A recent study conducted by the University of North Carolina’s Center for the Study of Retired Athletes indicates the rate of diagnosed clinical depression among retired National Football League (NFL) players is strongly correlated with the number of concussions they sustained while playing professional football. The report was based on a general health survey of over two thousand retired NFL players and was published in the journal of the American College of Sports Medicine. This study certainly calls into question the NFL’s long-held contention that concussions have no long-term effects on the players.
At the end of May 2007, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced several initiatives including the creation of a fund to help pay the medical expenses of players suffering from dementia-related illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease. Goodell also announced obligatory neuropsychological testing for all players suffering a concussion and a “whistle blower system” whereby players and doctors can anonymously report a coach who attempts to override a doctor’s order regarding a concussed player.