A Game Changer

April 25, 2016

The N.F.L finally says yes

A few weeks ago Congress asked a representative of the National Football League, Je Miller, a question about concussions (or hard hits to the head that cause rapid movement of the brain) and whether there is a connection to a serious brain disease — something that the N.F.L. has dismissed for years. With everyone watching, Je replied, “The answer to that is certainly, yes.”

It was a confession that Dr. Bennet Omalu and his colleagues had waited a long time to hear. For years, Dr. Omalu shared his research with the N.F.L., but it was only questioned and dismissed. So what finally made the N.F.L. agree with Dr. Omalu and his colleagues that there is a connection between head injuries and brain disease? Perhaps it was because they finally saw enough medical evidence. Or perhaps it was the 4,500 former players who sued them for being purposely deceitful about the connections between concussions and brain disease. Regardless of what changed their mind, hopefully this will lead to a better understanding of how football players got hurt in the past and how to prevent these types of injuries from happening in the future.

Update May 2016:

  • The N.F.L. has settled a lawsuit filed by retired N.F.L. football players who suffer from head injuries. Each player will be paid up to $5 million.

Update September 2016:

After admitting that concussions do cause head trauma later in life, the National Football League will be investing $100 million towards concussion research and developing safer helmets.