Further Research is Needed
Today the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to look into football head injuries. This is hearing is in response to a growing body of research saying that NFL players that suffer multiple concussions have serious medical problems later in life, including higher rates of Alzheimer’s disease. According to ESPN the NFL has been pushing the line that “more research is necessary”, which the Washington D.C. cop out line when presented with damning information.
The NFL’s rhetoric is reminiscent of the famous denial of tobacco being addictive by tobacco companies. It’s not quite as bad, we do need more research on the issue of Alzheimer’s. But more broadly they’re expecting people believe that blunt force trauma to the brain is an ambiguous area of medical research.
The problem with saying we need more research is that there is no guarantee you’ll get more research and the people you hear saying we need more research invariably end up criticizing other people’s research, as the NFL’s concussion committee did recently, or fund their own biased research, which the NFL also does. Indeed funding bogus research is such a cottage industry that many advocacy groups name themselves “institute”. So while people calling for more research are saying we need to clarify this issue, they are often attempting to obscure the truth.
I’m betting further legitimate research will continue to find a connection between head injuries and brain damage.