The Pro Football Concussion Report

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

But CTE was not listed on the Death Certificate!

NFL Censors CTE

03.29.13

A recent attempt by an NFL league doctor to “delete” any references to CTE from a government funded Player Safety Letter has raised eyebrows in followers of the NFL concussion litigation. Attorney Paul Anderson, publisher of NFLConcussionLitigation.com said on his Twitter feed that it reminds him of the actions of Dr. Elliot Pellman, the former chief of the NFL’s now defunct Minor Traumatic Brain Committee (MTBI). Dr. Pellman, a rheumatologist who attended medical school in Mexico, was mysteriously selected by former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue as the head of the NFL’s concussion research team in 1994. He remained in that position for 15 controversial years.

A major allegation in the concussion lawsuits against the NFL is that Pellman’s Committee was essentially a sham research group established to misinform the players and the fans about the longterm effects of concussions. The MTBI committee was unceremoniously disbanded after an embarrassing  appearance in front of the U.S. Congress in 2009.

The safety fact sheet was a product created by researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).  As part of the CDC, NIOSH is the main US federal agency responsible for conducting research into occupational safety and health matters. Apparently the organization invited several people, including members of the NFL’s Head, Neck and Spine committee to comment on a draft of the fact sheet.

According to the New York Times, “the doctor, who was not named in the internal memo, said references to C.T.E. should be removed because it was “not fully understood” and because it was not listed on the death certificates of the retired players in the study and thus lacked “epidemiological validity.” He suggested that traumatic brain injury, or T.B.I., be used instead because it “may accomplish what you want to say in more established medical terms.”

The Times continued, “Researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which wrote the fact sheet, rejected the league doctor’s proposed change. Independent medical experts said such a request was inappropriate and not in line with prevailing research.”

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