NFL Executive Acknowledges CTE-Football Link for the First Time

Caitlyn Fitzpatrick

The National Football League (NFL) has long upheld its position that effects from playing the game are not linked to the neurological disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). But for the first time, an official with the organization is acknowledging the connection.

The National Football League (NFL) has long upheld its position that effects from playing the game are not linked to the neurological disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). But for the first time, an official with the organization is acknowledging the connection.

Although not a medical doctor, Jeff Miller, executive vice president for health and safety policy, is the first NFL official to state his belief in the CTE-football link. US Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL 9th District) asked Miller if he thought there was a link between football and degenerative brain disorders like CTE.

“The answer to that is certainly yes,” Miller confirmed during the Broad Review of Concussions: Initial Roundtable in DC on March 14, “but there’s also a number of questions that come with that.” When asked again for a concrete answer, he said yes.

As recently as last month, NFL medical leaders refused to acknowledge that playing football was connected to CTE. Just three days before Super Bowl 50, Mitch Berger, MD, a member of the NFL’s Head, Neck & Spine Committee, danced around the issue and said that if the link is being examined in football, then it also has to be reviewed in other head trauma situations — like car accidents and domestic violence.

  • Related: Treating Concussions Better: Brain Injury Expert Joseph F. Waeckerle, MD

CTE was first introduced in 2002 by Bennet I. Omalu, MD, and Julian Bailes, MD. As played out in the movie Concussion starring Will Smith, it caused major controversy. Dozens of former NFL players have come forward with symptoms of the disease, such as memory loss, aggression, suicidality, and eventually dementia. Unfortunately, the neurological disorder can only be diagnosed after death, but that may change as scientists are working towards earlier detection.

Recently, it was determined that a deceased 25-year-old man had CTE, suggesting that it does not just occur in former NFL players.

Watch the full concussions roundtable here, or view the video below to see the CTE-football acknowledgement.

The moment from today's roundtable when Rep. Schakowsky got NFL's Jeff Miller to admit to link between football, CTEhttps://t.co/FIpzHUbJtm

— Mashable News (@MashableNews) March 14, 2016

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