Concussion treatment, diagnosis focus of world sports conference

Thu Oct 22, 2015 8:39am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Ben Klayman

(Reuters) - Medical experts and National Football League (NFL) officials will gather with peers from other top global sports on Saturday in a bid to accelerate how to properly diagnose and treat player concussions.

Three dozen doctors and executives from rugby, hockey, soccer and athletics will meet in London at the NFL's second annual professional sports concussion conference.

Concussions and head trauma suffered by athletes remain a controversial topic, prompting many contact sports to change rules and adopt new protocols to ensure a higher level of player safety.

The NFL in April settled a lawsuit brought by about 5,000 former players who accused it of covering up the dangers of concussions in a deal that could cost the league $1 billion.

Items on Saturday's agenda include an expected announcement of an NFL collaboration with a foundation studying the long-term impact of concussions on jockeys, and the sharing of a Canadian Football League study on identifying concussions through eye movement tests, said Jeff Miller, the NFL's senior vice president of health and safety policy.

Miller said the conference will also consider a proposal for the NFL, international rugby and Australian Rules Football to test active rehabilitation as a better form of concussion treatment.

Some critics see the NFL-hosted London event as window dressing by the various sports bodies to protect their revenue streams. The most-popular and powerful U.S. sports league, revenues at the NFL topped $12 billion last year.

But the co-chairman of the NFL's head, neck and spine committee, Dr. Richard Ellenbogen, said the conference is meant to help fill in gaps in an area of medicine where a lot about concussions remains unknown.   Continued...

Roger Goodell, Commissioner of the National Football League (NFL) speaks at a news conference announcing the Head Health Initiative, a collaboration between General Electric (GE) and the National Football League (NFL), in New York in this March 11, 2013, file photo.  REUTERS/Mike Segar/Files