Union wants concussion doctor removed

The NFL players’ union wants Dr. Ira Casson removed as co-chairman of the league’s committee on concussions, saying that he has shown bias in efforts to discredit research into the long-term consequences of brain injuries suffered on the playing field.

Alan Schwarz of the New York Times quotes NFL Players’ Association spokesman George Atallah saying union chief DeMaurice Smith has twice spoken to Commissioner Roger Goodell about replacing Casson.

“Our view is that he’s a polarizing figure on this issue, and the players certainly don’t feel like he can be an impartial party on this subject,” Atallah said. “The meetings between Roger and DeMaurice are private and we like to maintain confidentiality, but I believe there were concerns expressed by both parties.”

It’s not clear how receptive the league is to the union’s request. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the Times, “We can tell you that we have already informed the NFLPA of a number of steps we are considering relating to player health and safety.”

Aiello added, “Mr. Smith did not initiate a discussion about Dr. Casson with the commissioner, and we don’t know what purpose is served by raising it publicly at this time.”

Casson has suggested that research into the consequences of concussions is lacking, and he says an ongoing study of retired players, which he is leading, will provide the best indications about how concussions affect players’ lives. That study is not close to being finished, and its findings won’t be published for three or four years.

21 responses to “Union wants concussion doctor removed

  1. I love how common sense is thrown out the window in the name of science and research.
    OF COURSE concussions have long term effects. Needing years and years of research to conclude that is like needing years and years of research to conclude that the sky is blue.
    They need to do something about it, NOW, and focus the research on protection and prevention. They don’t need to quantify the long term effects in order to do that.
    De Smith is right. Casson must go.
    (Note: I’m not a fan of De Smith…at all)

  2. He is a doctor. They only say that he is not impartial because his opinion disagrees with one side of the arguement. He is supposed to give his medical opinion, which he does. Sounds like they just want him replaced because they don’t like his opinion, in the hope that his replacement will have a diffrent opinion.

  3. He’s not saying exactly what we want, so let’s get rid of him and get some pawn in here so they’ll do what we tell them to say.

  4. Findings won’t be published before the next CBA is in effect for sure.
    DeSmith is starting to appear childish picking a fight with every little issue. Concussions are serious, but it is an issue that is going to be added to his large list of complaints. Keep throwing sh*t against the wall just to see what sticks a lot of important stuff falls to the floor.

  5. # TheDPR says: November 20, 2009 8:38 AM
    I love how common sense is thrown out the window in the name of science and research.
    OF COURSE concussions have long term effects. Needing years and years of research to conclude that is like needing years and years of research to conclude that the sky is blue.
    They need to do something about it, NOW, and focus the research on protection and prevention. They don’t need to quantify the long term effects in order to do that.
    De Smith is right. Casson must go.
    (Note: I’m not a fan of De Smith…at all)
    ____________________________________
    Well actually years have been spent to determine that the sky is not blue – its just perceived to be blue.
    Hate to tell it to you but the rainbow is also intangible, just if you’re still searching for that pot of gold…
    Science matters – deal with it!

  6. Taking concussions seriously in the NFL is a joke. The players wear their helmets looser than the plastic helmet that you got as a little kid. Properly fitted helmets are difficult to get off when you are trying whereas the ones in the NFL are always falling off.

  7. The guy does sound a little like an “expert for hire” – going out of his way to discredit good research that disagrees with his viewpoint.
    I’ve encountered guys like this before in the sciences – they have their opinion and dig in their heels, and lose objectivity because they’re so combative. Not good. That’s not science.
    In a case like this, I think you should err on the side of caution. There is some solid evidence that repeated concussions cause long-term problems. I’m not a fan of unions, but in this case they’re trying to protect the health of their members. Good on ’em.

  8. So if your kid got knocked out & suffered a concussion would you still say the same stupid thing. You honestly believe that the NFL & Owners ( look at there past history with dealing with former players) & think they wouldn’t hire a hack to say what they want him to say. Team Doctor’s have screwed up players before. It’s all about the money idiots. If you ran your head into something repeatedly it would cause multible injuries. It amazes be that bloggers just talk out the side of there neck.

  9. I’m sick of all this BS. Football is a violent sport. You are going to have injuries and concussions occur. Make the equipment as best you can to help protect the players and keep the incidence of concussion as low as possible. The players make millions of dollars to play the game. They have premium health insurance and disability insurance. They have pensions. Every sane person knows that with great rewards come some risks. If you are worried that you’ll get a concussion while playing football then DON’T PLAY! If your worried about your health after your football days are over, then DON’T PLAY! So don’t go whining that you have all these health problems later in life because of football. You are responsible for your own life. No one else is! You wanted to play the game. You wanted the millions of dollars that come with it. So either don’t play or SHUT UP!

  10. I’m curious as to why Westbrook didn’t go with a Riddell Revolution helmet after his first concussion. Those things are apparently much more protective, and a bunch of players are already wearing them. I’d love to see some data since they’ve come out with these helmets on concussions with them vs. the old helmets.

  11. Helmets and equipment can be as protective as you want. Here’s the issue: Your brain is floating in fluid inside your skull. When you start moving at a high speed, and then suddenly stop, it doesn’t matter how much the impact is lessened. Inertia slams your brain into the inside wall of your skull. Repeated impacts at high G-forces (such as Brian Westbrook’s 14mph running speed turning into a complete stop on London Fletcher’s knee) will continue to slam the brain into the skull – no matter how much the padding on the outside of your head.
    Repeated trauma of this type has been proven to cause brain injury. Just look at boxers. The NFL has acted in the past to cover this up, but the evidence is now nearly overwhelming.
    Don’t forget that the tobacco industry found a slew of credible doctors to tell you that smoking didn’t cause cancer.
    Good for the union for trying to protect its players.

  12. Actually the sky isn’t blue…it just reflects blue light. The rods and cones in our eyeballs interpret it as blue.
    I’m just sayin’…

  13. Does anyone seriously think the NFL would hire a medical consultant that would be at odds with their position and open them up to liability?
    If so, I have some land in Florida and a bridge in New York for sale real cheap. Would you like to buy this shiny gold brick?

  14. You guys with your reasons to why the sky isn’t blue are geniuses.
    Color is defined as the appearance given from the combinations of wavelengths deflected from an object. The sky deflects blue light making it appear blue. A red cup appears red because it deflects red light. By your logic, a red cup is not red.

  15. I’m with the players on this one. This doctor has made some very questionable statements to defend the league status quo. His scientific procedure on his own brain injury study is also questionable, at best.
    The recent 60 Minutes segment on brain injuries causing dementia later in life was pretty compelling.
    This problem is a ticking time bomb for the NFL. If they aren’t proactive about finding ways to significantly reduce brain injuries, Congress will step in and turn the game into two hand touch.

  16. Players who refuse to use the newer Revolution helmets have no right to complain. Protective devices are available, and are designed to increase the length of impact, thereby reducing the effect on the brain.
    That the union itself hasn’t imposed a mandate to use these helmets is tragic. That the league hasn’t mandated them either is also tragic. And that neither side has yet to mandate double sided mouthpieces is also tragic.
    But at the end of the day, each player, as CEO of their own one man business, bears responsibility for utilizing all resources available to protect their moneymaker.

  17. Casson is a corporate shill. Glad he is gone. How could multiple concussions NOT affect a player’s brain long term. Think of it this way, if you were in an auto collision once a week for sixteen weeks a year, over 10 or more years, do you think its possible that you might sustain some kind of long term damage to your brain, even if you did not actually sustain a concussion?

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