The Pro Football Concussion Report

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

In the News

But CTE was not listed on the Death Certificate!

NFL Censors CTE


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 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.

Damn right I paid a price for it, but I wanted that.

Earl Campbell 1978
Earl Campbell, 1978 (AP)


At 57, Earl Campbell’s in rough shape. Diagnosed with spinal stenosis after his retirement from football, he can now finally walk again after using a wheelchair for 6 years. Earl Campbell was a special player, one of the greatest to ever play the game. But even though his spinal condition is genetic and unrelated to football, it’s really hard to separate the years of football’s physical punishment from the cranky old guy that’s concerned that Roger Goodell is going to start making quarterbacks wear dresses.

Helmet Wars: Riddell vs. All-Comers

football helmet warning
Tobacco-like warning we may someday see on football helmets


(Updated Friday, 3/22/13) The introduction of new football helmet  technology from anybody other than Riddell has faced unexpected hurdles from the NFL’s “research” committees, scientific impact-testing companies, and even a not-for-proft safety certification organization according to several articles. In a Bloomberg News story, writer John Helyar tells the frustrating story of ProCap, a helmet accessory that enjoyed some success in the NFL during the 1990’s before being shot down by Commissioner Paul Tagliabue’s notorious MTBI committee.  And in an older piece for ESPN, author Gregg Easterbrook discusses the structure of the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE), the organization that sets the NFL’s standard for helmet safety certification. 

Neurologist on sideline called “not feasible”

neurologist or ipad


Commissioner Roger Goodell has been insistent that the NFL and the team owners are focused on player health and safety. Top priority. They’ve pledged millions of dollars to universities for research into the science of brain injuries. They’ve joined forces with GE and the U.S. Army to develop better equipment to reduce the incidence of concussions.  They even introduced an iPad app for diagnosing concussions. And recently, the NFL’s in-house counsel Jeff Pash announced that beginning with the 2013 NFL season, each game will have an “unaffiliated neurological consultant” on the sideline.  

Scientists finding Pathology of CTE Unique

CTE Brain Comparison
CTE: Normal Brain, Tom McHale's Brain, Boxer's Brain


Is it possible to expect that pounding heads after school everyday, then in college, and then for 5 to 15 years as a job would not result in some sort of unique damage to what’s inside your head? Most people don’t do this in their lives and certainly not with the 6’4″ 280 lb. men who play pro football. Researchers are now finding that the repetitive head trauma suffered in a lifetime of activity like tackle football can lead to a unique, characteristic pathology found only in brains that have endured that type of repetitive head trauma.

Top CTE Scientist says, What the hell do you mean?

CTE Researchers Cantu and McKee
Dr. Robert Cantu and Dr. Ann McKee (BU)


Even though renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Robert Cantu’s name is listed as one of the 28 authors of the recently published  Zurich Consensus Statement, he was “stunned” at the paper’s published position on CTE. Cantu, the Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at the Boston University School of Medicine disagreed with the paper’s statement, “a cause and effect relationship has not as yet been demonstrated between CTE and concussions.”

Every hit was like a car crash, says Garo


“Every hit was like a car crash. Maybe you only get hit eight or 10 times a year, but if you experience eight auto crashes a year you’re going to feel it.”  Garo Yepremian said he suffers from mood swings that he says may or may not be related to football injuries. Sometimes, he said, he’ll be sitting with his wife of more than 40 years and “the slightest thing gets me so aggravated. I’ll throw a tantrum for 45 minutes, screaming and shouting.”