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Allegations that the NFL tried influencing brain injury research

New Orleans Saints fans may have followed news on research into the link between head injuries and football. On May 23, a senior House Democrat alleged that the National Football League tried to improperly influence brain research at the National Institutes of Health. According to New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone, the NFL refused to follow through with its plans to donate $30 million after the NIH declined to take a grant away from a researcher known for his work on the link between football injuries and brain disease.

The NFL has denied the allegation, but there is an email from the NFL medical director to the fundraising arm of the NIH requesting that the study be slowed down due to concerns about bias. The grant had also been sought by individuals on the NFL’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee.

According to the person responsible for choosing the grant recipient, a doctor at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the NIH, some people at the NFL saw those who did research into football and brain injuries as creators of the problem. Rep. Pallone raised the issue after ESPN reported the NFL’s actions. Donors are prohibited from influencing who receives NIH grants.

In addition to contact sports, a person might suffer a head injury in a motor vehicle accident, a fall or even as a result of a defective product. Research in this area turns up increasing evidence that certain brain diseases and disabilities may occur years after the original injury. The seriousness of a brain injury may be difficult to diagnose initially, and this means that victims may not always get the compensation or medical treatment they should. They might want to speak to an attorney about how best to proceed if the injury was caused by the negligence of another party.

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