The day after Boston University scientists announced that they found degenerative brain disease in 110 of the 111 deceased NFL players, we were reminded that the league reneged on a five-year commitment it made to fund the research.
Brain injuries have never exactly been an NFL priority. The league spent decades suppressing and discrediting studies related to concussion, and it is still recoiling from the $1 billion settlement with retirees who sued over decades of NFL denial – though these 20,000 damaged men have yet to see a penny.
So now Roger Goodell’s league has also short-changed the research of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopothy (CTE), a mind-ravaging disease associated with repetitive head trauma – something to think about the next time the NFL tells you about its safety initiatives.
The NFL pledged $30 million to the National Institutes of Health in 2012 to help fund CTE research. But in May 2016, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce – whose ranking member is N.J. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6th Dist.) – followed up on months of ESPN reports and agreed that the league reneged.
In the end, it short-changed the NIH by $18 million, which suggests the NFL isn’t as committed to brain research as it claims to be.
“The NFL has been cooking the books on this research for years,” Pallone said Friday, just as ESPN reported that the NIH and NFL will end their six-year agreement next month.
The NFL claims it supports other efforts in neuroscience, but the Boston University study, easily the most ambitious in the field, is the one that matters now. Even though it cannot tell us how prevalent the disease may be in football, Dr. Ann McKee’s findings are startling, and a reminder that no matter how much you…