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NFL retools approach to concussion research


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It's about time I think.


The National Football League has insisted publicly that it is not planning to alter the way it researches or regulates concussions. But behind the scenes, the NFL's controversial concussions committee is undergoing the biggest changes in its 13-year history.

As the Sports Concussion Institute held its first summit Friday in Marina del Rey, Calif., signs were pointing toward major changes afoot in the NFL. The league's Committee on Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI) has been re-evaluating everything from its membership to the data it has collected. ESPN.com has learned:

• NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has told the concussions committee to involve new researchers in its work, according to a source familiar with the committee's activities. As a result, its ranks might expand again. (In January, the committee added three new members, all with extensive neurosurgical experience: Joseph Maroon, the Pittsburgh Steelers' team neurosurgeon and vice chairman of neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh; Joel Morgenlander, professor of neurosurgery at Duke University; and Thomas Naidich, professor of radiology and neurosurgery at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.)

The concussions committee has been criticized in the past for its insularity. But as it prepares to launch a long-awaited study on the long-term impact of concussions on players, the NFL group finally will consult outside scientists and studies.

"We're going to reach out to other people, to all the experts in MTBI, and try to have an open, meaningful scientific dialogue," said one committee member.


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