Concussions with Leonard Marshall

Garpenholm, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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About This Episode

What is CTE? On this episode, Neil deGrasse Tyson and co-hosts Chuck Nice and Gary O’Reilly discuss concussions and emerging information on chronic traumatic encephalopathy with former NFL lineman Leonard Marshall and neuroscientist Heather Berlin, PhD.

What is it like to sue the NFL? We break down Leonard’s journey with brain injury, his book When The Cheering Stops, and some of the inequities within the league. Why are football careers notoriously short? We know how many tackles Leonard had, but how many times was he tackled? Should that be a stat? Neil makes a calculation of how much energy it would’ve been to be hit by Leonard in his prime. 

What does it feel like to get diagnosed with a disease normally identified during autopsy? Leonard details his journey to diagnosis, his thinking about the future, and what eventually led to his advocacy. How is CTE different from a concussion? What cultural changes need to be made to help current and future players? Do football pads actually make the game more dangerous? 

Next, Heather helps us understand the neuroscience behind CTE. How do tau proteins in the brain contribute to neuronal death? Learn about the difference between white matter and gray matter. What does repeated head trauma do that a single concussion doesn’t? Can the brain feel pain when it’s injured? We explore brain mapping, developing experiments for neuroscience research, and why the brain can’t rewire in cases of CTE. Finally, will we be seeing our heads treated differently in sports going forward? 

Thanks to our Patrons Walter Johnson, Ali AlWaheedy, Armen Gevorgyan, Jenny K Leasure, WIGwigWIG, Denny, MaKayla A Holloway, Anna Dupre-Whiting, Allain Brideau, and David for supporting us this week.

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In This Episode

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