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Health/Phys. Ed. (X) - Social Studies (X) - FRONTLINE (X) - Safety (X) - Streaming (X)

League of Denial: Should Kids Play Tackle Football?

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Learn how children's brains are affected differently by hits to the head that routinely occur during football practice and game play in this video from FRONTLINE: League of Denial. This video is also featured in the interactive lesson Is Football Safe for Kids? Use the lesson to learn more about the hypothesis that "just playing the game" places young football players at risk of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. For background on CTE, watch Introduction To CTE and review How CTE Affects the Brain. This resource is part of the FRONTLINE Collection.

League of Denial: What Causes CTE?

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Learn about one scientist’s hypothesis that “just playing the game” places young football players at risk of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, in this video from FRONTLINE: League of Denial. This video is featured in the interactive lesson Is Football Safe for Kids. Use the lesson to learn more about how children's brains are impacted differently and to write down your responses to evidence that football may be unsafe for young children. For background on CTE, watch Introduction to CTE and review How CTE Affects the Brain. This resource is part of the FRONTLINE Collection.

League of Denial: Introduction to CTE

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Learn how the 2002 death of one of football’s greatest linemen helped bring to light a rare disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, in this video from FRONTLINE: League of Denial. In 1991, "Iron Mike" Webster retired after 17 years in football and thousands of hits to his helmet. Soon after, he and his family suspected that playing football had taken a devastating toll on his brain. After Webster died, pathologist Bennet Omalu examined Webster’s brain tissue. His findings suggested that repetitive brain trauma causes an abnormal protein ("tau") to accumulate in the brain. This was the first evidence that playing football could cause a progressive neurodegenerative disease that results in permanent brain damage. This resource is part of the FRONTLINE Collection.

League of Denial: Short-Term Effects of Concussions

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Learn about the damaging short-term effects of concussions suffered by professional football players, through the story of Dallas quarterback Troy Aikman, in this video from FRONTLINE: League of Denial. During the 1994 NFC championship game, a defensive player's hit to Aikman’s helmet knocked Aikman out of the game. In the hospital, Aikman was visited by his agent, who had to repeatedly explain what had happened in the game. For background, watch Introduction to CTE and review How CTE Affects the Brain. This resource is part of the FRONTLINE Collection.

FRONTLINE: NFL Concussion Settlement | How Much Is a Brain Worth to the NFL?

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Learn about the formula used in the NFL concussion settlement to pay injured players, in this video short from FRONTLINE. Under the settlement, a player’s brain could be worth as much as $5 million or as little as nothing. In 2013, negotiators representing the NFL and former players came up with a plan to pay ex-players with a qualifying condition. The plan factored in the player’s age, the seriousness of the illness, and how long he played, and might cost the NFL about $1 billion in payouts to former players. The league makes $1 billion each year in sponsorship revenues alone. For background, watch Introduction to CTE and review How CTE Affects the Brain. This resource is part of the FRONTLINE Collection.

League of Denial Update | NFL Player Quits over Concussion Concerns

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Learn about NFL player Chris Borland, who retired after just one season due to his concern about concussions, and why his decision prompted one media outlet to call him “the most dangerous man in football,” in this video from FRONTLINE. Borland left professional football, the game he loved since childhood, after reading about the effects of repeated head contact on the brain and speaking with a leading brain scientist. In response to the young star’s headline-making retirement decision, NFL commissioner Goodell stated the game was safer than ever. Estimates from actuaries hired by the NFL state that three out of ten NFL players will have brain damage in their lifetimes. For background, watch Introduction to CTE and review How CTE Affects the Brain. This resource is part of the FRONTLINE Collection.

Download teacher support materials for this resource:  Teaching Tips  |  Video Transcript

League of Denial: The NFL Plays Defense

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Discover the strategies that the National Football League used to avoid admitting that playing professional football can cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, in this media gallery from FRONTLINE: League of Denial. After a study commissioned by the NFL showed a higher-than-expected prevalence of brain disorders among football players, the league’s spokesman claimed that the study’s design was flawed, and its commissioner would not acknowledge before Congress that concussions hurt pro football players. And even after a large financial settlement awarded former NFL players hundreds of millions of dollars, the league made no admission of guilt. For background, watch Introduction to CTE and review How CTE Affects the Brain. This resource is part of the FRONTLINE Collection.