Paging Dr. Richard Ellenbogen of

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Dr. Richard Ellenbogen, co-chair of the National Football League’s Head, Neck, and Spine Committee, has a promising but ultimately confused and confusing video about concussions up at the league’s recently launched health and safety website.

There’s a fundamental problem, in that Ellenbogen talks about tailoring concussion management to the level of play but is silent on the not-insignificant issue of whether tackle football is safe at all for kids. I am not alone in wondering if parents have as much to worry about from the initial concussion and repetitive subconcussive blows to young brains as they do from preventing a second concussion.

Then there’s the matter of examining an athlete in the middle of competition. Dr. Joseph Maroon of the Pittsburgh Steelers, a member of Ellenbogen’s committee, asserts in his own video at that this can be accomplished in two minutes, “efficiently and expeditiously.” For his part, Ellenbogen counsels slow and careful examination, often five minutes or more, as he points out that neurological markers can noticeably deteriorate in the course of the exam itself.

I discussed all this in yesterday’s post “Concussion Guru Dr. Richard Ellenbogen Does a Star Turn on ‘’,” I faxed the post  to Ellenbogen and invited a response, but did not hear back. I also asked Greg Aiello, the NFL spokesman, for comment and he emailed, “We do not have one.”

Yo Rich, you have my number. Call any time.


Dr. Ellenbogen:

Attached is a copy of an article just posted at my blog,

I am interested in publishing your comments. I am especially interested in your response to the point that your video is in direct conflict with Dr. Maroon’s and that you, as cochair of the NFL committee, should disavow and remove Maroon’s.

Thank you.

Irvin Muchnick

Comments are closed.

Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick