Let no one say the Centers for Disease Control's PR department doesn't have a wicked sense of timing. They chose today, the day of the NFL Kickoff 2012 presented by Bud Light, to release a study confirming that no, football is not good for you, and yes, it will leave your brain a quivering porous mass that will make your life short and miserable.
The study, printed in the journal Neurology and summarized by U.S. News & World Report, contains no surprises—and that's horrifying enough. They tracked 3,500 men who played at least five years in the NFL from 1959 to 1988, and declared them three times more likely than non-football players to die from neurodegenerative diseases. You know, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, that sort of thing. You probably have an older relative, maybe a grandparent who suffered from one of these diseases in their later years. They're horrible, and almost make death welcome. Well, every NFL player is tripling the chances of putting his family through that.
The CDC story stops short of tying the death and degeneration to concussions, which is beyond the purview of this study. (There's almost no reliable data on concussions suffered over that time frame.)
Oh, hey, in totally unrelated news: the NFL will be giving $30 million to the National Institutes of Health. It'll be earmarked solely for research on brain injuries. The donation was announced early this morning. Funny timing too, that.