Health and law expert: NFL not alone in handling concussions as 'benign' problems

January 17, 2013

More than 2,000 former football players are suing the National Football League, saying the league should have taken action earlier to deal with injuries related to concussions more seriously.

But if a lack of speed in tackling concussions warrants criticism, the NFL isn't the only player deserving a penalty, according to a study co-authored by health care and law expert David Orentlicher, who teaches at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis.

Neurologists were also slow in sounding the alarm, and for decades, concussions were viewed as a "benign phenomenon," according to Orentlicher.

Orentlicher's study "Concussion and Football: Failures to Respond by the NFL and the Medical Profession," co-authored by William S. David of Harvard Medical School, traces the evolution of the medical understanding of concussion over the past several decades.

"In reviewing the response of the to concussion, one can easily think that the league was too slow to worry about the medical consequences of ," according to the study published in this month's Network. "But the extent to which its response was unreasonable is unclear. If many medical experts did not worry about concussions, it is difficult to fault the NFL for not worrying either."

"Still one can question the NFL's failure to adopt concussion guidelines in the late 1990s when medical experts did issue guidelines," Orentlicher said.

Explore further: Pro-bowler suicide raises questions of early concussion detection

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Big Data can save lives, says leading cancer expert

May 16, 2016

The sharing of genetic information from millions of cancer patients around the world could be key to revolutionising cancer prevention and care, according to a leading cancer expert from Queen's University Belfast.

New soap to ward off malaria carrying mosquitoes

May 13, 2016

(Medical Xpress)—Gérard Niyondiko along with colleagues Frank Langevin and Lisa Barutel has posted a project on the crowd source funding site ulule for a product called Faso Soap. They claim the soap can cut in half the ...

Smartphones uncover how the world sleeps

May 6, 2016

A pioneering study of worldwide sleep patterns combines math modeling, mobile apps and big data to parse the roles society and biology each play in setting sleep schedules.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.