The Pro Football Concussion Report

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

He’s Back.

Meet Dr. Elliot Pellman: Advisor to Commissioners


Dr. Elliot Pellman is back in all of his glory. As immortalized in legal complaint after legal complaint in the 200 plus lawsuits against the NFL, the physician that most plaintiffs point to as the single largest source of bad info regarding the science of brain injuries is back. In fact, according to a story in by journalist Patrick Hruby, he never left. In 2013, Pellman continues to be a top advisor to the NFL on the subject of brain injuries.

Below are a couple of gems from Hruby’s piece:

 In a mid-1990s interview with Sports Illustrated, Pellman discussed players getting “dinged” and sounded: (a) not particularly scientific; (b) an awful lot like Dr. Nick Riviera:

“Veterans clear more quickly than rookies … they can unscramble their brains a little faster, maybe because they’re not afraid after being dinged. A rookie won’t know what’s happened to him and will be a little panicky. The veterans almost expect the dings. You have to watch them, though, because vets will try to fool you. They memorize the answers. They’ll run off the field staring at the scoreboard.”

According to a 2006 ESPN the Magazine article written by Peter Keating, several leading brain scientists were troubled by Pellman’s lack of expertise. Neuropsychologists jokingly called him “Mr. Pellman.” Another doctor told Keating that, “I would hear [Pellman] say things in speeches like, ‘I don’t know much about concussions, I learn from my players,’ and, ‘We as a field don’t know much about concussions,’ and it used to bother me. We knew what to do about concussions, but he was acting like it was new ground.”

The fact that the rheumatologist Pellman is still the go-to brain injury info source for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the team owners is perhaps more telling than any of Pellman’s alleged past improprieties. If the NFL is trying to convince the public or say, a jury that they’re really on top of the concussion issue, they may want to consult a brain doctor.


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