Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bored, can't sleep...

As the title states, I am bored and can't sleep. When I can't sleep, I tend to blog. I guess I'll throw some random stuff out there and see if any of it sticks.

The fall 2009 semester at Concord is nearly over. In terms of grades and classes and whatnot, I'm going to consider this semester to be a disappointment. Coming off of the really good semester I had in the spring, I didn't follow that up with a great showing this fall. I'm not sure why, but I tend to do better in the spring than in the fall. Maybe it's the weather. I don't know.

The power went out at Concord today. Well, actually, the entire town of Athens. As of the last time I checked, power is still out in Athens, which has resulted in classes being canceled for Thursday. Normally, that would be good, but for most classes, this Thursday is the last time they meet before finals next week. I'm still not sure what's going on with making up that day or whatnot. I'm sure the "higher-ups" at Concord are figuring something out.

There were reportedly 50 mile-per-hour winds going through the area, which some say may have caused the outage. I didn't measure the winds, but they definitely felt strong. I also saw a tree fall down, so it was definitley windy.

I was in the Rahall Center computer lab when the power went out. I wasn't too concerned, since I was just there hanging out with Kelly. But, she and some other people in there were doing online finals. They were upset. Me? I was reading http://garfieldminusgarfield.net/, so I wasn't affected that much when the power went down.

A while before the power went out, I read an interesting story on ESPN.com about brain damage in athletes. I've been following the issue of brain damage in athletes after the Chris Benoit double murder/suicide incident from 2007. It came out shortly after that his brain had considerable damage and the scientists involved believe that may have been the reason he did what he did, as opposed to the common "roid rage" theory.

After the Benoit study came out, I looked into this a little bit more and realized that a lot of football players had this condition too - chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which basically means "a lot of hits to the head."

The article that I read notes that former wrestler Andrew "Test" Martin had his brain examined and he suffered from CTE. Test is the second wrestler to have suffered from CTE, with Benoit being the first. They're also the only two wrestlers who have been examined.

The findings today prompted Chris Nowinski to issue a statement. Nowinski is a former WWE wrestler and Harvard graduate who was forced to retire due to issues stemming from post-concussion syndrome. He wrote a book about concussions and founded the Sports Legacy Institute. The SLI found the link with CTE and Benoit. They didn't take part in the study with Test. Nowinski's statement is below, in italics -

To the professional wrestling community:


I was saddened today, but not surprised, to learn that Andrew “Test” Martin was suffering from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative brain disease caused by repetitive trauma, when he passed away. I had the honor of wrestling Test on multiple occasions and he had my respect both as a performer and as a person.

Most wrestlers and wrestling fans are aware that since retiring from WWE due to multiple concussions, I have dedicated my life to the study, treatment, and prevention of CTE. Our non-profit Sports Legacy Institute (SLI) was responsible for the diagnosis of CTE in Chris Benoit in 2007, the first professional wrestler diagnosed with CTE. In 2008 I teamed up with the top researchers in this field to start the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy (CSTE) at the prestigious Boston University School of Medicine. Along with Dr. Ann McKee, Dr. Robert Stern, and Dr. Robert Cantu we have now analyzed the brains of over twenty athletes, and are beginning to develop an advanced understanding of this disease.

More importantly over 225 active and retired athletes have volunteered to be part of a longitudinal study on CTE. By enrolling in our CONTACT study at the CSTE at Boston University School of Medicine, they will be committing to donating their brain to CTE research after death. CONTACT members also agree to update their medical and trauma histories annually with the CSTE by phone. This study will enable the CSTE to obtain more accurate and detailed histories of donors and compare them to future pathological findings, eventually allowing us to understand the specific risk factors and clinical course of CTE.

Over 20 wrestlers have already enrolled or recently pledged to join the study, including Rob Van Dam, Matt Morgan, Lance Storm, Ken Kennedy, Molly Holly, Tony Garea, Antonio Thomas, Dawn Marie, Kevin Fertig, and other big names who at this point choose to remain anonymous. The only group of professional athletes so far with a greater commitment to this research is NFL players, with over 60 current and retired players involved.

