The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth
On Sale: October 8, 2013
Hardcover / e-Book
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"PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL PLAYERS DO NOT SUSTAIN FREQUENT
REPETITIVE BLOWS TO THE BRAIN ON A REGULAR BASIS."
So concluded the National Football League in a December 2005
scientific paper on concussions in America's most popular
sport. That judgment, implausible even to a casual fan, also
contradicted the opinion of a growing cadre of
neuroscientists who worked in vain to convince the NFL that
it was facing a deadly new scourge: A chronic brain disease
that was driving an alarming number of players -- including
some of the all-time greats -- to madness.
League of Denial reveals how the NFL, over a period
of nearly two decades, sought to cover up and deny mounting
evidence of the connection between football and brain damage.
Comprehensively, and for the first time, award-winning ESPN
investigative reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru
tell the story of a public health crisis that emerged from
the playing fields of our 21st century pastime. Everyone
knew that football is violent and dangerous. But what the
players who built the NFL into a $10 billion industry didn't
know - and what the league sought to shield from them - is
that no amount of padding could protect the human brain from
the force generated by modern football; that the very
essence of the game could be exposing these players to brain
In a fast-paced narrative that moves between the NFL
trenches, America's research labs and the boardrooms where
the NFL went to war against science, League of Denial
examines how the league used its power and resources to
attack independent scientists and elevate its own flawed
research -- a campaign with echoes of Big Tobacco's fight to
deny the connection between smoking and lung cancer. It
chronicles the tragic fates of players like Hall of Fame
Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster, who was so
disturbed at the time of his death he fantasized about
shooting NFL executives; and former Chargers great Junior
Seau, whose diseased brain became the target of an unseemly
scientific battle between researchers and the NFL. Based on
exclusive interviews, previously undisclosed documents and
private emails, this is the story of what the NFL knew and
when it knew it - questions at the heart of crisis that
threatens football, from the highest levels all the way down
to Pop Warner.
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