“NFL Removes Doctor-Too Little-Too Late”
Chargers and NFL fans need to do one of two things. You need need to get a copy of the controversial book “League of Denial”, that traces the history of the NFL concussion crisis, and the lawsuit that triggered a 935-Million payment to retired players.
Or you need to get access via Netflix or other sources, and see Will Smith’s acting performance, in the very controversial movie “Concussion”.
Just to refresh your memory as you glance at the couple of stories written this week about Dr. Elliot Pellman, the longtime New York Jets lead physician, who was forced out by the league as head of their “Concussion Committee”.’
Pellman has been at the center of the lawsuit filed by retired players, over the NFL’s treatment, or lack of treatment, of players who suffered concussions, dating all the way back to the 1970s.
Pellman, who was the personal physician of then Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, was named to head the committee, that supposedly did all types of research, or so they say, and came to the conclusion, there were no inherent dangers to players suffering concussions in games.
He was part of an NFL paid team that authored 14-different white papers on brain trauma, and fought off the insinuations of the doctors, who discovered CTE, the tau protein, that showed signs of impending brain damage.
Pellman was not a neurologist. He stone-walled, and stood firm as a 30-year NFL employee, that players were not in danger, going back on the field and playing.
And because of that public league stance, we saw the tragic suicide of Mike Webster, the death of other Steelers offensive lineman, the more recent suicides of Junior Seau, Dave Duerson, André Waters and so many others.
It was only thru the efforts of the research team at Boston University, we discovered 90-of-94 deceased players, whose brains were studied, had concussions and had CTE, and died early deaths because of all that trauma.
You may feel good now that the NFL has settled the lawsuit, is funding on-going research at Boston University, and has set aside money as payments for players with Dementia, Alzheimers, brain damage,personality disorders, ALS, and more.
Money is also set aside for the families of players, who killed themselves.
But don’t feel good yet, for not one penny has been paid to the ailing, ill and in some cases, near-death players yet. It is still tied up in courts and law offices.
Pellman leaves the NFL, not necessarily disgraced, for he was never blamed by the league for mistakes. They hid behind the theory that modern sports medicine helped determine what CTE was, and what tau protein was, and what was happening to players, who got hurt.
Of course, if you buy that, then you also bought the tobacco industry about no connection to Lucky Strikes and lung cancer.
Life will go on. NFL camps will open. Players will continue to get hurt. The league will tell you stats that concussions are down, and rule changes are in, to help and protect the players.
But what they want you to forget are the families who lost fathers, and husbands, brothers and sons to suicide. They don’t want you to see the players with acute mental and physical problems now, the aftermath of the big hits.
And somewhere this morning, the retired, forced-out, Dr. Elliot Pellman gets up in his life of retirement and will go golfing, for all is well in his life. Not so for the suffering players of his era. How he, Paul Tagliabue, and even Roger Goodell can stand in front of a mirror and act that all is well in the NFL is beyond me.
Go find the book on Amazon. Go find the movie to watch. Tell me you believe the NFL, then, or now. The doctor removed doesn’t solve the hurt so many have. Removing the doctor was too little-too late.