12 Philadelphia Medicine : Spring 2017
Dr. McKee was featured in the Frontline documentary "A League of Denial." The Chronic
Traumatic Encephalopathy Center is the major center for study of concussive sports injury
and the brain bank is the largest brain repository devoted to understanding the long-term
effects of mild traumatic brain injury. Repetitive exposure to brain trauma is the main criteria
for the studied specimens, and not only includes the concussive sports but also military
veterans who may be exposed to similar trauma and concussion from munition explosions.
The renowned center had been funded by grants from National Institute of Neurological
Disease and Stroke of the NIH and has received grants from the National Football League
and from the World Wrestling Entertainment (traded as WWE in NSYE and NASDAQ),
and presently has about 400 specimens from athletes and military veterans. The specimens
undergo rigorous anatomical, histological and immunological studies to compile data to
help diagnose and mitigate CTE.
In an interview with Philadelphia Medicine, Dr. McKee stresses that the best approach
is to eliminate or limit the risk. She recommended to "reduce the risk of collisions in sports"
by not requiring contact in practices, eliminating "headers" in soccer, and requiring headgear
in sparring and sports such as field hockey, soccer, and rugby.
Douglas A. Swift, MD, is a graduate of Amherst College, Class of
1970. After graduation, he entered the Canadian Football League and,
with the recommendation of his college coach Jim Ostendarp, tried
out for the Miami Dolphins. He began his rookie season as a strong
side linebacker and played for six years (1970-75); these included
three Superbowls (V, VI, VII), which were a loss, a win and a win
with the league's only perfect season in history (1973). Rather than
report to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after his 1976 NFL expansion
draft, this son of a general surgeon father and pediatrician mother
retired from football and entered the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Dr.
Swift completed an anesthesia residency at The Hospital of The University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Swift, in an interview with Philadelphia Medicine, related that the greatest injuries
occur when one gets hit from behind or from the side (posterior and lateral forces). He
described that how concussions are handled on the field is quite important, and quoted his
father, who told him "when the lights go out... chill out," meaning if the player was knocked
out or rattled on the field he should be taken out of the game. As a linebacker, Dr. Swift was
taught that his head was part of the "three-point tackle," and that he was to "brace himself
and lead with his head." Dr. Swift feels that the new rulings on how and when to tackle are