In a surprising moment during a Congressional roundtable discussion this week, a senior NFL official acknowledged a connection between playing football and concussion-related brain disorders such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). This is the first time anyone from the league has admitted a link, despite mounting evidence from affected players, families, and the scientific community.
As NBC News reports, the acknowledgement came from Jeff Miller, the NFL executive vice president for health and safety policy. Miller was part of a discussion hosted by the House Government and Commerce Committee, which is currently investigating the effects concussions in the military and sports.
"Certainly, Dr. McKee's research shows that a number of retired NFL players were diagnosed with CTE," Miller said when asked by Rep. Jan Schakowsky about a connection between football and CTE. "So the answer to that question is certainly yes," he added.
Miller referred to the research of Dr. Ann McKee of Boston University. Last September, McKee disclosed that her research had discovered that 87 of the 91 former football players that she and her team examined tested positive for CTE. The disease can only be confirmed after death.
What makes Miller's statements so surprising is that, as early as previously the year, the NFL had continued to deny a meaningful link between brain disorders and playing football. Last February, at a Super Bowl event, the head of the NFL's head, neck and spine committee, Dr. Mitch Berger, called evidence linking the two "anecdotal" and asserted that a number of deceased players had "done very well" when autopsied and evaluated for CTE.
In 2013, the NFL settled a lawsuit and agreed to pay $765 million to former players and their families for the effects of CTE. Part of that agreement, however, was that the NFL did not have to admit liability in the players' conditions. It is unclear how Miller's comments will affect legal action by former players going forward.
If you are a former NFL player who is suffering from the lasting effects of concussions or CTE, then you may have the legal grounds to receive compensation. Contact us at Smith & Stallworth, Attorneys at Law to speak with experienced and aggressive Tampa personal injury lawyers ready to assess your claim.
Use our online form to request a case evaluation today. We are ready to hear your story.