Published February 4, 2020
UB’s Center on the Advancement of Sport has launched a four-part blog series on sports concussions that aims to clarify the issues surrounding traumatic brain injuries.
“The series, published on our blog site “UB Law Sports & Entertainment Forum,” is part of the continuing effort of the UB Center for the Advancement of Sport to provide information to the community about topics of interest in sports law,” says Helen “Nellie” Drew, professor of practice in sports law and director of the Center for the Advancement of Sport.
The blog series was written by Courtney Way, president of Buffalo Sports & Entertainment Law Society and a sports law concentration JD student. The first installment, “Legislation Banning Youth Tackle Football: Traumatic Brain Injury and its Effects,” examines proposed bans on youth tackle football, relying on recent chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, research that asserts the longer a player engages in tackle football, the more likely they are to develop the degenerative brain disease.
“This series is a deep dive into the issue, providing a foundation about traumatic brain injury and CTE, its effects on adults and children, notable cases and research findings regarding football players diagnosed with CTE, and the positions on the ban of youth tackle football,” according to the first installment of the blog.
“The series concludes with a novel conclusion: Blame the treatment, not the tackle,” according to the blog. “We really should be thinking of it as, ‘There isn’t CTE without improper treatment.’ Simply, the risk of brain degeneration due to improper treatment is far greater than the risk of injury from the hit itself.”
The blog series coordinates with the center’s conference on best practices in treating sports injuries, “A Cross-disciplinary Conversation Concerning Concussions and Other Sports Injuries,” set for Feb. 14 at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB,
Conference presenters include John Leddy, medical director of UB’s Concussion Management Clinic, and Barry Willer, professor of psychiatry and director of research for the clinic.
Topics discussed in the UB Sports Law Forum blog series include the proposals to ban youth tackle football, and the truth about the research behind CTE and its limited scope in light of the spotlight it has received in pop culture and social media.
“Several states including New York are considering legislative proposals to ban tackle youth football,” says Drew, whose Center for the Advancement of Sport examines the expanding issues of sports law and sports business fields.
“Courtney sat down with UB Concussion Clinic experts Dr. John Leddy and Dr. Barry Willer to get a better understanding of the nuances of exactly what is and is not known about concussions, and what the real risks are of concussions in contact sports.
“This is something every parent, coach, athletic administrator and pediatrician should read — and the New York State Legislature should take into account in considering the proposed legislation.
“The popular media reports have been less than accurate due to the spin put on research outcomes by some advocates against contact sports,” says Drew. “This series clarifies the issues as several states, including New York, consider legislation banning youth tackle football.”