Chronic Brain Disease found in ~90% of brains donated by deceased football players

Research on 202 former football players found evidence of a brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them, from athletes in the National Football League, college and even high school.

It’s the largest update on chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a debilitating brain disease that can cause a range of symptoms including memory loss.

The report doesn’t confirm that the condition is common in all football players; it reflects high occurrence in samples at a Boston brain bank that studies CTE. Many donors or their families contributed because of the players’ repeated concussions and troubling symptoms before they died…

The strongest scientific evidence says CTE can only be diagnosed by examining brains after death, although some researchers are experimenting with tests performed on the living. Many scientists believe repeated blows to the head increase risks for developing CTE, leading to progressive loss of normal brain matter and an abnormal buildup of a protein called tau. Combat veterans and athletes in rough contact sports like football and boxing are among those thought to be most at risk.

RTFA. There have been a couple times in my life when friends or family with sound experience in medicine suggested I turn down a work opportunity. Early on – folks made tempting offers to me if I would consider football as a serious path to education and lots of money further on. Even though my closest friend had initially gotten to college on a football scholarship he advised me against it. Just too many chances for a lifetime injury.

Glad I took his advice.

Ancient Sport of Horseback Archery


Click to enlargeBrice Portolano photos

❝ It’s almost hard to believe Brice Portolano’s photographs that look straight out of a medieval era only came about because of social media.

Portolano, a photographer from Paris, first discovered horseback archery when he saw pictures on Facebook that his friend Anna Minkkinen had posted of Iranian world champion Ali Ghoorchian.

❝ Minkkinen, a Finnish student who had been practicing martial arts, sent Ghoorchian a message asking if she could come to Iran and learn more about horseback archery. Ghoorchian said yes, and Portolano tagged along on assignment for a Finnish magazine.

Portolano stayed for 12 days to photograph Minkkinen and Ghoorchian and the intricacies of the ancient sport, which is on UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Fascinating article. History, art-form, martial arts and sport – all come together in this National Geographic article.

Dundee Trounced In Pre-Season Match – Opposition Fielded a Team Of 100 Local School Kids


Click for video

Dundee got their pre-season preparations off to a bad start, slumping to a comprehensive 5-2 defeat in their first friendly of the schedule.

There were, however, mitigating circumstances as the Dees’ opponents brazenly flaunted the rules to field a vastly overpopulated team…Indeed, Dundee were swarmed by 100 local schoolchildren, who ganged up on the senior team as part of the launch event for Dundee’s new away kit…

Speaking to The Courier after the game, Dundee boss Neil McCann (who took charge of the kids’ teams) was impressed by the application he saw out there on the Dens Park pitch:

“I’m just delighted for my young team. I set them out to attack as a 99.

I went for a 33-33-33 formation, and I think it worked a treat!”

Gotta love football played with a sense of humor.

Crooked stock market investor pretended to be Islamic “terror” bomber

❝ A 28-year-old German-Russian citizen took out a five-figure loan to bet that Borussia Dortmund shares would drop, then bombed the soccer team’s bus in an attack he tried to disguise as Islamic terrorism in a scheme to net millions…

The suspect, identified only as Sergej W. in line with German privacy laws, was arrested by a police tactical team early Friday near the southwestern city of Tuebingen…

❝ …Prosecutors’ spokeswoman Frauke Koehler told a news conference Friday…the man came to the attention of investigators because he had made “suspicious options purchases” for shares in Borussia Dortmund, the only top-league German club listed on the stock exchange, on the same day as the April 11 attack.

❝ W. had taken out a loan of “several tens of thousands of euros” days before the attack and bought a large number of so-called put options, betting on a drop in Dortmund’s share price, she said.

“A significant share price drop could have been expected if a player had been seriously injured or even killed as a result of the attack,” according to prosecutors…

❝ Investigators found notes at the scene claiming responsibility on behalf of Islamic extremists, which Germany’s top security official, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, said was a “particularly perfidious way to toy with people’s fears…”

“The fact that someone wanted to enrich himself by killing people to influence the stock market is particularly reprehensible,” he said.

Adds new meaning to “making a killing in the stock market”.

First Woman to officially run Boston Marathon returns after 50 years


Click to enlargeBoston Globe

❝ In 1967, 20-year-old Kathrine Switzer made history when she defiantly became the first woman to officially run in the Boston Marathon — even as race officials tried to physically stop her.

Fifty years later, she finished the race again, donning the same number: 261.

❝ “I just ran the fastest marathon I’ve run in 46 years,” she told NBC News after crossing the finish line Monday.

❝ It’s an impressive feat for someone whose coach once told her, “No dame ain’t ever run no marathon.”

Her story is well-known, especially to female runners.

As well as aficionados of sport – and more. RTFA for the whole story. She’s still an example for us all.

Cameroon Fights Back and Beats Egypt 2-1 in African Cup Final

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Click to enlargeAFP

Cameroon rose again after years of underachievement to win the African Cup of Nations title on Sunday with a fabulous goal in the 89th minute of the final for a 2-1 come-from-behind victory against mighty Egypt.

As the final whistle got nearer, substitute Vincent Aboubakar controlled the ball just outside the area, clipped it over a defender, and then shot past the goalkeeper to clinch Cameroon’s fifth African title and first since 2002.

On the international stage, I have been a Cameroon supporter since their participation in the Summer Olympics in 1984 – and I saw them play for the first time.

Family loyalty often ties my heartstrings to Italy on the world stage [better odds than the Scots side of the family I admit]; but, if there is a global match played and Cameroon is on the card, that is who I will support.

Bravo. Wonderful victory for the Indomitable Lions.