PCMS_Philadelphia_Medicine_Spring2017 - 10

p h i l a m e d s o c  .org



Big Money & Permanent Injury
By: Michael DellaVecchia, MD, PhD, FACS, FICS

n April 27-29th the city of Philadelphia will host the 2017 National Football League draft for the 15th time. This year the
draft will be held on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and the city is expected to host 200,000 visitors and receive an $86
million economic impact to the area.

In those few days, many young men will be made instant millionaires and become part of the $75 billion industry that is the National
Football League. The league's 32 franchises have a total value that is slightly less than the combined values of the 30 major league baseball
teams ($38.6 billion) and the 30 NBA teams ($37.4 billion). (See values of the top 10 NFL franchises in the accompanying table).
In recent years, medical research has shown that participation in concussive sports can take a terrible toll on its players. Acute
injuries can range from the quickly recuperative to paralysis or instant death. Recently, neuropathology and biomedical engineering have
brought to light long-term damage to the brain as a result of repetitive head collisions. Developing brains of children and adolescents are
more susceptible to the cognitive damages than previously thought.
A comprehensive report, ANNUAL SURVEY OF
#: 2016-01, prepared for the American Football Coaches
Association of Waco, Texas, the National Collegiate Athletic
Association, Indianapolis, Indiana, the National Federation
of State High School Associations, Indianapolis, Indiana,
and the National Athletic Trainers' Association, Dallas, Texas,
through the cooperative effort of Kristen L. Kucera, MSPH,
PhD, ATC Director, National Center for Catastrophic
Sport Injury Research at The University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill, David Klossner, PhD, ATC Associate Athletics Director/Sports Performance University of Maryland,
Bob Colgate, Director of Sports and Sports Medicine,
National Federation of State High School Associations,
Robert C. Cantu, MD, Medical Director, National Center
for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research, lists the astonishing number of 1046 total direct fatalities due to
participation in football. Even more tragic, the vast majority -
83.6 % - occur in middle school and high school football
and 71% related to block or tackling activity.
Injuries, and even death, are extensive in the "concussive" sports, including boxing, football, rugby, and hockey.
The Manuel Velazquez Boxing Fatality Collection lists
923 deaths during the 118-year period of 1890-2007
and mixed martial arts list four US fatalities since 2007
in sanctioned bouts, and another nine fatalities in
unsanctioned bouts. (Wikipedia)

10 Philadelphia Medicine : Spring 2017


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