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League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions, and the Battle for Truth
 
 

League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions, and the Battle for Truth [Kindle Edition]

Mark Fainaru-Wada , Steve Fainaru
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

“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 damage.
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.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 6310 KB
  • Print Length: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press; 1 edition (8 Oct 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DXKJ6IQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #246,649 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Denis Vukosav TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
"League of Denial" by ESPN journalists Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru is an interesting and somehow shocking read for NFL fans, about some awful discoveries related to diseases and deaths of ex-NFL players.

The authors revealed how the NFL, for almost twenty years, had tried to cover up and even deny proofs that football players due to the lack of enough protection are far more vulnerable to brain diseases and damages.

Unfortunately, it was proven that the league didn't protected its players enough (or at all), because no matter of advanced technology usage, it wasn't possible to create shields good enough that would adequately protect their heads.

But instead to say it publicly, the whole story was a long time hidden from the media to avoid jeopardizing the entire show, and a large amount of money invested.

I suppose that the authors' intention with their book wasn't to reduce the love of fans for this exciting sport, but to illuminate some secrets that shouldn't be tolerated in any sport.

Due to that, I can recommend reading "League of Denial", a book that shows how today's athletes are real gladiators, not only in a figurative sense, and that the cost of their health and life is almost irrelevant compared to the value of entire show in which they participate.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AWSOME READ 31 Oct 2013
By lyndon
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
WHAT A FANTASTIC GRIPPING POWERFUL STORY HAD ME IN TEARS AT TIMES. ALSO HAD MY BLOOD BOILING WITH THE BLINKERED APPROACH OF THE NFL DENIAL WHEN A BLIND MAN COULD SEE THEY WERE IN THE WRONG.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good read. It would be interesting to see if ... 27 Nov 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Good read. It would be interesting to see if a similar book came out about Rugby union, I imagine the issues might turn out to be quite similar
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  183 reviews
82 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I have lived this remarkable story. 19 Oct 2013
By sandy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I write this review as the first wife of a former professional football player (quarterback).While reading League of Denial, I have cried over the stories from the players and their wives. I lived that life. My husband played serious football through high school, university, and professional ball through the 70's. As far as I know, he had at least 11 concussions during his football career. Some of those concussions put him in the hospital. Then the next day, he was back on the football field. While sitting in the stands with the other football wives I often heard the fans yelling, "Kill the quarterback". A difficult thing to listen to. My former husband has always had sever headaches. Those headaches often caused him to be an absent father to our three sons. To see your husband go from a peaceful loving man to one who at times was controlling, angry, and abusive, was no less than shattering and very confusing. His unpredictable behavior often scared me. League of Denial has helped me realize that my husband's behavior was not always his fault. Now, I understand his odd behavior and it makes sense to me. And, it makes me very sad. How sad that neither one of us knew at that time what was happening to his brain. Football does not only affect the players but it also affects the families who are involved in this game. The denial of the danger of football, by the NFL, is understandable from a monetary perspective. However, it is not an excuse. I dearly hope that the Canadian Football League players take care of themselves. By doing so, they are also taking care of their wives and children. I also dearly hope that the fans will listen to themselves when they yell in dissatisfaction at the players. The fans have no idea how hard the players are working. This is their life and ultimately sometimes their death.
51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Every fan should read this book 9 Oct 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Kind of unputtdownable. Recently, various sources have shone a flashlight on the problem of head injuries in football. This book directs a 2000 candle power searchlight onto the problem. After reading it, you'll wonder how the NFL is continuing to get away with what could be called murder - certainly a slow destruction of some of their players. What happened in the tobacco industry proves that no one is infallible. I'm hoping that with the information in this book, the genius grant the McArthur Foundation gave to Kevin Guskiewicz, and raised awareness , the NFL will finally be made to answer for the harm they've done and are continuing to do to their players and alums. I don't think I'll ever watch a game again without thinking of this book.
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book that shows how today's athletes are real gladiators, not only in a figurative sense... 11 Oct 2013
By Denis Vukosav - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
"League of Denial" by ESPN journalists Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru is an interesting and somehow shocking read for NFL fans, about some awful discoveries related to diseases and deaths of ex-NFL players.

The authors revealed how the NFL, for almost twenty years, had tried to cover up and even deny proofs that football players due to the lack of enough protection are far more vulnerable to brain diseases and damages.

