Dr. Joseph Maroon’s Disturbing Pattern of Misstatements

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Dustin Fink, the Illinois athletic trainer who authors the indispensable “Concussion Blog” (http://theconcussionblog.com), was intrigued enough by yesterday’s item here about the conflicts of interest of World Wrestling Entertainment’s doctors from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center that he went back and re-read Chris Nowinski’s book Head Games. In Chapter 7, Fink came across another example of Dr. Joseph Maroon’s penchant for misremembering facts related to concussion controversies.

Nowinski recounts how, after Dr. Bennet Omalu found that the late Pittsburgh Steelers players Mike Webster and Terry Long had Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy, Maroon led the National Football League chorus in attacking the “fallacious reasoning” behind Omalu’s research.

I was the team neurosurgeon during Long’s entire tenure with the Steelers, and I still am,” Maroon said. “I re-checked my records; there was not one cerebral concussion documented in him during those entire seven years.”

Omalu, however, came found in Long’s records a letter by Maroon, dated December 22, 1987, asking that Long be suspended from play for two weeks because of a concussion.

No one who has seen the football movies North Dallas Forty and Any Given Sunday can fail to appreciate the tremendous commercial pressure NFL team physicians face. Anecdotal evidence mounts that Joseph Maroon has not been among the best at staring down that pressure from his corporate clients – which now, tellingly, include WWE as well as the NFL.


Irv Muchnick

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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick