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Study Up For 'Think': Football, Brain Health And Ethical Uncertainty

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With research showing a correlation between football and chronic brain trauma, fans may face an ethical dilemma by supporting the sport.

The NFL reported 228 cases of diagnosed concussions in the 2013 season. Research has revealed prolonged head injuries suffered playing football have lead to dementia, cognitive decline, ALS and Parkinson's among its players. SteveAlmond, writer and author of Against Football: One Fan's Reluctant Manifesto, will join Krys Boyd at 1 p.m. on Think to discuss the issue from an aware fan's perspective.

After a lifetime of diehard devotion, Almond now faces an internal conflict come kickoff: to unapologetically watch the hard-hitting sport, or to boycott  it for its brutish and damaging qualities. His latest book, the preface of which is available to read, is a result of this quandary.

Almond offers a condensed version of his cross-examination in a New York Times magazine article. "[O]ur worship of the game has blinded us to its pathologies," he writes.

His moral  dilemma is pitted against Mark Edmundson's Why Football Matters: My Education in the Game in a Los Angeles Times comparison review.

On the television side, PBS will re-air last fall's award-winning Frontline documentary League of Denial, which investigates the impact the sport has on players (10 p.m. Fridayon KERA TV). PBS also provides up-to-date concussion tracking in the NFL

Before the documentary premiered last year, Krys Boyd spoke with Steve Fainaru, investigative reporter and co-author of the book League of Denial: the NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth, on Think.

Thrice concussed Broncos receiver Wes Welker accepts the throttling that comes with football, according to The Denver Post. Conversely, former NFL player Sean Morey suffers from post-concussion syndrome and retired in 2010 to prevent further brain damage.

Cowboys legend Tony Doresett showed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a trauma-induced and degenerative brain condition, in multiple brain scans and clinical evaluations taken last year.

Almond read from This Won't Take But a Minute, Honey, a compilation of his flash fiction and writing tips, at UNT earlier this year.

And watch out for Almond's essay running this Sunday in the Points section of The Dallas Morning News.