Sunday, August 1, 2010

Latest on NFL Concussion Policies

[posted 7/27/10 to]

“N.F.L. Asserts Greater Risks of Head Injury”

Alan Schwarz, The New York Times

What makes Schwarz’s reporting on this subject so valuable is that The Times has given him a beat, which affords narrative continuity.

A new poster in locker rooms warning players of concussion risks “is a glaring departure from words used by the league’s old concussion committee, whose comments and research that played down the evidence of concussion risks eventually led to its chairmen’s resignations,” Schwarz writes. But the reversal by their successors, Dr. H. Hunt Batjer and Dr. Richard Ellenbogen, “is not necessarily complete.”

Several weeks ago Batjer and Ellenbogen were talking big about cleaning up the Augean stables of the league’s discredited concussion committee and culture. But spokesman Greg Aiello acknowledged to me that the only stipulated changes on the committee were in the “leadership.”

Pittsburgh Steelers neurologist Dr. Joseph Maroon, who testified before Congress last year, remains on the committee. Maroon is also the medical director for World Wrestling Entertainment, and in light of new developments, I think those who believe that appointment establishes WWE’s conscientiousness are reading the news carelessly.

Irv Muchnick

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