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Energy & Commerce Democratic Leaders Urge NFL to Act After Acknowledgement of Risks Posed by Repetitive Brain Trauma

Mar 15, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – One day after the National Football League (NFL) admitted at a House Energy and Commerce Committee roundtable that there is a link between football and degenerative brain disorders, Democratic leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee today sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell asking what the League plans to do now to prevent repetitive brain trauma.

Energy and Commerce Full Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Gene Green (D-TX), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Ranking Member Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) wrote that yesterday’s acknowledgement by NFL official Jeff Miller represented a significant break from the NFL’s previous refusal to acknowledge a connection between football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a neurodegenerative brain disease.

“We are encouraged by the NFL’s willingness to accept the science linking the repetitive hits inherent to football with CTE,” the four lawmakers wrote in their letter to Commissioner Goodell.  “We seek to better understand whether this new attitude will translate into additional actionable measures to prevent repetitive brain trauma in current players, encourage programs and protocols to protect children in the youth leagues, and provide support for current and retired players at risk of this disease.  The NFL’s leadership on this issue can serve as a guide to other professional sports leagues and youth sports organizations seeking to limit risks for their players.”

The four lawmakers asked the NFL to answer four questions by March 29 including what programs, initiatives and protocols the NFL is considering implementing to protect current NFL players and youth participating in its affiliated youth league.  

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