NFL challenged over failure to fund study for CTE test in living patients

AP

Currently, researchers can detect Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in the brains of deceased patients only. Dr. Robert Stern of Boston University believes that a test that would detect the football-related brain disease in the living is only 5-10 years away.

The head of the brain bank currently affiliated with Boston University has called out the league for failure to fund the effort to develop a test for CTE in patients who have not yet died.

Via Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal, Chris Nowinski chided the NFL after a Thursday press conference regarding the league’s funding of concussion diagnosis and prevention techniques.

“Their attempt to prevent that study from being funded is frankly a slap in the face to every family suffering from CTE right now,” Nowinski said, via Kaplan. Comparing the NFL to the tobacco industry, Nowinski said the NFL has an issue not with concussions but with CTE.

“I am a firm believer that no one should be playing tackle football before high school, ” Nowinski said. “The NFL is strongly funding and underwriting youth football in this country, through USA football, through the heads up football, through the mom marketing program, and Commissioner Goodell going and teaching tackling to mothers . . . that is like big tobacco teaching kids how to smoke.”

Said the NFL in response, via Kaplan, “We have ‎probably given more money to BU than anyone else, either directly, through money we gave to the NIH, or by supporting other grant applications. Far from trying to block a study, we offered to contribute to the funding. We promote all kinds of youth football — flag and tackle — as well as general youth physical fitness no matter the sport or activity. Medical studies and leading medical groups do not support a ban on young people participating in contact sports.”

Kaplan also writes that Dr. Mitch Berger, a member of the NFL’s Head, Neck, and Spine Committee, “cast doubt” on the connection between CTE and brain trauma, suggesting that not enough work has been done to explore the link between genetics and CTE. Kaplan writes that Nowinksi shook his head at Berger’s remarks.

And so it appears that the league that at one point denied the existence of CTE may be trying to deny its link to football. Which means that there eventually could be a sequel to Concussion.

15 responses to “NFL challenged over failure to fund study for CTE test in living patients

  1. NFL has lost its credibility a long time ago. It’s as if they think what they tell us matters. They’ve descended faster than most governments.

  2. This just sounds like a doctor with his hand out looking for more funding to further his and many other doctors careers.

    There are differing opinions on CTE by many respected doctors throughout the world. Rather than trying to paint the NFL as the “bad guy”, just do your research & let the results speak for themselves.

  3. Ungrateful researchers.

    Yes NFL, fund the study then have everyone claim the study is bogus because it was funded by the industry. No Win.

  4. When everyone is wathcing, NFL HQ says they’ll fund a study, when the cameras turn elsewhere, they renege.

    Once again the NFL has no interest in finding (or funding) the truth.

  5. I wonder what happens if they start looking at large population of people and they find out that it far greater in the general population. Like people who have been a major car accident or fallen for a height greater than 20 feet or people who have sky dived and when the chute opens being jerked up 40 feet.
    I guess we will see 50 years if this one of those ‘Correlation does not imply causation’ cases or not.

  6. Don’t know why my earlier post won’t show up but again:
    BU CTEs frequently asked questions page states that they DO NOT accept brain donations from people who have NOT played contact sports. Which would make it obvious that all of their findings would be of people who played contact sports.
    100% of the people they have study and found to have CTE had played a contact sport.
    OR
    100% of the people they have study and DID NOT find to have CTE had played a contact sport.
    See how that works

  7. Kaplan also writes that Dr. Mitch Berger, a member of the NFL’s Head, Neck, and Spine Committee, “cast doubt” on the connection between CTE and brain trauma, suggesting that not enough work has been done to explore the link between genetics and CTE. Kaplan writes that Nowinksi shook his head at Berger’s remarks.

    Amazing, until the NFL gets rid of guys like this, they will never be serious about CTE.

  8. Why do I get the feeling football as we know it won’t be here in 20 years? Yes the game is a contact sport that causes injuries. But it also built mine and many people I know character, taught teamwork and sportsmanship and made you understand what it takes to be a winner in life. Dedication. I get none of that if I haven’t played football. We need to find a solution that allows this sport to continue as is be it waivers or better equipment or whatever. We are already seeing less participation in high school football because parents are scared stiff their child will be hurt. And that is just sad….

  9. NFL should get its crap together or get shut down in the next 15-20 years due to being sued into oblivion.

    How many $800m lawsuits can you afford to lose?

  10. Sued for what? You sign a contract knowing the risk? nobody is forcing anyone to play. In fact they get millions lol. Also on a sidenote, what if this cte occured during pop warner, high school, college years?

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