The NFL’s concussion research is deeply flawed. We wish we could say we're surprised.

The New York Times is out with an absolute bombshell of a report on the NFL’s concussion research. The full story is worth a read, and the specifics within should be distressing to any sports fan or athlete.

According to the story:

The Times shows that more than 100 diagnosed concussions were omitted from the studies...The committee then calculated the rates of concussions using the incomplete data, making them appear less frequent than they actually were.

...

...the vast majority of omitted concussions identified by The Times were included in the N.F.L's public injury reports, meaning that medical staffs had made the diagnoses and reported them to the league.

And the NFL went to great lengths to restrict how this already-flawed research would be interpreted (emphasis added):

Dr. Waeckerle praised her (Dorothy C. Mitchell, who provided legal oversight to the concussion committee) for bringing a nonmedical voice that made members consider the risks, benefits, and "what are the intended and nonintended consequences of whatever we were discussing. He said, for example, that she wanted to ensure that the committee's work applied only to the N.F.L., not to college or youth football."

Perhaps smelling something fishy, the House Energy and Commerce Committee recently began reviewing the NFL's concussion research. Congress to the rescue, right?...not exactly:

The N.F.L's political action committee has given nearly $300,000 in campaign contributions to 41 of 54 members of a key congressional committee that is reviewing concussion research, according to figures compiled by a Berkeley-based group.

A couple of years ago we fought the NFL, on behalf of fans, to end their ridiculous local blackout rules when home games were not sold out. And we won. We learned then how little the league and its owners care about the fans when their bottom lines are exposed.

Now we see a decades-long, equally appalling, and far more dangerous move to protect profits over player safety.

As a lifelong fan of this sport, it's enraging. But it makes me realize the Sports Fans Coalition is more important than ever. Because if the NFL is willing to go to these lengths to put a nice, neat bow on concussion research, imagine what they'll do when we call them out on team relocation, stadium financing, ticket practices, and yes, the protection of the players we all cheer our hearts out for every Sunday.

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  • published this page in Blog 2016-03-24 15:39:23 -0400