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Concussions and risk of future damage to players is bigger than the NFL

A thought provoking story appears in today's New York Times as a follow up to the revelations revealed earlier this week regarding the increased risk of dementia found in professional football players years after their retirement.

Today's story, Players Face Injury Risk Before NFL asks the all important question, what are the risks to high school and college athletes?  Are they at increased danger of permanent brain damage following concussions?  The story also explores the bias of the NFL against admitting the link between concussions and permanent brain injury and the lack of good faith by the league,many of its team physicians and teams in dealing with this problem. The Times and its reporters need to be commended for keeping this story in the public's eye and asking the important questions.

I have repeated stated that I am concerned that the poor example set by the NFL will cause unnecessary injuries to school athletes who look to the league for guidance.

The growing body of literature shows that when in doubt, keep them out.  This must be the rule without exception in determining when to allow a concussed player to go back to active play. 

I say when a professional player is injured, send a letter to that player's wife, mother or significant other and tell them about the prospects that face their loved one if they are permitted to go back and sustain a re-injury.  Make it mandatory that schools send letters to parent's concerning the risks associated with repeated concussions.  A little truth on this subject may wake some people up cause them to realize that ALL concussions are serious matters.

On Saturday morning, NPR is planning a segment on their program, ONLY A GAME  dealing with these important issues.  I had the honor of being interviewed yesterday for this story and asked to comment on my views concerning the ability of players to bring legal action against the league for improperly denying disability benefits following traumatic brain injury.

WHEN IN DOUBT, KEEP THEM OUT! 

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