Dr. Joseph Maroon & ‘Neurosurgery’ 2002: ‘Cumulative Effects’

Neurosurgery, November 2002 – “Cumulative Effects of Concussion in High School Athletes.” Authors: Michael W. Collins, Ph.D., Mark R. Lovell, Ph.D., Grant L. Iverson, Ph.D., Robert C. Cantu, M.D., Joseph C. Maroon, M.D., Melvin Field, M.D.


This article is intrinsically unremarkable. The two lead authors, Collins and Lovell, are, of course, Dr. Maroon’s University of Pittsburgh Medical Center colleagues and ImPACT Applications partners. Labeling itself “the first to suggest a cumulative effect of concussions in high school athletes,” the article concluded with “the need for more long-term outcome studies.”

The historical context, however, is striking: 2002 was the year the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Webster died; it was a researcher outside the football establishment, Dr. Bennet Omalu of the Pittsburgh coroner’s office, who identified Webster’s chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which sent the field into its current tizzy.

Speaking of Maroon and Omalu and dead Pittsburgh Steelers … Maroon during this period was beginning to display his penchant for lying about his familiarity with evidence in brain-injury death cases. Three years after Webster, another Steeler, Terry Long, committed suicide by drinking antifreeze, and Omalu found CTE in Long’s brain, too. Maroon attacked Omalu’s “fallacious reasoning” and said, “I was the team neurosurgeon during Long’s entire tenure with the Steelers, and I still am. I re-checked my records; there was not one cerebral concussion documented in him during those entire seven years.” But Long’s files included a 1987 letter by Maroon recommending that Long be held out of action for two weeks after suffering a concussion.

The source for this is Chris Nowinski’s book Head Games. See “Dr. Joseph Maroon’s Disturbing Pattern of Misstatements,” January 5, https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2011/01/05/dr-joseph-maroons-disturbing-pattern-of-misstatements/.

Series “Dr. Maroon & Neurosurgery” will continue in following posts.



Irv Muchnick


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