Thursday, February 7, 2019

Review of "Brainwashed"

Concussions in football are a hot topic and it is always educational to read anything about the topic.  Most of the news has been bad as far as football's role in this issue has been concerned.  This book is a very good account of another viewpoint.  Here is my review of "Brainwashed."


“Brainwashed: The Bad Science Behind CTE and the Plot to Destroy Football” by Merril Hoge and Peter Cummings, MD
Football (American), injuries, politics

Publish date:
October 22, 2018

337 pages

4 of 5 stars (very good)

Even if one is not a football fan, that person will probably have heard about the deaths, some by suicide, of former football players who were suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).  Because of the studies that have been published about links between the collisions in football, concussions and CTE, some are concerned about the safety of the game, especially at the youth level.  This book by Merril Hoge, a former NFL player and analyst, and Dr. Peter Cummings, a board-certified neuropathologist, provides a different perspective on the issue.
Let me get the bad points out of the way first – I felt that Hoge kept repeating the same points over and over in a way that made it feel he was forcing the reader to believe the same way he did instead of simply providing information.  During the book, he states that the science of football causing CTE has been hyped by a willing media, but yet the title of this book is just as much a hype by stating that this is a plot to “destroy football.”  While reading this, I never got that impression that the goal was to destroy the game. 

Those, however, don’t overshadow the excellent research and narrative that the book truly provides, namely that there are flaws in not only the science, but the presentation of the results of that science. It was interesting to read Dr. Cummings’ views on some of the findings and also his opinion on how some of the more famous deaths of football players such as Junior Seau and Aaron Hernandez were most likely NOT caused by CTE.  This is an excellent counterpoint to the news in the media now and offers a balanced viewpoint. 
It should also be noted that Hoge repeatedly states that he does not underestimate the concern for safety and does not criticize any families of deceased players who wanted the brains of their family members sent for study.  He simply wanted to present a different perspective and he does a good job of that.  This is a book that needs to be read by anyone interested in this topic.
I wish to thank Amplify Publishing for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Book Format Read:
E-book (Kindle)

Buying Links:

1 comment: