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April 12, 2021
Dear Retired Players and Families,
 

I always advise caution when former players ask me if I think they should participate in this study or that, and I usually say, “NO.”  The reason for that is that most of the studies I’ve been asked about were either sponsored or funded by NFL and/or NFLPA.  I think of this as similar to a Miranda violation with no warning that your data will most likely be manipulated and used against you and others.

That said, there are a few reputable studies that I’d encourage participation in, and two of those are getting underway now.  I have great regard and admiration for the work that Boston University and Concussion Legacy Foundation have done in advancing our knowledge of CTE, and how it relates to football exposure.  One of the new studies will be done; by BU and the other by Johns Hopkins, endorsed by Concussion Legacy Foundation.

Johns Hopkins Seeking Former NFL Players Age 25 to 40

Does the brain repair itself after repeated NFL concussions? Johns Hopkins research is just beginning to search for the answer to that question. The Concussion Legacy Foundation is supporting this important study. If you are a former NFL player who played 2 or more years, including on the practice squad, you may be eligible to participate in a brain imaging study at Johns Hopkins.

Click here for more information and to see if you qualify for the study.  If you are interested and think you might be eligible, contact Dr. Jennifer Coughlin at jcoughl2@jhmi.edu.

BU-UCSF Seeking Former NFL Players Age 45 to 74

A new study led by Boston University School of Medicine and UCSF researchers has been awarded a $460,000 grant by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to study the effectiveness of brain imaging in hopes of detecting Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in living people. Currently, CTE can only be diagnosed after death. The Concussion Legacy Foundation is leading recruiting for the FIND-CTE study.

“If we can detect CTE during life, it will bring us closer to our ultimate goal of developing and testing potential treatments,” said Dr. Michael Alosco, co-director of the NIA-funded Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center Clinical Core and lead investigator at the BU CTE Center.

Click here for more information and to see if you qualify for the study. If you are interested and think you might be eligible, contact Karen Smith at karen.smith@ucsf.edu if you’d like to be scanned at the University of California, San Francisco or Julia Culhane at jculhane@bu.edu to participate at Boston University.

What a game-changer it will be when CTE can be diagnosed in the living.  While the Concussion Settlement does not cover CTE, it will be very difficult to dispute a dementia diagnosis if CTE is confirmed.  Ditto with NFL Disability.  As Dr. Alosco, noted, it is also the first step in developing treatment.  Unlike most studies where conflicts of interest abound, I am pleased to be able to recommend participation in this one as well as the Johns Hopkins study.
 

Race-Norming in the Concussion Settlement


In other news, race-norming continues to be problematic in the Concussion Settlement, and it's no comfort that Judge Brody sent the fox who failed to guard the henhouse to mediate on behalf of players.  The attorneys representing Davenport and Henry filed a motion to intervene which Judge Brody has ruled to defer ruling (place on hold) that motion to intervene until mediation is underway and she confers with the magistrate judge. My prediction is that she will most likely declare the problem solved whether it is or not and deny the motion as moot.  That's a prediction I'd like to get wrong but based on past performance it is what I expect.  Attorney Patrick Tighe has also filed a motion to intervene to which Chris Seeger filed a very caustic objection.  If everything was on the up and up, you'd think Mr. Seeger would welcome the help and input.

Fortunately, at least some in media are paying close attention to what is taking place so it will become increasingly difficult to avoid accountability.  No airing date has been announced as of yet, but keep your eyes on your TV schedules for a follow-up ABC Nightline report within the next few weeks.

If you have a compelling story that you would like to share, please respond to this email and let me know, as I often have an opportunity to refer players to national reporters.

Thank you, sincerely to those who donated to Advocacy for Fairness in Sports after the March newsletter.  Your generosity has enabled me to stay on top of court filings through Pacer and continue to make use of the legal tools I depend on.  As always, if you have something to spare, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution.  I deeply appreciate the people whose support enables me to keep working and advocating on behalf of retired NFL.
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Best regards,

Sheilla






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