NFL Sought to Influence Brain Injury Study- One of Many Recent Allegations

It’s now July, and that means training camps for NFL teams are just around the corner. With football season arriving, new reports on the NFL are surfacing.

The National Football League has been under the microscope recently with allegations of influencing a government study on the link between football and brain disease.

According to New Jersey Representative Frank Pallone, the leadership between the league and their medical advisors were inconsistent with their stated commitment to support science and medicine. The senior House Democrat alleges that the NFL “improperly attempted to influence the grant review process for a National Institutes of Health (NIH) brain injury study that the NFL had agreed to fund as part of a $30 million donation.”

The NFL agreed to donate $30 million to the NIH to fund brain research but backed out once the institutes granted $16 million to a leading expert on the link between football and brain diseases. The prominent Boston University researcher, Robert Stern, hasn’t been afraid to voice concerns about the connection between football collisions and brain disease such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

The NFL rejects all allegations.

In a recent statement, the league did acknowledge the potential conflict that could interest involving Stern, but NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said that the league communicated its hesitations through appropriate channels.

These allegations, the controversy of the NFL’s handling of the issue and a recent movie, “Concussion”, have led to speculation that tackle football has growing effects on the brain. Parents are now hesitant on whether they should let their children play.

Critics say the NFL has been downplaying the link between football and brain injuries for a while. They allege that the league has been ignoring or minimizing the link between repetitive head trauma and brain damage.

A recent study shows that “more than 40 percent of retired National Football League players … had signs of traumatic brain injury based on sensitive MRI scans called diffusion tensor imaging,” according to a press release from the AAN.

The NFL’s annual injury report stated instances of head trauma jumped 32% from 2014 to 2015, rising from 206 to 271 reported concussions.

After years of hearing, a federal appeals court approved a settlement this spring between the NFL and roughly 20,000 ex-players alleging the league was negligent in its handling of concussions.

At this point, the NFL has lost the benefit of the doubt when it comes to allegations about the league’s deception regarding to its management of player health.

A player is tackled in a football game

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