George Visger, the former pro football player, brain injury and retired athletes’ activist, and author of an upcoming title in the Concussion Inc. ebook series, met last Friday with U.S. Congresswoman Linda Sanchez of California to discuss the cover-up of concussions by the National Football League and measures to help those afflicted.
Visger – whose ebook OUT OF MY HEAD: My Life In and Out of Football will be published during Super Bowl week in February – had a 90-minute face-to-face session with Sanchez at her district office in Cerritos, California. Sanchez, the ranking minority member of the House Ethics Committee and the first Latina in Congress to hold a number of high committee posts, represents California’s 39th District in the southern part of the state, including portions of Los Angeles.
Visger was joined by Mike Greenhalgh, co-owner and manager of the Hyperbaric Oxygen Clinic of Sacramento, a neuro-rehabilitation treatment center, which Visger credits for ameliorating the symptoms of his condition of hydrocephalus (water on the brain), a consequence of his many football head injuries. The meeting with the congresswoman included Dr. William A. Duncan, who is both a vice president of the hyperbaric oxygen clinic and the president of Capitol Strategy Consultants, which represents clients on healthcare, biomedical research, veterans, Department of Defense, and criminal justice issues.
Sanchez was the most energetic member of the House Judiciary Committee in October 2009 and January 2010 hearings on the concussion issue. Confronting Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, she said:
“[T]he NFL sort of has this kind of blanket denial or minimizing, [and] it sort of reminds me of the tobacco companies pre-1990’s when they kept saying no, there is no link between smoking and damage to your health or ill health effects. And they were forced to admit that that was incorrect through a spate of litigation in the 1990s…. [T]he NFL is really just slow-walking the issue to death by saying, well, we have been studying the issue for 15 years, we are going to maybe study it another 15 more years.”
In an email reporting on last Friday’s meeting, Visger told me: “Congresswoman Sanchez is a bulldog and in our corner 100%. She understands the NFL’s motto of Delay, Deny and Hope They Die, and totally agreed with me when I stated what the NFL has done to its employees for decades is nothing short of criminal.”
Visger next will be meeting with California State Senator Ted Gaines. They will be joined by Visger’s old San Francisco 49ers teammate Dan Bunz – best remembered for his head-on goal-line tackle of 275-pound Cincinnati Bengals fullback Pete Johnson in the one of the key plays of the 49ers’ first Super Bowl victory 30 years ago this month.
Look for our upcoming ebook UPMC: Concussion Scandal Ground Zero. Complete info on the Concussion Inc. ebook shorts series is here.