Super Bowl LVIII this year is in Las Vegas, Nevada, which also is the site of the third annual Black Men’s Brain Health Conference (BMBHC).
The free two-day event on the University of Nevada-Las Vegas campus (February 6-7) will feature such topics as brain health, disparities in health care for Black males, sociocultural context and factors, cognitive aging and resilience, recruitment strategies, and the benefits of participating in research.
“We expect 300 people to be in person throughout the two days” along with an estimated 700 more also registered to attend virtually, said Dr. Robert W. Turner II of George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Science during an MSR phone interview.
“Anybody who cares about [Black men’s health] and wants to get the most recent update about all this stuff, we’re here. We bring in experts around the country to be able to talk about this.”
BMBHC also will highlight about 30 emerging scholars who are committed to research and analysis on the health of men of color.
Turner, a former college and pro football player, Dr. Maria Carrillo (Alzheimer’s Association), and Dr. Monica Rivera-Mindt (Fordham University/Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai) will lead this year’s conference.
The conference sponsors include the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, The National Institute of Aging, the Alzheimer’s Association, the American Brain Coalition, NFL Alumni, and the UNLV Sports Innovative Institute.
The final day of the conference will offer two panels: Pain and Pleasure of Football and Real Talk with Women Champions as part of the Sports Spotlight Series, a special BMBHC feature that invites current and former college and professional athletes and coaches to share their journeys and perspectives on various topics.
A recent Front Office Sports report released depositions tied to the NFL concussion lawsuit settlement, including NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s nine-hour deposition in 2022, in which he said, “I think there’s still a great deal of uncertainty about the causation issue.”
Also, one of the insurance companies is suing to avoid covering the cost of the 2016 settlement to ex-NFL players says the league shouldn’t have settled because there is no scientific evidence or causation between concussions and brain damage.
However, it is believed that repeated head trauma likely causes chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE): a 2023 Boston University CTE Center study found 345 of 376 deceased former NFL players’ brains had CTE.
But Turner notes, “It is inconclusive as to concussions being linked to CTE. We are still trying to understand the pathology of the disease. CTE cannot be determined until postmortem. We don’t have a large enough sample of brains to look at postmortem to determine the prevalence of the disease.”
Turner and his host of experts are “going to address the myths [and] debunked the myths. We’re going to talk about what’s actually going on” with brain health as it relates to Black men, he stressed.
Among the list of expected speakers at the BMBHC Conference is former college star Maurice Clarett who is speaking on February 7.
“He’s gonna talk about his own experience, and he’s talking about incarceration and community. He’s going to discuss the reentry into the community, focusing on the unique aspects of Black men’s brain health,” explained Turner, who said he’s amazed at how the conference has grown since its inception three years ago.
“I think a couple of reasons,” said Turner, “one, this is our third year so we have an audience that has been very loyal that has followed us for the first two years and is continuing to follow it this year. Secondly, I also think that a lot of people [are] coming to Vegas.
“We’re getting better at it” in reaching out and including the local Las Vegas community “because what we really want to understand is what are the local issues around Black men’s brain health,” said Turner.
In-person and virtual registration for the free conference can be completed at bit.ly/2024BMBHC. For more information, visit www.men’sbrainhealth.org/conference.