Sports/American Football & Concussions – A Love/Hate Bond

Bernadette Keefe M.D.



“If just 10% of the mothers in this country think that football is a dangerous sport, then that is the end of football” – The NFL 

The sports of American football, European football (U.S. soccer), ice hockey (a Canadian favorite), wrestling, lacrosse, and field hockey, among others, are associated with a significant risk of concussions. In the early 2000s, investigations of early, untimely deaths of several retired National Football League (NFL) players, showed similar microscopic findings in their brains. With this discovery, the disease of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), associated with multiple concussions on the football field, was introduced to the world.

Concussion, The Movie

League of Denial, The Documentary 

“You’re going to war with a corporation that owns a day of the week! “

Two books, one feature film and one television documentary have been released recounting the story of Dr. Bennett Omalu, the man who linked characteristic brain abnormalities, which he later named chronic traumatic encephalopathy, to the progressive dementia and erratic behavior in the pro-football players he studied. Countless scientific articles have been written, and the issue of traumatic brain injury in contact sports has now become front-page news. 

Concussion Movie Trailer 

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In Brief, Football: The History, The Violence, The Grace/Beauty

1rst-intercollef-football-1876-Yale-Vs-PrincetonBernadette Keefe M.D.

Introduction -The Passion, The Inquiry

The Golden Game, the game that decides the 2016 National Football League (NFL) champion, will be played in Santa Clara, California, on Sunday February 7, before a stadium audience of 68,000 and a U.S. television audience likely surpassing 110 million (private TV sets).

Football is immensely popular in the United States. For many, it is a favorite past time and, is often dubbed America’s sport. Football is also big business, with tentacles reaching into two massive empires: media, through TV networks such as ESPN, and gambling, from Las Vegas back rooms to online Fantasy Football websites such as FanDuel and Draftkings.

Notably, football is a particularly violent game, one in which brute strength is as important as skill. The over-riding mission is to destroy/nullify opposing players who stand in the way of ball possession and goals. Injury is common in the sport, and can be severe.

As a Carolina Panthers fan, but also a physician, the violence in football has always been unnerving. For me, the sport’s allure is in the many graceful, athletic moves, especially the leaping, and reaching. For many others, however, it’s the cold, hard violence that thrills. As a prelude to my larger post on football, to be released later this weekend, I wanted to delve into the roots of the sport, and ask: Was football always so violent?

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#irishmed, Telemedicine and “Technodoctors”

An inspired, and, cautionary guest blog on the impact, the value, and drawbacks of technology in doctoring – channeling the gifted Abraham Verghese –

A Medical Education

This evening (all going well) I will participate in the Twitter #irishmed discussion, which is on telemedicine.

On one level, telemedicine does not apply all that much to me in the clinical area of psychiatry. It seems most appropriate for more data-driven specialties, or ones which have a much greater role for interpreting (and conveying the results of!) lab tests. Having said that, in the full sense of the term telemedicine does not just refer to video consultations but to any remote medical interaction. I spend a lot of time on the phone.

I do have a nagging worry about the loss of the richness of the clinical encounter in telemedicine. I am looking forward to having some interesting discussions on this this evening. I do worry that this is an area in which the technology can drive the process to a degree that may crowd out the clinical need.

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Time to Decouple Fear and Health


Bernadette Keefe M.D.

“Pseudo-dangers represent further opportunities to avoid problems we do not wish to confront….” – Barry Glassner, The Culture of Fear


For a while now, I’ve been concerned about the increasing role that fear has played as a tactic in persuading patients to choose certain treatments in healthcare, and to adopt certain habits. Fear is also, often a dominant driver for patients in their health decision-making process.

Fear, however, is an unwanted distraction when making decisions. In contrast to a calm state of mind, it creates added anxiety and stress, in a citizenry already burdened with increasing stressors. How can adding to this be constructive, or further, even moral? How can healthcare decisions, made from fear, be in any way conducive to optimal health outcomes, or conducive to sustainable well-being throughout our lifespans? 
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Bernadette Keefe M.D. Biography {Abbreviated}

Updated June 2017 


Dr. Bernadette Keefe

For Unabbreviated Version: See Menu “About” 

Social Media in Healthcare – Consultant & Blogger

Dr. Bernadette Keefe practiced Academic Radiology at UNC Hospitals – Chapel Hill, North Carolina after receiving her M.D., internship and residency training in New York City. Read more on Linkedin.

Dr. Keefe  joined twitter in 2010 to research her son’s sports career. She adopted a 2nd twitter handle, (@walkeredu) and Facebook page, in June 2013, to launch her endeavor: The Walker Education Project. One month later, she created her 3rd, ,and current twitter handle, Dr. Bernadette Keefe at @nxtstop1.

Dr. Bernadette Keefe has curated over 600 conferences around the world, beginning this work in February 2014. Since August 2015, she has used the twitter tool ‘Storify’ to record her curations. Dr. Keefe was co-host of #HCLDR for nearly two years, submitting blogs and moderating the weekly twitter chats. Additionally, she has guest-hosted multiple other tweet chats, and published numerous blogs on her personal website

Dr. Keefe has helped various medical organizations including the British Geriatrics Society with their Twitter outreach. She has consulted on Twitter campaigns for aging-focused conferences such as the Louisville Innovation Summit.

Dr. Bernadette Keefe is available for consultation, with individuals or professional organizations, on the most efficient use of healthcare Twitter for professional purposes. Please contact her via her website, Twitter, or LinkedIn.




The Illusion of Communication

A Superb, Brief, Guest Post on Communication. Useful for physicians; an essential aspect of great ‘doctoring’.


the-single-biggest-problem-in-communication-is-the-illusion-that-it-has-taken-place-quote-1George Bernard Shaw said ‘The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place’. This same quote was used by Tim Fargo in his foreword to my book ‘Mug and Tweet’ and has been used by communicators over the decades, to question the effectiveness of our communication. I work alongside Steve Maraboli, who is in my opinion one of the greatest Human Behaviour specialists ever, and he always asks that we observe the behaviour of others and more importantly our own behaviour. The real question that needs to be asked by ourselves, of ourselves is: What were we thinking that caused us to say and do what we did? Did our actions communicate effectively? More importantly what was our attitude towards the people we were communicating with, did we take into account what John Maxwell has always said ‘People don’t care how much you know, until they know…

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Fireside Chats – A Celebration of Self Care and Care for Each Other


Bernadette Keefe MD

A Holiday Post that translates to any gathering with loved ones ~ BK

The Path to Wellness

‘Tis the season of celebration. As we are in a festive month, I’d like to talk about a few celebratory health related ‘fireside chats’ that we might consider when we gather with our families and friends this holiday season. Conversations around health and healthcare are often avoided as they can invite a difficult mixture of bad news, fear, criticism, advice, or unwanted cajoling. I’d like to flip these chats towards celebration by identifying four major things in life that are both good for us, and are, at essence, a cause for celebration.

For this post on holiday “fireside chats; a celebration of self-care”, I chose four major topics to delve into: emotional health, physical exercise, food and food culture and the circle of life. Included within are videos, text and references that I hope hone in on the essence of self care, and the process of creating healthy lives for ourselves, and our loved ones.

Let’s celebrate the role of self-care in the lives of ourselves, our families, and our friends!

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