Dear Blumenthal of Connecticut, One of the ‘Senators From Concussions’: Why is the CDC in Bed With the NFL?

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Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut is one of two senators investigating the Rite Aid pharmacy chain’s use of “wellness ambassadors,” whose role appears to be pushing the sales of supplements.

Tom Dudchik’s Capitol Report ( links a story about this from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which is the journal of record of the national headquarters of Concussion Inc.: the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. And that’s sweet, since UPMC’s Dr. Joseph Maroon – a consultant for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the National Football League, and the “medical director” of Connecticut-based World Wrestling Entertainment – shills for at least two supplement companies, and has at least an indirect equity interest in one of them.

Now I have another question for Senator Blumenthal.

He is among the many legislators who have accepted campaign contributions from the National Football League’s political action committee, the Gridiron PAC. Blumenthal’s crusade against “blackouts” also stops and ends at pressuring the NFL to broadcast home-market games on free TV even when the stadium doesn’t sell out more than 72 hours in advance.

When I call Blumenthal a “senator from concussions,” the perjorative is considered. In my native state, Missouri, we used to joke that Stuart Symington was “the senator from McDonnell-Douglas” because he made sure never to cross the manufacturer of military fighter jets and the biggest employer in the St. Louis area. Similarly, Scoop Jackson of Washington was known as “the senator from Lockheed.”

Blumenthal sits on the Senate Commerce Committee, whose Tom Udall of New Mexico held a hearing about concussions in October that was about as close to worthless as you can get.

So here’s my question for the junior senator from Connecticut:

The NFL is partnering with and underwriting a public education campaign on concussions by the federal Centers for Disease Control. A CDC spokesperson told me that the league’s $150,000 grant marked “the first time the CDC Foundation has received external funding to help support” the agency’s “Heads Up” initiative. Isn’t that like having the Tobacco Institute draft the surgeon general’s warnings on cigarette packages?

There’s no use in my contacting Blumenthal’s office for comment – it never responds to my inquiries. Of course, that wasn’t the case with the Blumenthal Senate campaign in 2010, when it made arrangements through me to reach Mike Benoit, the father of homicidal-suicidal WWE performer Chris Benoit, and fly him from Canada to Connecticut for a press conference talking about the evil ways of WWE co-founder and ex-CEO Linda McMahon (Blumenthal’s Republican opponent and a Senate candidate again this year).


Irv Muchnick

Concussion Inc.’s ebook UPMC: Concussion Scandal Ground Zero is available on Amazon Kindle at, or as a PDF file by sending $1.49 via PayPal to

Irvin Muchnick’s newest ebook, with Anthony Roberts, is THE CHINA SYNDROME: How Athletes and Celebrities Get Their Performance-Enhancing Drugs – How a Rogue Prosecutor Bungled Their Bust (

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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick