Source: ndsmcobserver.com | Re-Post Duerson Fund 4/26/2017 –
In 2007, former New York Times investigative reporter Alan Schwarz started writing a series of stories reporting on the staggering rate of concussions amongst NFL players, leading to new regulations and a congressional hearing. In his talk at Jordan Auditorium on Wednesday, Schwarz discussed his research process and how his interests in sports and math informed his research.
Schwarz said that after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in math, he started to write as a sports journalist. At the end of 2006, Schwarz began to receive information about brain damages of football players from his friends, which caught his attention.
“I, like everybody else, thought [a] concussion was a brain bruise,” he said. “But it can bring on early Alzheimer-type symptoms — cognitive impairment, cognitive decline, memory loss … that’s pretty awful.”
Schwarz said he observed four consecutive football players diagnosed with concussions — he figured there must be a correlation between playing football and concussions.
“The chance for these players to have this disease is greatly higher than the national population,” he said. “Something is going on here.”
After embarking on his research into the effects of concussions, Schwarz said he was confronted by NFL managers and scientists, who tried hard to deny the risk of brain damage that playing football presented.
When Schwarz told NFL commissioner Roger Goodell that four out of four football players he observed suffered from concussion symptoms, Goodell refused to believe it.