Saturday, October 03, 2009

NFL Players Association, Congress to Follow-up on Head Trauma Study

NFL Players Association, Congress to take closer look at head trauma - NFL -

The recent NFL study on the rates of cognitive impairment in retired NFL players has spurred both the NFLPA and Congress to take a closer look. The NFLPA has formed a committee of players, former players and medical experts to examine the "diagnosis, treatment and prevention of concussions and brain injuries in active players; and the long-term cumulative effects of isolated or repetitive traumatic brain injuries in NFL players as patients."

A Congressional committee previously investigated the NFL's disability benefit plan in 2007 and concluded that it was materially flawed and needed to be fixed. Now, another Congressional committee will look at the effects of head injuries, how to limit them and compensate affected players and families. Presumably, the committee will examine how the NFL Player Retirement Plan handles disability claims arising out of concussions and head injuries. The committee should not overlook the links between brain injury and depression, drug use or suicide.

The NFL has repeatedly denied a link between a football career and an increased risk of cognitive impairment and has distanced itself from the results of the latest study. While experts seem to agree that the study is not definitive, it is consistent with other studies and the medical science related to the long-term effects of head trauma. The NFL should really be more concerned about the post-career effects of a player's head injuries than a player's untucked uniform or overly exuberant celebration in the end zone after a touchdown.