The Pro Football Concussion Report

A Fan's Look at Head Injuries and the Concussion Crisis in Football

In the News

Harvard Researchers Make Progress on Brain Damage Treatment

Harvard Teaching Hospital - Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Harvard Teaching Hospital - Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center


A study funded in-part by a NFLPA grant offers the possibility of early intervention for CTE following a traumatic brain injury.

In the study, which was recently published online edition of the journal Nature, researchers found that a misshapen isoform of the tau protein can develop as soon as 12 hours after TBI, setting in motion a destructive course of events that can lead to widespread neurodegeneration.

Lawyers Ask to Expedite Settlement Appeals

Chris Seeger NFL Settlement
Attorney Chris Seeger appeared on the NFL Network in 2014


Following final approval of the proposed NFL concussion settlement, 11 appeals were filed by former players.  In response to those appeals, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs’ class, Chris Seeger, filed a request that the 11 appeals be consolidated and expedited by the court so that the most critically ill players who meet the the criteria for compensation can be paid as soon as possible.

Concussion Spotters Get Power to Make Call

Jim Gossett
Jim Gossett, Columbia Univ. ATC is the Giants' home spotter. Photo - Columbia Univ.


Athletic trainer concussion spotters will now be able to bypass the teams and speak directly to game officials in order to call for a medical timeout during an NFL game. NFL owners approved the measure on March 24, 2015 for the upcoming season.  Without saying so, it seemed as if Rich McKay, chairman of the competition committee, identified that the teams were the weak link in getting a player out of the game quickly. According to the LA Times, McKay said the health and safety committee made it happen.

CTE Concerns? 3 NFL Players Announce Surprise Retirement

Patrick Willis and his foster mom, Julie Finley (ESPN)


Three NFL players unexpectedly announced their retirement from the game this week, including possible future Hall-of-Famer, San Francisco 49er LB Patrick Willis. Willis, 30 years old, was selected for the Pro Bowl after each of his first 7 seasons and was chosen as a first-team All Pro linebacker 5 of his 8 seasons. Although none of the three specifically mentioned concussions, CTE or concerns about long-term brain damage, you have to wonder if those potential health issues were part of their logic.

Settlement Spotlight: Judge Anita Brody

Federal Judge Anita Brody presides over the NFL concussion litigation.
Federal Judge Anita Brody presides over the NFL concussion litigation.


Hopefully in 2015 we’ll see the the resolution to what has become perhaps the largest brain injury related lawsuit in history, the NFL concussion litigation. Early in the lawsuit, some experts predicted that the case could carry on for as long as twenty years, with lawyers for both sides battling over carefully crafted legal points while the plaintiffs, former NFL football players continued to suffer from brain injuries allegedly caused by years of hard-hitting tackle football. But one person, presiding over the process, may have made the tremendous difference in moving the litigation swiftly toward resolution. Federal judge Anita Blumstein Brody was thrust into the spotlight as she balanced the demands of 4,500 former NFL players and the potential defenses offered by lawyers for the wildly-popular National Football League. Fortunately, Judge Anita Brody’s background indicated that she had been suitably prepared for the enormous task.

Does the NFL Care about NCAA Concussions?

USC Medical Staff and Robert Woods


Update: Check out Aaron Gordon’s excellent investigative piece on the current lawsuit between former USC defensive lineman Armond Armstead, his alma mater and the USC team doctor, James Tibone.

Originally published 4/6/13:

USC wide receiver Robert Woods is getting plenty of interest from NFL teams prior to the 2013 draft, according to a report by Mike Florio of NBC’s Florio says that Woods, a junior at USC, has likely raised his draft position from 2nd to 1st round since having a good showing on Pro Day. Based on the assumption that a player can only safely suffer a limited number of concussions in a career, it would be interesting to find out if NFL teams are counting concussions when taking taking account of a player’s medical history.  

Untitled NFL Concussion Drama Filming in Pittsburgh

Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Will Smith during filming.  Photo: KDKA CBS-Pittsburgh


The upcoming Hollywood version of the NFL concussion story, starring Will Smith, is currently filming in Pittsburgh, PA. The film is based on the 2009 GQ magazine article, Game Brain, by Jeanne Marie Laskas. Game Brain told the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu and his discovery of CTE in the brain of Hall of Fame Pittsburgh Steeler center Mike Webster. CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy is the name of a degenerative neuro-cognitive disease that has been found in the brain tissue of deceased athletes who often suffered concussions and their heads were routinely exposed to violent hits and extreme rotational forces.