NFL Finally Admits Concussions Cause Damage
League will now support head injury research it has dismissed
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 21, 2009 6:55 AM CST
Eagles tight end LJ Smith holds his head after sustaining a concussion during a game, Oct. 26, 2009. That falling flag is for unnecessary roughness.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)
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(Newser) – The NFL for the first time acknowledged that concussions have long-term effects yesterday, as it announced a plan to donate $1 million or more to head trauma research. “It’s quite obvious from the medical research that’s been done that concussions can lead to long-term problems,” a league spokesman told the New York Times. When a reporter pointed out that this contradicted all the league’s previous statements on the matter, he replied, “We all share the same interest. That’s as much as I’m going to say.”

Until now, the NFL has tried to downplay and dismiss research showing the long-term effects of head trauma, including some from the Boston University researchers it’s now funding. The “statement is long overdue,” said one BU researcher. “It’s a clear sign of how the culture of football has changed in recent months.” New rules were rolled out a few weeks ago requiring players to be cleared by an independent doctor before returning to the field after a head trauma, and they can't return to a game or practice if there is evidence of concussion.