The New York Times reports wholesale changes in the National Football League’s (NFL) concussion committee. This is the same committee that has been reprimanded by Congress because they feel the committee hasn’t done enough to protect NFL players.
It’s no secret that concussions in the National Football League have become a oft-discussed topic in the media. Our brain injury attorneys applaud the changes if it means that football players are taken care of when it comes to concussions and after effects like post-concussion syndrome.
NFL’s concussion committee embraces new leadership and severs ties with old regime.
The minimizing of solid evidence of hazards of football concussions, and the revelation that data collected by old leadership was “infected”. These items were brought forth by the two new chairmen of the NFL’s concussion committee. The prominent neurosurgeons took hold of the committee back in March, and have already begun sweeping changes.
For example, the pair criticized Johns Hopkins’s brochure for the June 2, 2010 conference for downplaying the existing evidence of brain damage in retired football players. Also described by the new co-chairmen is chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a disease being reported in football players with unknown frequency. The doctors, committee, do admit the frequency of C.T.E. reports is unknown, but 12 former college and N.F.L. players have been diagnosed with it by a Boston University Medical Group.
One of the docs commented that even though the reports are relatively unknown, they still serve as a way to protect future players.
“Doctors were relatively ineffectual for 25 years on this issue,” that same doctor told the New York Times. “Then it’s on the front page and everything focuses like a laser beam and things begin to change from baby steps to giant steps forward protecting kids.”
The two doctors stated the old committee’s ongoing studies on helmets and the cognitive decline of retired players wouldn’t be used at all in the future saying they were influenced by a comment made on May 24, 2010 by a New York politician.
These comments have also led to the complete restructuring of the committee. Six completely new members have already been chosen — none of them being from the old group. To distance old from new even further, the new co-chairmen requested that former chairman be removed from the Johns Hopkins symposium where he was to deliver some opening remarks.
Concussions have been a hot subject in many sports circles, but especially in football where younger athletes have suffered serious brain injuries as well as wrongful death in some cases. With a new order comes new ideas and new ways to deal with a growing problem. Hopefully, things will get better before they get worse.
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