NFLPA Medical Director Gives Remarks on TBI in NFL

Posted by BestPractices on May 2 2010

Dr. Mayer’s opening statement for the medical conference on Traumatic Brain Injury and the health and safety of NFL players:

JUNE 2, 2010

“Good morning everyone. As you may know, I am Dr. Thom Mayer, Medical Director for the National Football League Players Association. My commitment, and that of the NFLPA, is exclusively to the health, safety and long-term well-being of our players.

Thanks to Dr. Lyketsos and his team for hosting this meeting, my friend and colleague Dr. Pellman and all of you for attending. I would also like to thank the members of the NFLPA Mackey-White Committee on Traumatic Brain Injury, Sean Morey, Executive Committee Member of the NFLPA, whose passionate intensity have helped fuel substantial and significant progress on this critical issue and DeMaurice Smith, the Executive Director of the NFLPA, who has instructed me, in no uncertain terms, that the health and safety of NFL players is a non-negotiable issue.

I offer my congratulations to the National Football League for appointing two new chairmen to the Brain, Neck and Spine Committee, Drs. Hunt Batjer and Rich Ellenbogen. I have the utmost respect for both of their previous bodies of work and I look forward to working with them in the present and future.

On behalf of the Players of the National Football League, I welcome the opportunity to work with the League on creating a safer working condition for the Players. A safe working condition, the careful monitoring of conditions, the obligation for reform and the challenge of making conditions better, is the obligation of the League. While we look forward to working with the NFL to better understand and implement safer practices, let me be clear, the obligation to provide a safe working condition, cannot, and will not rest with just the Player.

I am obligated in my position as their medical director to have a singular focus on the health and safety of the players, to advocate zealously for transparency as it relates to any and all data received by the NFL and to commission and review all relevant studies that may assist in ensuring a safer game for all players, both current and future. Further, my obligation extends to former players: If there is an established link between playing football and future neurological disabilities, I will not hesitate to bring this information forth and begin to advocate for changes in the current disability recognition process.

T.S. Eliot noted in “The Hollow Men” that, “Between the idea and the action…falls the shadow.” We look forward to assuring that the shadow between what is said and what is done is as short as possible.  For as Ben Franklin said, “Well done is better than well said!”

Thank you all for being here today and I look forward to the discussion.”

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