For decades, the National Football League (NFL) researched head injuries
and played down the sobering results of this inquiry in a series of papers
released to league leadership and the public. Now, the science behind
those papers is facing closer scrutiny from sources like
the New York Times, and the analysis is revealing even more problems with the research.
Since the early 2000s, the NFL’s data source has been a database
of reported player concussions from 1996 to 2001, a source the league
claims accounts for all the concussions players suffered during that period.
Recently, however, over 100 diagnoses have come to light that weren’t
on the list. Some of these affected the league’s biggest stars at
the time, such as quarterbacks Steve Young and Troy Aikman.
The missing diagnoses made up over 10 percent of the total, meaning that
the NFL’s estimates of concussion occurrences were misleadingly
low. Debate abounds regarding whether or not the NFL deliberately under-reported
these numbers. In addition, some peer reviewers have been affiliated with
NFL teams. Critics say these reviewers thus lacked independence and objectivity.
The NFL has long disavowed any comparison of its science tactics to those
deployed by the tobacco industry several decades ago, when cigarette manufacturers
went to great lengths to suppress or distort data highlighting health
risks of smoking. However, further investigation reveals that the comparison
may be more apt than the league admits. The New York Times claims to have
discovered that several lobbyists, lawyers, and consultants worked both
with Big Tobacco and the NFL over the last several years and that these
people manipulated data in similar ways.
Bear in mind that, when assessing dangers from playing sports, taking medications
or engaging other risky activities in life, you really need to understand the
Difference Between Absolute Risk and Relative Risk.
Washington D.C. personal injury attorneys for insight into your possible case.