[Editor’s note: NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy has issued a statement on behalf of the league in response to a Congressional report suggesting that the league tried to exert undue influence over the process of selecting a researcher to lead a National Institutes of Health study regarding concussions. The full text of the response appears below.]
The NFL rejects the allegations laid out in the Democratic Staff Report of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Committee.
There is no dispute that there were concerns raised about both the nature of the study in question and possible conflicts of interest. These concerns were raised for review and consideration through the appropriate channels. Ultimately the funding decision was made by the FNIH/NIH, not the NFL, as the FNIH’s public statement of December 22, 2015 confirms. The nature of those conversations and a detailed account of the concerns were communicated in full to the committee members. It is deeply disappointing the authors of the Staff Report would make allegations directed at doctors affiliated with the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee without ever speaking to them.
In 2012, the NFL committed $30 million to the NIH to advance the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of head injuries. To date, $12 million has been allocated for pathology studies through the Sports and Health Research Program (SHRP), two $6-million cooperative agreements dedicated to defining the long-term changes that occur in the brain after a head injury or multiple concussions: Boston University School of Medicine and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs received $6 million for a study on CTE and post-traumatic neurodegeneration, and Mount Sinai Hospital received $6 million for a study the neuropathology of CTE and Delayed Effects of TBI.
The NFL is deeply committed to continuing to accelerate scientific research and advancements in this critical area, and we stand ready to support additional independent research to that end.