Unfortunately, it was proven that the league didn't protected its players enough (or at all), because no matter of advanced technology usage, it wasn't possible to create shields good enough that would adequately protect their heads.

But instead to say it publicly, the whole story was a long time hidden from the media to avoid jeopardizing the entire show, and a large amount of money invested.

I suppose that the authors' intention with their book wasn't to reduce the love of fans for this exciting sport, but to illuminate some secrets that shouldn't be tolerated in any sport.

Due to that, I can recommend reading "League of Denial", a book that shows how today's athletes are real gladiators, not only in a figurative sense, and that the cost of their health and life is almost irrelevant compared to the value of entire show in which they participate.
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well documented, thorough history of concussions, CTE and brain damage in NFL players 13 Oct 2013
By K. Durkin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
First, I will note that I myself had a concussion when I was 7 after I fell off my bicycle and fractured my skull. I was "out" for four hours and don't recall anything of the hour before the accident. It is part of the reason that I am very interested in the research.

As an avid NFL fan since the late 70s, I found this book difficult to read. The stories of what many players have had to endure after they retired is heartbreaking. The first time that I recall concussions being discussed in the media were in the time of Al Toon's retirement at the age of 29 after he said he had 9 concussions. I vaguely remember it being said then that there was a belief that having had one made a person predisposed to another and also there was a theory that some players are more prone to them, like Toon.

In reading this book, it carefully lays out what was known about concussions by whom and when. And the startling thing is that a lot of what we take for granted, still wasn't considered hard science even 20 years ago. In 1990, a team doctor wanted to keep Bubby Brister out of a game and the Steelers Coach Chuck Noll wanted to know why and on what basis or evidence. At the time, they were guidelines. But the doctor had no conclusive proof exactly how much time was necessary to heal a concussion. Healing times are different. There was no test, no baseline.

What the book does well is take the reader from that time when things were murky to the death of Mike Webster when there was a change. A Nigerian, Dr. Omalu, made the decision to study the Hall of Famer's brain even though he died of a heart attack due to what the doctor had read about the player's odd behavior over the last few years. After the brain was "fixed", stained and placed the brain tissue under a microscope he saw something that had not been seen before. He saw Tau. Tau, a substance in the brain, was strangling portions of Websters brain. Tau also goes a little crazy in Alzheimer's patients in a different way. The brain damage in boxers is not the same either. It was something new. And it opened up a whole new can of craziness for the NFL.

There is so much in here that is infuriating. The NFL Retirement board paid benefits for brain damage, yet the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee said "football doesn't cause brain damage". There were people who wanted to help find out exactly what was going on and they were discredited or marginalized by the NFL.

I think the book is extremely well written and it lays out all the people who have been involved (including their flaws and all) and just tells the story without really trying to steer a person in a direction. One thing that is interesting is that many of the people involved in identifying the issue love football and they're working to benefit the players they love and respect.

The one thing that I wish were included is more about why the players are not reporting concussions to the team doctors. Of course, part of it is that they're competitive and want to play, but I feel that another part of it has to do with the fact that contracts aren't guaranteed. In baseball, someone like Mike Witt could have a 5 year guaranteed contract and only end up throwing a few innings over those five years. But in football, you can't play, you get cut. Dave Duerson's wife alluded to it briefly.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Devastating, Heartbreaking, Infuriating!!! 15 Oct 2013
By Andrew Malekoff - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
League of Denial is a devastating expose on the corrupt corporate culture of National Football League brass who, together with complicit medical personnel and scientists, colluded in the medical neglect of their prime commodity - professional football players. The Fainaru brothers are to the pigskin industrial complex what Upton Sinclair was to the early 20th century meatpacking industry.

I cannot say that I will stop watching pro football. Yet, having read League of Denial makes me wonder if I should.

The writing is top-notch. The research is comprehensive. And, the tragic stories of hall-of-fame player Mike Webster, future Hall-of-Famer Junior Seau, and others, are compelling and heartbreaking.

League of Denial blows the lid off the conspiracy to cover up the long-term consequences of concussions in the NFL. The book is must reading for fans, coaches and players at all levels, and parents.

You don't have to be a football fan to appreciate and be moved by League of Denial.
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