Can the NFL learn from its mistakes?


A more aggressive approach to the management of concussions has been implemented by NFL teams to prevent players from going back into the game once they have had a concussion. The new protocol brings a physician’s opinion early into the decision making process, and the use of spotters who see players who may be showing symptoms following a play but have not lost consciousness.

Certainly, the NFL is dealing with the negative publicity they continue to receive regarding the retired players who are now showing signs of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy  or CTE as well as the much disputed settlement. NeuroNotes has featured many blogs about CTE, multiple concussions and the NFL’s issues for the last several years and has been most fortunate to have George Visger, a retired San Francisco 49’r, as a contributor. Through George Visgers’s blogs we have been afforded an opportunity to consider the long term issues, learn about the short-sighted NFL settlement and meet players who are living with the effects of brain injury. The revised concussion management  protocol is a step forward for the NFL. However, is it adequate, or can more be done with improvement to equipment or changes to the rules of the game? As we have learned, CTE will never be adequately compensated. The best approach is to avoid the multiple injuries that lead to CTE.

The NFL is a huge industry based on a single product: football. Can it save itself from self-destruction, or is it a case of too little, too late?

Click here to read the NY Times article on concussion management.

About Rolf Gainer Ph.D.

Dr. Rolf Gainer is the founder of the Neurologic Rehabilitation Institute at Brookhaven Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma as well as the Neurological Rehabilitation Institute of Ontario, in Toronto, Canada. Dr. Gainer is a psychologist with more than twenty-five years of experience in the treatment and rehabilitation of individuals with brain injuries and a dual diagnosis. Dr. Gainer has designed and operated innovative rehabilitation programs in the United States and Canada for individuals who have been regarded as difficult to serve. He is currently involved in conducting two outcome studies related to the long-term issues faced by individuals with brain injuries and a dual diagnosis. He has presented papers throughout the United States and Canada in many professional conferences and educational forums.

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