The NFL's big headache
Man, is the NFL having a bad week. Or month. Or millennium. Ken Murray's story in this morning's Sun tells of the resignation of the doctor who has headed the NFL's concussion committee for all 13 of its years in existence. Here's the ESPN the Magazine story (subscription only, unfortunately) Ken refers to, which picks the ex-head apart for his lack of experience, his allegedly shoddy research and his apparent role as league rubber-stamp.
You don't need a subscription to read this follow-up by the story's author, written after the revelation last month that ex-Eagle Andre Waters, who killed himself last November, had suffered catastrophic brain damage likely due to all his concussions as a player. The scary part? According to this story, the NFL released a statement reacting to the Waters report that mentioned it "will begin studying retired players later this year.'' Later this year? No rush, I guess. Maybe you can study them posthumously easier than you can when they're alive.
(UPDATE: In a reader reply to this post, an executive with a Massachusetts medical lab passed along info about the mouthguard mentioned in the ESPN story that the NFL concussion committee appears not interested in checking out. It's the Maher mouth guard. Almost as good, he passed along a link to the original ESPN Mag story that you don't have to pay to read. Good job by the network to capitalize on the news - and to GIVE KEN MURRAY AND THE SUN CREDIT FOR THE SCOOP.)
For what it's worth, this topic came up with John Mackey's wife, Sylvia, the week before the Super Bowl, when she talked about her husband's jersey number and about the "No. 88 Plan'' of benefits for retirees with brain injuries that she got the NFL to buy into. She said she probably will never know exactly what injuries caused Mackey's current state of dementia - and does not plan to pursue it, or to sue anybody over it. "It's too late,'' she said. "I'm not trying to fight someone to get two or three million (dollars). I'm happy with what the results are now; I'll be happier when the results pan out for all the others ... (and) that their expenses are taken care of.''