To help answer that question we’ve created a dual chronology, with growing scientific concern about the link between football and brain disease on the left-hand column, and the NFL’s public statements on the right. 19941995199719992000200120022003200420052006200720092010201120122013 1994 NFL creates MTBI Committee NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue creates the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury committee, and appoints New York Jets team doctor and rheumatologist Dr.Elliot Pellman as chair, despite lacking any previous experience in brain science.
Two weeks earlier, he had taken a knee to the head, leaving him briefly unable to recognize his wife or brother.
Hoge tells December 1994 Commissioner Tagliabue dismisses the concussion problem NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue describes concussions as a “pack journalism issue” during a panel on the future of sports: “On concussions, I think is one of these pack journalism issues, frankly…
There is no increase in concussions, the number is relatively small… “ February 1995 Leigh Steinberg sounds a warning With growing concern for the health of his clients, Leigh Steinberg, agent to star quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Steve Young, holds a seminar on the effects of concussions in Newport Beach, Calif.
Players listen to a panel of medical experts describe the symptoms and dangers of concussions.
Aikman later tells the that he can’t remember the game: “I didn’t know what planet I was on.
I still to this day have no recollection of ever having played in that game.
So whenever I see footage of that game, it’s like somebody else is out there doing it.” Aikman’s agent, Leigh Steinberg, visited him in the hospital that night and recalled the story to FRONTLINE.
October 1994 Merrill Hoge retires due to concussions Citing the dangers of returning to football after sustaining several concussions, Chicago Bears fullback Merrill Hoge announces his retirement from the NFL.
San Diego Charger Gary Plummer tells March 1997 New return-to-play guidelines The guidelines from the American Academy of Neurology say that repetitive concussions can cause brain damage, and suggest that players be removed from the game if they lose consciousness or exhibit any concussion symptoms 15 minutes post-injury.
“Repeated concussions can cause cumulative brain injury in an individual over months or years,” the report warns.
April 1999 Mike Webster claims football gave him dementia After years of struggling with cognitive problems, Mike Webster files a disability application with the NFL Retirement Board, claiming his NFL football career caused him to have dementia.