Cantu and Nowinski Promise NFL-Blessed ‘Bold Initiative to Prevent Repetitive Brain Trauma.’ Hmmm …

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February 3, 2012

Tomorrow in my Beyond Chron pre-Super Bowl column, I’ll analyze the National Football League’s super-slick public relations offensive on the concussion issue.

My piece will be filed before Boston’s Sports Legacy Institute and Boston University’s Center for the Study of Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy release a white paper at the Super Bowl XLVI Media Center in Indianapolis on Friday afternoon. In the advance news release, the Dr. Robert Cantu / Chris Nowinski group say they will announce a “plan to spread successful NFL policy changes to all youth sports.”

If the Boston brainiacs can really “reduce lifetime brain trauma for athletes,” especially football players, then God bless ‘em. Let’s see where the beef is tomorrow. Skepticism is in order, however. The Boston center accepted a $1 million grant from the NFL and then muted its criticism of the league. According to various previous statements, carefully juxtaposed and parsed, Dr. Cantu either thinks youth contact football should be eliminated, or he doesn’t. Tweak tweak.

Since I am not in Indianapolis and the Boston folks don’t seem to be providing remote access, let me throw out a couple of questions that I hope get asked of them by my fellow ink- and electron-stained wretches:

1. Author-journalist-blogger Matt Chaney is completing a study that exposes serious holes in the annual data published by Cantu and colleague Frederick Mueller’s National Collegiate Athletic Associated-funded National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research at the University of North Carolina. Cantu has not responded to Chaney’s (or my own) invitations to comment. Why not? (See

2. A terrific article in Slate on January 20, by Christie Aschwanden, aptly labeled the ImPACT concussion management system – used by the NFL and now pushed on high school and youth programs everywhere – “a huge scam.” If the Boston plan to spread the NFL’s “successful policy” has ImPACT at its center, will it have any credibility? (See

I’ll take my answers on or off the air.


Irv Muchnick

The Concussion Inc. ebook short UPMC: Concussion Scandal Ground Zero is available for $1.49 on Amazon Kindle,, or as a simple PDF file by remitting $1.49 to [email protected].

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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick