In a bid to deal with the problem of head injuries in professional football players, the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) has formed a new committee. The purpose of the new concussion and traumatic brain injury committee will be to address the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of concussions and traumatic brain injury in active players. The committee will also be examining evidence concerning potential long-term effects of cumulative head injuries in players. The committee will be headed by Arizona Cardinals wide receiver, Sam Morey, as well as NFLPA medical director, Dr. Thom Mayer.p>
Support for the establishment of the committee grew following a recent study commissioned by the NFL showing that retired players have an elevated risk of debilitating neurological conditions including Alzheimer's Disease. While the cumulative effects of repeated head injuries has been well documented in professional boxing and wrestling, the potential for similar problems arising in other sports where head injuries occur have only recently been explored. Recent statistics suggest that as many as 300,000 sports-related traumatic brain injuries of varying severity occur in the United States alone each year.
Potentially fatal brain syndromes that have been linked to repeated head injuries include dementia pugilistica and second-impact syndrome. While both syndromes have been primarily diagnosed in boxers, cases involving professional football and hockey players have gained significant media exposure in recent years.