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Latest NFL suicide revives concerns over play-related head traumas

FOX News—July 31, 2012

Teena Shetty, M.D., a neurologist at Hospital for Special Surgery, and team neurologist for the New York Giants, weighs in on the recent suicide of Titans O.J. Murdoch.

FOX NEWS: Doctor Shetty, first of all what a waste--and we have absolutely no evidence right now that O.J. Murdoch's death had anything to do with brain injuries he may have suffered during his years of playing football. But what are you seeing as a team doctor and someone who treats players who play for the NFL giants.
Dr. Shetty: Mood changes, anxiety and irritability can all be symptoms of a concussion. As you pointed out, we really know nothing about whether or not he actually had concussions, and whether or not this was a factor that played a role in his very tragic suicide. What we do know is that football players are at risk for concussions, concussed people can become depressed, and sadly depressed people are at risk for suicidal ideation. And this is a problem that we face.

FOX: We mentioned there are two other big name players Dave Duerson, Ray Easterling, along with Junior Seau--three former players who took their own lives over the last year and a half. For fans of football out there, myself included, should we be worried about the guys were rooting for every Sunday?

Shetty: We don't have to always be worried. What we have to think about is changing the culture of football. And really improving the guidelines for a professional football players. And helping them to understand the consequences of concussion and returning to play too soon.
FOX: Is that happening? We heard just this week that the NFL has instituted a new wellness program for former players, and for current players alike, that's supposed to help them out when they face these kinds of health crises. Is that the answer, is that moving in the right direction?

Shetty: That kind of wellness program is instrumental in providing a way of teaching both players, trainers, families and parents ways of recognizing the symptoms of concussion, and for preventing the cumulative consequences of repeated concussions to the brain.

FOX: Are you hearing from players that they're more concerned about this when they step out onto the football field?

Shetty: Players are undoubtedly increasingly concerned about this. And it's actually a very positive development in this field because they themselves are more concerned for their welfare.
FOX: Thank you very much for coming on and talking to us about this important story.

Shetty: My pleasure.

View the segment at FOXNEWS.com


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