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Congressional Hearing Announced

UPDATED (5:36 p.m.)...

A Congressional committee will hold a hearing about brain injuries and former NFL players.

The House Judiciary Committee announced Friday that it plans to hold hearings "on the lasting impact of head injuries suffered by National Football League (NFL) players and the coverage they receive from their benefits plans and other matters."

A date for the hearing was not announced.

Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), the chairman of the committee, said in a written statement: "The NFL recently announced the results of its internal study which revealed that players who suffered head injuries are susceptible to much higher rates of dementia and cognitive decline. This is a follow-up to a Congressional Research Service study the Committee commissioned on this issue as well as the testimony we received last Congress.

"Moreover, this issue affects not just NFL players, but millions of high school and college football players as well. The hearing will, among other things, allow us to hear directly from the NFL, the Players Union, and other interested parties concerning the impact and incidence of these injuries, and what can be done to limit them and compensate the players and their families."

The announcement comes days after a study commissioned by the NFL found that 6.1 percent of retired NFL players age 50 and above reported receiving a diagnosis of dementia, Alzheimer's disease or other memory-related disease, compared to 1.2 percent for all comparably aged U.S. men, and 1.9 percent of former players ages 30 to 49 indicated that they'd received such a diagnosis, compared to 0.1 percent for the general population.

Researchers at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research wrote the 37-page report based on findings of a telephone survey of 1,063 retired NFL players conducted last November and December.

The lead author of the study, designed to assess the health and well-being of retired players, said earlier Friday that the report does not provide conclusive evidence that the former players suffer from dementia and other memory-related diseases at a rate significantly higher than that of the general population.

"The conclusion [of that section of the study] is that further research is warranted, and I really mean it," David R. Weir said in a telephone interview, adding later: "We don't know."

By Mark Maske  |  October 2, 2009; 4:22 PM ET  | Category:  League Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Posted by: kathyNC | October 12, 2009 2:54 PM

I am disappointed. From the title I was hoping that although we already know this from what Doctors call "anecdotal evidence", that someone had finally proven beyond a doubt that all our so called reps in Congress were in fact severely brain damaged.
The anecdotal evidence being their everyday behavior

Posted by: mimelc | October 3, 2009 10:45 AM

Most NFL football players have very low cognitive skills similar to those of small children BEFORE they start playing pro football. I wonder how researchers were able to measure the loss of the tiny amount of cognitive skills the average NFL player has. However, I think Congress should also investigate the loss of cognitive skills in football FANS since MOST also have the cognitve abilities of small children...and these people make up the bulk of the US population.

Posted by: jjedif | October 3, 2009 8:59 AM

doesn't congress have better things to do?

Posted by: kippydoodle62 | October 3, 2009 7:36 AM

Brain injury hearings? There appears to be plenty of witnesses available to speak of the effects of these injuries. They are called Congressmen.

In other news, Conyers, whose wife was recently convicted of bribery, and who himself was found guilty of using government paid staffers for personal services in 2006, announced he would shortly be holding hearings on the impact of bruising on boxers, the long term effects of tennis elbow, and how health plans should be required to cover the "multiple daddy-less baby syndrome" that affects many NBA stars.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | October 3, 2009 2:11 AM

With all the increasing evidence, it amazes me that parents are still willing to let their children play a game where they have a higher statistical chance of brain damage as a result of participation than any other sport.

Posted by: Juan-John | October 3, 2009 12:05 AM

Given the latest from the NFL, reducing the risk of concussion is paramount to all players.

The latest research peer reviewed by the Academy of Sports Dentistry and a Harvard MGH specialist, suggests a retainer like Mouth guard used in the NFL and with such programs as the University of Texas, should be considered as part of a return to play protocol. One concussion and your six times more likely to have another, this protocol identifies and corrects a known link to the concussion origin.

Posted by: Mahercor061 | October 2, 2009 8:19 PM

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