In light of recent stories about violent acts committed by NFL players, Dan Diamond, writing in Forbes, examines the link between violence and head injuries.
“There’s increasing evidence that the NFL’s domestic violence arrest rate — which is ‘downright extraordinary,’ Benjamin Morris writes at FiveThirtyEight — could be associated with more than the culture of football.”
“NFL players get arrested for domestic violence at an ‘extremely high [rate] relative to expectations,’ Morris writes. ‘Domestic violence accounts for 48 percent of arrests for violent crimes among NFL players, compared to [an] estimated 21 percent nationally.’”
“You can’t draw a straight line between players who are known to abuse their partners and a record of football head injuries. At this point, that data is incomplete, partly because NFL concussion data is so piecemeal.”
“But neurologists have repeatedly found a neurobiological link in individuals who commit repeated acts of violence.”
Morris explains that it’s like smoking and cancer: “Many people smoke and do not have cancer. But certainly smoking raises the odds of lung cancer, just as damage to the prefrontal cortex can raise the odds of impulsive, aggressive behavior.”