Former NFL player Merril Hoge teamed up with Dr. Peter Cummings (his actual name), a board certified in anatomic pathology, neuropathology and forensic pathology, to write a book on how CTE is a plot to destroy football.
The book is “Brainwashed: The Bad Science Behind CTE and the Plot to Destroy Football” and is available on Amazon.
The doctor and the former player also teamed up for an op-ed on Yahoo explaining their book.
The news broke the internet, sent reporters scrambling to develop their own takes, and sealed the deal for millions of American parents, doctors, coaches and players. Finally, the link between playing football and developing a terrible neurodegenerative disease seemed ironclad.
As an ex-NFL player and a forensic neuropathologist, respectively, we both have an interest in solid science and sound policy that protects athletes, so we were alarmed by the CTE Center’s findings. In its wake, parents were removing their kids from Pop Warner leagues, experts were calling football “child abuse” and some states talked of banning tackle football altogether.
Then we took a closer look at the study that led to the Times story — apparently something few journalists had bothered to do. When we dug into the methodology, we were floored. The study was so badly flawed that it was nearly worthless. But that’s not what had been reported in practically every major media outlet in the world. Thanks to the barrage of sensationalist coverage, the “110 out of 111 brains” story had turned into a wildfire, and we were standing around with a couple of garden hoses, telling everybody to calm down.
That’s why we wrote our new book, “Brainwashed: The Bad Science Behind CTE and the Plot to Destroy Football” (Amplify, Oct. 23, 2018), and it’s why we’ve written this op-ed. We believe that when people know what we know, they’ll start asking tougher, smarter questions, and the “football causes CTE” connection will be revealed as the pseudoscience that it is.
Have no worries, the dynamic duo isn’t saying that CTE doesn’t exist. They’re just taking down the CTE study and pointing out a bunch of other things that cause CTE.
For the record, we’re not saying that CTE doesn’t exist or suggesting that taking repeated hits to the head is a good thing. Clearly, something is causing neurodegenerative disease in some athletes, and something is leaving CTE’s distinctive protein signature in their brains. But there’s so much we don’t know: what causes it, if impacts to the head are really involved, how much exposure is too much, what clinical symptoms (if any) these physical signs might cause later in life, if other factors are involved, and more. There are too many unanswered questions to justify the fear and hysteria.
Finally someone to point out that CTE isn’t only caused by football and repeated blows to the head. But that repeated blows to the head still cause it.
This is the kind of valuable information the public needs. So your telling me I can get CTE doing other things too? Fantastic.