Considering how the CSTE’s research combined with SLI’s advocacy were able to convince the NFL last month to completely change their approach to both concussions and lower-impact repetitive brain trauma, Test’s tragic death provides an opportunity to create change and to prevent this from happening to others.

I would like to encourage current and former professional wrestlers to become part of the research that we expect will eventually lead to treatment and a cure for CTE. I am enrolled and will be donating my brain to help my former colleagues. I hope you will choose to join me and over 20 other members of our fraternity in this important endeavor.

Chris Nowinski
cnowinski @ sportslegacy.org


I guess that's enough wrestling talk for right now.

We're at about the one-month mark of me and Kelly living together in our new apartment. That's been fun.

Sometimes you just need to make a change in your life. Moving into this apartment has been one of the best decisions I've made in a long time. I was ready to move out on my own for a while, at least several months. I wasn't very happy as the time went on and I was getting no closer to moving out. But, I made the move and my spirits picked up. Speaking of earlier in this blog, maybe that was one reason I didn't do so well this semester. Not being happy is not a motivator for doing homework. Hmmm...

The move still isn't 100% finished yet. Right now, my room is mainly being used for storage. I operate out of the living room and sleep in Kelly's room. I can't get Internet in my room, so I'm usually in the living room. It just works out better.

Kelly put up a few pictures of the apartment recently on her MySpace. Click here to see them. She took most of them last Sunday, when 3 inches of snow came down in a matter of a couple hours. It was pretty crazy. There are a couple from before.

On the subject of the apartment, click here to read the latest edition of "Communication Breakdown," my weekly column in Concord University's newspaper, The Concordian. It's kind of a "part 2" to a previous piece I did. It's also partly inspired by a comment from Eric Proffit. I sent out a "tweet" from my twitter page asking for column ideas, and Eric said I should write it about my experiences as a Pizza Hut manager. That got me on the subject of "responsibility" and whatnot, which served as a sequel of sorts to a previous piece I did.

About the website looking like shit, I sent the Editor-in-Chief a text about it and she said that the Wed Designer was going to work on it... but then the power went out in Athens. So, the site was going to be fixed, it's just going to be delayed for a little while.

And, yeah, that is another guy's story on the same page as mine. My basketball story also isn't on the website. It's actually not in the paper, since that was the only sports story for the week. It was supposed to be put on the website today... but, that power outage deal. Click here to read the Q&A I conducted for that story.

While we're talking about The Concordian, I've had some people ask me if I'm going to be on the staff again next semester. My answer to that is... I don't know.

From a student standpoint, I also think writing for the paper may have affected my classwork. So, I have three reasons for why my grades fell this semester, and next semester two of them (the weather, hating where I live) are automatically knocked out. Does that leave enough room to write for the paper? Or should I give that up too and have an even better shot at better grades?

Or, should I take a page out of Kelly's playbook and take the spring semester off, like she's doing?

I don't know. I guess we'll see what happens in the spring. I enjoyed writing for the paper. I wasn't a fan of everything the paper was doing, I didn't necessarily agree 100% with the editorial stance of the paper. I felt like there was way too much "fluff" and not enough "real" content in the paper. I enjoyed doing what I did, though.

It was weird, kind of. I felt like there was the staff of the paper, and then there was me. I didn't feel really connected to the staff.

Will I be back? I don't know. Go under the assumption that the answer is "no." That way, it won't come as a shock in the spring if I'm not back, and it will be a pleasant surprise if I am on the staff.

So, that may be the last edition of "Communication Breakdown." My last story may be a yet-to-be-published women's basketball story. If that ever pops up, I'll post a link.

That looks to be about everything I have. I'll leave you with a random, funny YouTube video. Enjoy.

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