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Report: NFL doctor suggested removing CTE mention

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Mar 28 2013 02:10:50 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 28 2013 02:18:44 PM CDT
closeup of football laces

iStock/joecicak

One NFL doctor who participated in a study on degenerative brain disease in retired players suggested removing a mention of CTE from a fact-finding sheet, according to a New York Times report.

The doctor, a member of the NFL's head, neck and spine committee, wasn't identified. He said CTE -- a degenerative brain disease thought to be caused by repeated head trauma -- should be omitted because it was "not fully understood," because it wasn't cited on death certificates of the retired players in the study, and thus lacked "epidemiological validity."

Researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which compiled the fact sheet, rejected the recommendation. Independent medical experts said such a request was inappropriate and not in line with existing research.

"That's what bugged me the most," Jeffrey Kutcher, a neurologist and the director of Michigan NeuroSport at the University of Michigan, told the Times. "It's a huge jump and it goes completely away from what the Niosh study showed."

According to a memorandum obtained by the Times, most of the suggestions involved simplifying the information so players without a scientific background could understand the findings.

CTE is a degenerative brain disease closely related to Alzheimer's. It has been found in dozens of deceased football players, leading to concern about the sport's potential long-term effects.

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