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."
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