Once again the NFL is facing a tremendous amount of scrutiny and backlash (and this time it’s not about a name change or deflated footballs). A brutal article ran today on Politico discussing the political impact of traumatic brain injuries and the game of football.
Here’s a snippet from the article: “[T]he NFL is going on offense this fall with Washington policymakers—starting with a series of closed-door meetings with key House and Senate committees this week.
Cynthia Hogan, the league’s top lobbyist and a former senior attorney to Vice President Joe Biden, told POLITICO the NFL would be briefing the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Senate Commerce Committee on player safety and pro football’s new efforts to pay for research into head injuries. The two panels have jurisdiction over sports-related commercial issues
The NFL has the only full-time lobbying operation run by a major sports league in Washington, a four-person shop that moved last December into new downtown offices about six blocks from the White House”
Many say that the increased pressure is coming from an upcoming Will Smith movie about TBI and the NFL. The film is called Concussion:
But can we rely on the players themselves to let their coaches or trainers know when there may be a brain injury? Steve Devick (creator of the infamous King-Devick eye tracking test) was quoted in The Chicago Tribute saying “Every play, this 250-pound tackle tried to kill me so there was always doubt, which is why I’m not a big fan of the phrase, ‘When in doubt, take them out,”’ said Devick, a trained optometrist. “It should be, ‘When in doubt, check them out.’ If it’s ‘Take them out,’ then nobody self-reports. No player wants to admit doubt. Nobody wants to get head injuries, but if they know the minute they say something they have to be removed, it’s going to discourage people from saying anything.”