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A Challenge to the NFL and the NFL PLayers Association

Today's New York Times contains a troubling article on the attitude of the NFL and their player's association on concussions. 

The article entitled, In N.F.L. Violence Sells But A What Costs, demonstrates the disingenuous attitude that the National Football League and the Players Association have to the dangers of concussions.  These guys are talking out of both sides of their mouth.

The attack in the article by Gene Upshaw on concerned individuals who are trying to focus public attention on this crisis is particularly disheartening.

Can they truly be serious in their professed concern about player safety when they refuse to consider firm rules which define when players who suffer concussions can return to play or when they allow suspect research to be published under the authorship of a medical director who is not a neurologist or neuropsychologist and really lacks the medical expertise in this area?

Last year, I was proud to Chair a sports and concussion conference sponsored by the Brain Injury Association of New York State and held at Madison Square Garden.  I personally invited the NFL and Dr. Elliot Pellman to participate and was turned down cold.  Participants in the conference included Dr. James Kelly, the neurologist appointed by the American Academy of Neurology to look into the issue of concussion in sports, Dr. Barry Jordan, director of brain injury rehabilitation at  Burke Institute who is also the medical director of the New York State Athletic Commission and a leading authority in sports concussions, Dr. Michael Collins, co director of the  world famous sports concussion institute at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center as well as other leading professionals.

One of the participants, Dr. William Barr, a leading sports concussion neuropsychologist from NYU Medical Center was even fired by the NFL for views and research he shared with conference participants.

Now I offer the NFL and Gene Upshaw a public challenge, let's debate the serious issue of concussions in the NFL and the way the NFL is dealing with the lifelong consequences of this injury and players who have sought disability benefits as a result of the repeated concussions. 



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Michael Phelan

I guess Bryant Gumble was correct when he suggested on his HBO show that Gene Upshaw is a puppet whose strings are manipulated by the Commissioner of the NFL. His primary concern is keeping his job, not the health of the players whom he supposedly represents.

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