Dr. Joseph Maroon of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the National Football League and World Wrestling Entertainment and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center – also of ironman competition fame, supplement-huckstering and NFL-assisted marketing of dubious “concussion management” software – has a new long Q&A with The Intelligencer / Wheeling (West Virginia) News-Register. See http://www.theintelligencer.net/page/content.detail/id/557704/-Sunday-Sit-Down—TODAY-S-GUEST–Dr–Joseph-Maroon.html?nav=510#.Tj_rrgQagV0.twitter.
The interview has all the standard Maroon tropes. A couple stand out.
Funny, but in Maroon’s video at the PR website nflhealthandsafety.com, he says nothing about the athlete being “completely asymptomatic.” (See “Performing a Neurological Exam,” http://nflhealthandsafety.com/2011/01/20/performing-a-neurological-exam/.)
Perhaps it could be argued that this point is so obvious that it doesn’t even need to be said – but if so, then why does Maroon feel it is important enough to articulate today in his West Virginia interview but not in his official NFL website video of a few months ago? As I have pointed out on this blog, Maroon’s video also contradicts a newer one by the league’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee co-chair Dr. Richard Ellenbogen; Maroon says an “efficient and expeditious” two-minute neurological exam can confirm readiness to return to play, and Ellenbogen says otherwise.
I will again contact Ellenbogen and challenge him to take responsibility for sending unmixed messages to the public on nflhealthandsafety.com.
Even if Maroon is attempting to commingle brain injuries with all injuries, this assertion intuitively makes no sense. Of course, over time while in a car, as either driver or passenger, you run the risk of serious injury or death in a crash. But I would like to see the citation of “some statistics a few years back” suggesting that such incidence is “significantly higher” than the day-to-day injuries, minor and major, in football practices and games.
I am requesting clarification by Maroon, the NFL, and The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register.