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Sunday, October 23, 2011

N.F.L. Plans Broader Concussion Research

By Sam Borden
The New York Times

The N.F.L’s first attempt at a long-range study on the effects of concussions was riddled with problems from the manner in which data was collected to conflicts of interest for those overseeing it. After criticism from outside experts and even members of Congress, the study was shut down by the league in late 2009.

Nearly two years later, however, the N.F.L.’s committee on concussion research is planning a considerably broader study — an effort that could begin gathering data as soon as next season, according to one of the doctors involved.

The doctor, Mitchel S. Berger, the chairman of the neurological surgery department at the University of California San Francisco, said Monday that he and the N.F.L.’s subcommittee on former players and long-term effects of brain and spine injury had been holding conference calls regarding the study every two weeks with representatives from the players’ union. He added that he hoped to make a final presentation to the union and Commissioner Roger Goodell “in the near future.”

Berger said he was aware of the issues surrounding the previous study, and said the latest model was completely different.

“There was no science in that,” Berger said in reference to the study coordinated by Dr. Ira Casson, who was also the league’s primary voice in discrediting outside research on concussions. Asked if he might use any of the data from Casson’s work, Berger shook his head.

The entire story can be read here.