NFL admits nearly 1 in 3 players will develop cognitive problems


For decades I have opposed the violent sport of American tackle football.  For years I have put some of those warnings in writing.  The sport is more dangerous than most people realize.

The National Football League (NFL) has finally released information showing how bad the sport is for at least one horrible effect on the brain–the greatly increased risk of dementia:

September 15, 2014

We all know guys in the NFL take a lot of heavy hits to the body but recent studies show hits to the head will leave a lot of them mentally crippled for life.

A report recently released by the National Football League revealed three out of every 10 former NFL players is likely to develop brain conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease at earlier ages compared to the general population.

Of the 19,400 former league players surveyed, some 28 percent or 6,000 men could develop Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of dementia because of playing for the NFL.

The study also predicts 14 percent of all former NFL players will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Another 14 percent is expected to develop moderate dementia.

About 31 players will be diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease or Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). A further 24 players will be afflicted with Parkinson’s disease during their lives, according to the study.

The NFL has revealed frightening details about players’ health that it spent many years denying.

Federal documents released in court stated that 1 in 3 retired players is expected to develop long-term cognitive problems, like Alzheimer’s or dementia, years earlier than the general population.

The New York Times published the story on Friday, September 12 – as roughly 5,000 former NFL players continue working to settle a lawsuit against the league for not providing adequate information that linked football-related head trauma to permanent head injuries.

Last year, it was announced that the NFL would pay as much as $765 million to those players, but that was rejected by a judge who said it wasn’t enough to cover the costs of the estimated 18,000 retired players under the agreement.

According to the CDC, each year U.S. Emergency departments treat more than 170,000 sport-related traumatic brain injuries, including concussions in young people.

Christians should not be fans of behavior that causes problems like this.  And then there are back, neck, knee, chest, and other injuries.

Jesus taught not to intentionally hurt others, as it taught:

39… ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:39, NKJV)

The Apostle Paul wrote:

9…You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:9-10)

American tackle football does harm our neighbors.

Jesus also said:

20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God. (John 3:20-21, NKJV).

Is encouraging American tackle football a deed that would be pleasing to God?

The Apostle Paul wrote:

12… they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.(2 Thessalonians 2:12)

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:28-32, NKJV)

Is not football violent and often unmerciful?

So, if playing football is evil, should Christians approve of it?

Additionally, twice the New Testament refers to the good news message as “the gospel of peace”:

“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15)

14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (Ephesians 6:14-15)

Is not taking a stand against encouraging sports violence consistent with the gospel of peace and love? Or should ministers tell people that violent sports like American tackle football are not “inherently evil” as at least one minister has done?

Traditionally, early Christians (as well as some apostates who professed Christ) were opposed to watching violent sports.

While “love does no harm to a neighbor” (Romans 13:9), what do sports like American football and boxing do? Should Bible believers encourage this?

Unlike stories of violence in books or movies, American football involves actual violence and often physical injury–including brain damaging ones that are often not obvious for years.

The Bible forbids harming others or encouraging sin. Early professors of Christ would not watch violent games as they felt that watching was encouraging and participating in sin. Herbert W. Armstrong categorized American football as evil (see Is American Football Evil?).

You may be telling yourself, well since my church does not (presuming you do not support a group like the Continuing Church of God which does) condemn football (and/or possibly encourages it) the Bible really does not apply here. If so, be careful about accepting that that type of tradition. Jesus Himself taught:

7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:

8 “These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
9 And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. (Matthew 15:7-9)

I am not a fan of American football. I consider that the sport is evil.

Do you believe that Jesus or the Apostle Paul would endorse it? This is something that Christians, and those that claim to be, should think and pray about.

Decades ago, the late evangelist Dibar Apartian wrote:

Be honest with yourself! Do you actually like to be corrected?

Hardly anyone does. Receiving correction in the right attitude is one of life’s most difficult responsibilities.

But a truly converted Christian should like — and even welcome — correction. It helps him or her grow. It’s easy, of course, to see someone else’s faults, but it is not so easy to recognize our own mistakes. We often resent being told about our shortcomings, especially if we see that the person who corrects us has his own problems to overcome.

The purpose of life is spiritual growth and change. But such growth is impossible without reproof and correction. “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (II Tim. 3:16-17, Revised Standard Version).

What is reproof? What is correction? Do these words have clear, specific meanings to you? Check your dictionary and learn their definitions, because both are necessary for our “training in righteousness.”

Every one of us must study the Bible with an honest desire to be taught and corrected by it. Unfortunately, some in the Church have a self-righteous attitude when they read the Bible or hear a sermon. They are convinced that the admonishment applies to someone else and not them. So Bible study loses its effectiveness as far as they are concerned.
God says, “He who heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof [or correction] goes astray” (Prov. 10:17, RSV).

Are you on the “path to life,” or are you going astray because you reject reproof?

Not all want correction.  Jesus warned at the end time that there would be major groups of Christians who needed correction, but would generally not think they needed to:

14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,

‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ — and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked — 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. (Revelation 3:14-19)

Are you willing to accept biblical correction?  The Laodicean Christians who are fans of American tackle football are NOT Philadelphians and will be subject to violence themselves as they will have to go through the Great Tribulation if they do not repent (Revelation 3:14-22). Encouraging violence in sports does not show brotherly/philadelphian love.

There is no doubt that American tackle football is violent.  There is no doubt that the fruits of American tackle football are evil.  Do you encourage this evil?  Or instead, are you willing to put the admonitions of the Bible above encouraging improper behavior in all aspects of your life?

For more scriptures, as well as the position of early Christians and others, please see the following:

Is American Football Evil? Is the most popular spectator sport in the USA something that Christians should watch? What do the Bible and early writings show? There is also a YouTube video available titled Should Christians watch American football?
Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare or Encourage Violence? Here are current and historical perspectives on a matter which show the beliefs of the true church on military participation. Is war proper for Christians? A related sermon would be: Christians, Violence, and Military Service.
The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now the remnant of that era is basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots. They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent.

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