NFL Explains: Maroon Still on Committee, Only Concussion ‘Leadership’ Has Changed

In the  last post I tried to draw National Football League spokesman Greg Aiello out a little more on the status of NFL/Pittsburgh Steelers/World Wrestling Entertainment neurologist Dr. Joseph Maroon.

Aiello now clarifies that the NFL brain injury policy committee “is a work in progress and will not be static. The co-chairs can amend it as necessary. The co-chairs have asked two other doctors that served on the previous committee – Dr. Joe Wackerle and Dr. Thom Mayer – to participate on the revised committee (officially called the NFL Brain and Spine Injury Prevention Committee).”

According to Aiello, the reported “break from the past” more accurately refers to the leadership of the committee. “The leadership is completely new and the co-chairs have been given the authority to run the committee as they see fit.”

In the June 1 New York Times story headlined “Concussion Committee Breaks With Predecessor,” new co-chairs Drs. H. Hunt Batjer and Richard G. Ellenbogen said they were influenced by a comment by Congressman Anthony D. Weiner, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, who said: “You have years of an infected system here that your job is to some degree to mop up.”

I will say, in fairness to Maroon, that much of the criticism of the concussion committee has revolved around studies downplaying the decline in cognitive function of former pro football players. He perhaps has been less involved in that particular aspect than in management of contemporary injury prevention and treatment. But to the extent that the whole NFL concussion operation has been publicly discredited — and I think it has been — what the new co-chairs were promising seemed to be a broom that would sweep clean.

Alex Marvez, senior NFL writer for FoxSports.com, tells me that there are six established committees for the “NFL Brain and Spine Injury Prevention Committee,” and as of nine days ago, Maroon was not listed on any of them.

Marvez will have more on the concussion issue tomorrow in his FoxSports.com column.

Irv Muchnick

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