Concussion Inc. : The End of Football As We Know It
by Muchnick, Irvin

The United States Of Football
Santa Clara Symposium On Sports Law And Ethics
Dave Duerson And Other Discontents
Joe Maroon And Other Pittsburgh Witch Doctors
Chris Nowinski And Alan Schwarz
Concussion Ink (In Other Words, Miscellaneous)
Jovan Belcher, Bob Costas, And Me
My Friend George Visger
The Michael Vick And Kris Dielman Follies
Ritalin -- The New Growth Hormone
Obama The Kitsch King
About The Author291

Inside the controversial and newsworthy issue of concussions in American football — Muchnick’s trademark no-holds-barred investigation reveals the corruption and scandals in real time

Traumatic brain injury in football is not incidental, but an inevitable and central aspect of the sport. Starting in high school, through college, and into the NFL, young players face repeated head trauma, and those sustained injuries create lifelong cognitive and functional difficulties.

Muchnick’s Concussion Inc. blog exposed the decades-long cover-up of scientific research into sports concussions and the ongoing denial to radically reform football in North America. This compilation from Muchnick’s no-holds-barred investigative website reveals the complete head injury story as it developed, from the doctor who played fast and loose with the facts about the efficacy of the state-mandated concussion management system for high school football players, to highly touted solutions that are more self-serving cottage industry than of any genuine benefit.

Known for extensive reporting on the tragic story of the Chris Benoit murder-suicide, Muchnick turns his investigative analysis to traumatic brain injury and probes deep into the corporate, government, and media corruption that has enabled the $10-billion-a-year National Football League to trigger a public health crisis.

Irvin Muchnick: Irvin Muchnick is the author of Wrestling Babylon: Piledriving Tales of Drugs, Sex, Death, and Scandal and Chris & Nancy: The True Story of the Benoit Murder-Suicide and Pro Wrestling's Cocktail of Death, and a co-author of Benoit: Wrestling with the Horror that Destroyed a Family and Crippled a Sport. He lives in Berkeley, California.

Concussion Inc.

The End of Football as We Know It

By Irvin Muchnick


Copyright © 2015 Irvin Muchnick
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-77041-138-8



22 SEPTEMBER 2013..........

Sean Pamphilon, a one-time ESPN production assistant who has risen to the ranks of elite sports documentary filmmakers, has produced the very best movie on the football concussion crisis, The United States of Football. Though not accessible everywhere, it has about as wide a release as is possible for any nonfiction film not directed by Michael Moore.

Whatever you do, go see USOF.

As someone who's not paid well enough to hide his natural cantankerousness, I'll be discussing below my disappointment that Pamphilon made the movie he could readily get lots of people to pay to watch, rather than the one I would have made were I as brilliant at this medium as he is. Read on for one person's critique, but at the same time, pay no attention to the grump behind the screen.

I also am proud to call Sean a friend, so let's get the narcissistic part of this review out of the way first.

For reasons that must have cost his poor parents thousands of dollars in fees to child psychologists, Pamphilon was bound and determined to include my voice in USOF. In order to fulfill that promise, he had to go out of his way to interview me at the end of a trip to the Bay Area to visit a dying relative. All kidding aside, I am grateful and humbled to be juxtaposed in this work with assorted journalistic betters in two spots.

One clip has me sourly pointing out that the National Football League's underwriting of federal research on traumatic brain injury is equivalent to the Tobacco Institute's drafting of a report by the surgeon general.

In the other one, I verbally bodyslam Dr. Joe "ImPACT" Maroon of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the NFL coterie of book-cooking scientific researchers, and, of course, World Wrestling Entertainment.

(Not for the first time, I'm struck by how the real WWE reveals more about the way the world works than the fake NFL does. USOF also has on camera Pittsburgh radio commentator Mark Madden, who boasts wrestling industry broadcast roots — along with, obviously, Chris Nowinski, the Harvard football player turned WWE performer whose investigations into his own bout with concussions permanently changed the national narrative of this issue.)

If there's too much Muchnick for everyone else's taste, there's too much Bob Costas for mine. This is not directly a knock on Costas (also an acquaintance verging on friend) — for only a fool could fail to acknowledge that he is the best we have, maybe even a little too sharp for sports. The setup in which Costas asks the unanswerable question — "What can a football official responsibly tell a parent about the safety of football?" — is perfect.

Costas with a pitchfork, however, becomes a mere rhetorical Houdini, a little too fuzzy for full-blown social criticism. Pamphilon isn't Ken Burns (thankfully), and this film doesn't need the imprimatur and homilies of the most recognized face in network sports. When Costas rips ESPN for its now-defunct violence-pandering football segment "You Got Jacked Up!" I feel the same as when he pontificates about the failure of CBS's Masters coverage to probe the controversy over the racist Augusta National Golf Club. Personally, what I want to see is whether Costas, who hobnobs with swimming's biggest stars and anchors NBC's Olympics package, will ever use his platform for a word or three about the nat

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