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Is the NFL still living in the stone age? Judiciary committee needs to change the rules!

Give me a break!   I couldn't believe the testimony rendered at yesterday's congressional hearing in Detroit on player safety in the NFL and youth sports from the former chair of the NFL Committee on mild concussions.

While the jurisdiction of the House Judiciary committee may be limited  when it comes to high school and college sports, they can change the mentality of the game by changing the rules when it comes to the right to sue for disability caused by antiquated and dangerous policies that jeopardize the health and safety of players.

Why not change the rules by allowing players to sue teams when they are needlessly subject to injury rather than limiting them to the workers compensation benefit system?  Why not change the rules when players apply for disability benefits so that the disability committee does not have unfettered discretion to accept or reject opinions of the player's treating physician with impunity?  Why not change the rules so that players who have been turned down for disability benefits based for their brain injuries can have their files reopened and reconsidered by an honest review panel?

Dr .Ira Cassen, the former chair of this committee, still refused to acknowledge the evidence linking brain damage to repeated concussions and the development of a condition similar to dementia, known as traumatic encephalopathy. What can I say, it is truly amazing that in this day with all of the medical evidence, you can still hear such nonsense.   You can read the full report of the hearing's in today's Times by clicking here and the Detroit News by clicking here.

Hopefully, with Dr. Cassen now gone, the league will have the benefit of some better expertise on the subject and continue to make meaningful changes.

The congressional committee headed by Representative John Conyers should be commended for its continual focus of attention on concussions in sports, especially testimony that was elicited yesterday on solutions to the concussion crisis in high school and college athletic activities.

The focus on concussions should not be limited to the world of professional football.  Much more emphasis needs to be placed on the high school and college level with better education for players, coaches, trainers and parents on the dangers associated with concussions and the need to keep players out of play until all symptoms have resolved.

Several proposals at the hearing calling for mandatory education of coaching staff, mandatory benching of players following a concussion and pre season base line testing of all youth participants needs serious attention.



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