The senators heard testimony on a broad range of issues like player abuse, opioid addiction, and head injuries. Dr. Robert Stern, a Neurology professor at Boston University School of Medicine, pointed out many of the problems associated with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and its diagnosis and treatment.
One major problem is that there are more than 140 definitions of concussion and all based on the reporting of symptoms by the victim. Sometimes there is brain damage with no immediate symptoms, which means CTE can even occur in patients with no previously diagnosed concussion. This isn’t confined to professional sports but is a serious concern to high school and youth athletes whose brains are still developing and even one season of play can permanently alter development. CSPAN recorded it and we highly recommend you watch below!
SFC believes that player safety is one of the most important issues to fans of all sports. The league cover-ups to hide and underreport athletes’ head injuries must be addressed. To this end, SFC submitted a letter to the Committee that was entered into the record. It reads in part:
“Our members do not want to see the rules of play altered to such a degree that the sports themselves become unrecognizable from their traditional origins. No one wants to see the NFL turn into a flag football league. SFC believes, however, that just as football leagues at all levels altered helmets to include facemasks, then created a new rule that no player shall “twist, turn or pull the facemask of an opponent in any direction” (NFL Rulebook at Rule 12, Sec. 2, Art. 5), leagues can and should develop practices that reasonably protect players. At the very least, we should have full disclosure of leagues’ knowledge on issues of player safety.”
SFC is proud to have represented fans at this important hearing and we will continue to participate in the legislative process to protect our players on all levels.