Brain injury survey detail heavy burden – and MMF sets record

Matt Dunigan donates da’ noggin to science

By Terrance Gavan

A tweet-text from a friend last Saturday evening.

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No problem here! Just close it up and let me back out there so I can hit his fists with my head a couple more times.

“Wow!!! Blood, fists, fury!!! Whaatttta show – Rogers SRO!!! I’m 4th row! U shoulda (sic) be here!!!”

This from a guy who spent a lotta’ time – eight years – studying philosophy and Can-Lit at two separate institutions of higher learning.”

I received it as I was heading to the Jeep after a pleasant evening with a wind quintet at the Northern Lights Pavilion.

Here’s what I twitted back.

“Need more of these:!!!! Moron!!!!!!”

Is it just me?

Or are we donating a little too much space, time and energy on this dipsy-doo-da with Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)?

Here’s the rubby-dub on this Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC-29) schlub.

Broken into its simplest format.

The Globe and Mail’s Stevie Brunt describes one of the more gruesome sequences between underdog Canadian Mark Hominick and champ Jose Aldo.

“Along the way, one of Aldo’s blows raised a welt on Hominick’s forehead,” writes Brunt. “Actually, ‘welt’ doesn’t come close to doing it justice. It was huge, like a special effect in a sci-fi film from which some alien life-form eventually erupts. It was grotesque, and popped up so quickly and so dramatically and grew in front of everyone’s eyes, that in the building you could literally hear what it sounds like when 55,000 people gasp at the same time.”

Nice? Eh? Segue quick to the headlines.

Dave Duerson, the NFL player and former Bear, who shot himself in the chest to preserve his brain for science, was dwelling in the dark depths of insanity when he killed himself.

AP reports that: “Dave Duerson had CTE – chronic traumatic encephalopathy. The finding on the brain of the 50-year-old retired National Football League star, who committed suicide in April, was announced at a Monday news conference conducted by doctors at Boston University’s Center for the Study of CTE, Chris Nowinski’s Sports Legacy Institute, and Duerson’s ex-wife and four children.”

Duerson’s results came back positive for concussive brain damage directly tied to his days toiling in the National Football League.

The NFL. You know. Where they wear hard, padded helmets.

Here in Canada Matt Dunigan a former Canadian Football League quarterback, who retired in 1996 after suffering a series of concussions, will allow Dr. Charles Tator and his colleagues at the Krembil Neuroscience Centre at Toronto Western Hospital to study his brain after he dies.

“I think it’s important to get people thinking about what you can do once you’re gone to help continue to further the education and science of … post-concussion syndrome,” said Dunigan on Tuesday. Dunigan is an analyst with TSN.

So big concerns re mental health in professional sports.

Hinged to this truly frightening and very disturbing finding, we receive news that the Mixed Martial Arts trolley car ride, staged in Toronto at the Rogers Centre last weekend, set a world record for attendance.

Yes, 55,000 screaming lunatics – including my twitchy and slightly touched twittering friend in the fourth row – attended the mixed martial arts extravaganza.

The promoter and UFC tempest is tinpot dictator Dana White – who has been arguing with the Ontario government for the last five years over their imposed ban on such a delicate and nuanced entertainment package – said, when asked if he would be back to T-dot: “Are you kidding? We would be back here next weekend, if we could arrange it!” (Please note that thus far into our excursion we have 23 “!” – now 24! 25! Darnit!)

What can we say? MMA and UFC is prone to hyperbole! (28! – 29! Aww! Crap!)

Distilled, it is a bare knuckle, barefooted, street brawl in something they call an octagon.

I know all about octagons.

From grade 12 geometry.

The Reverend Donald Francis Gavan – my uncle and a very succinct, if peculiar perfessor’ of math – taught me!

It’s an eight-sided figure containing one pair of combatants, where the combined IQs of combatant A plus combatant B is equal to pi times the weighted IQs of four Geckos divided by 3 to the ninth power.

Or as Uncle Don used to put it!

“Dumb as a bag o’ hammers!”


An excerpt from an article by Irvin Muchnick in the BeyondChron San Francisco alternative web daily outlines poignantly the bottom line.

“Who will pay the bill for the current generation of sports-generated broken lives,” writes Muchnick. “This exercise runs deeper than the NFL’s bottom line. Half-baked prospective solutions driven by an image-conscious, money-hungry corporation will not significantly arrest the CTE pandemic. And as writer Matt Chaney has noted, it is non-professionals and their families – along with the nation as a whole – who bear the brunt of the NFL lobby’s current campaign to shift responsibility to state legislatures mandating new practices by cash-strapped school and other amateur athletic programs.”


Pro athletes get paid handsomely to risk their lives.

Our children do not! (35! Aww! Hell!)

That’s Thirty-eight. Knuckleheads!

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