In the past few years, th conversation surrounding CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy), has grown louder and louder. CTE is a degenerative disease in the brain which is the result of repetitive head trauma. Things have gotten so far that even Hollywood has gotten in on it, releasing the film Concussion, starring Will Smith last winter. The condition is mostly found in athletes, with the most frequent being football players.
For years, the NFL has denied that there is link between their sport and CTE but last week, NFL senior vice president for health and safety Jeff Miller was on Capitol Hill and questioned by a congresswoman about the issue. To his credit, Miller admitted that there was a link. During yesterday’s (March 22) NFL owners meeting, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was asked by the SportsBusiness Journal to comment on Miller’s revelation and he was more skeptical.
We don’t have that type of knowledge and background and scientifically there is no way to say that you have a relationship there. There is no research, there is no data.
Upon further questioning, Jones went as far as to call Miller’s comments absurd.
No, that’s absurd. There’s no data that in any way creates a knowledge. There’s no way that you could have made a comment that there is an association and some type of assertion. In most things, you have to back it up by studies. And in this particular case, we all know how medicine is. Medicine is evolving. I grew up being told that aspirin was not good. I’m told that one a day is good for you. … I’m saying that changed over the years as we’ve had more research and knowledge.
So we are very supportive of the research. … We have for years been involved in trying to make it safer, safer as it pertains to head injury. We have millions of people that have played this game, have millions of people that are at various ages right now that have no issues at all. None at all. So that’s where we are. That didn’t alter at all what we’re doing about it. We’re gonna do everything we can to understand it better and make it safer.
For record, Jeff Miller’s statement was based on research done by Dr. Ann McKee, who found CTE in 90 out of 94 deceased NFL players.