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SBD/Issue 51/Leagues & Governing Bodies
NFL Requiring Teams To Use Independent Doctors For Head Injuries
Published November 23, 2009
|Teams Told To Submit Names Of Independent
Doctors For League Approval
NEW POLICY A RESULT OF DC PRESSURE? In N.Y., Alan Schwarz reports the NFL appears to have "begun to embrace the value of outside opinion ... after an embarrassing hearing on the issue before the House Judiciary Committee last month in which the league was compared to the tobacco industry." Texans G and player rep Chester Pitts said, "I don't want to call it forced, but it's been strongly urged because of the awareness of the issue these days. When you have Congress talking about the antitrust exemption and them calling them the tobacco industry, that's pretty big. But it's a good thing it's transpiring." NFLPA Assistant Exec Dir of External Affairs George Atallah in an e-mail said that the union had been "speaking with NFL officials for two weeks about implementing some sort of independent scrutiny for players who receive concussions -- perhaps including an outside doctor present at every game" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/23).
PLAYERS SHOULD BE MADE TO SIT OUT: CBS' Boomer Esiason suggested the NFL implement a policy in which players sit out for four games after a first concussion in a season and are placed on the injured reserve list after a second concussion in the same season. Esiason: “If we’re all worried about concussions and the long-term effects, we have to start taking issues into our own hands” (“The NFL Today,” CBS, 11/22).