Not long before the Super Bowl, a doctor who works on the league’s Head, Neck, and Spine Committee “cast doubt” on the connection between head trauma and Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy. On Monday, the league’s executive V.P. of player health and safety acknowledged the connection.
The remark has triggered a skirmish in the pending concussion settlement, and it prompted a statement from the NFL Players Association.
Said NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, via ABC News: “The good news is that this admission comes in time for both parties to address its significance to a settlement that apparently does not cover treatment for CTE in living players. The bad news is that the NFL’s lobbyist reached the foregone medical conclusion before the NFL’s chief physician did. That is unacceptable.”
The NFL contends that the admission has no relevance to the concussion settlement, given the absence of a test to determine whether a living patient has CTE. The arrangement requires the parties to meet and confer every decade to revisit the status of the science; a more expedient and timely procedure is needed, in the event that a reliable test for CTE in players who are still alive is developed.