Dr. Cantu, Nowinski’s Partner, Ripped King-Devick Test Last Fall (‘Game Within Head Games,’ Part 6)

Nowinski-Cantu-Schwarz Film Backer Is ID’d – Billionaire Pushing Sideline Concussion Test (‘Game Within Head Games,’ Part 5)
May 14, 2012
‘Coming to a Theater Near You: The Football Concussion Crisis Documentaries’ … today at Beyond Chron
May 15, 2012

The casual observer might be struck by how messy the sausage factory is behind the scenes, and how this series of posts provides non-stakeholders with a rock-em-sock-em view of an unforgiving process.

But another way to look at the funding and private agendas of the new documentary Head Games is that we are all stakeholders in the lifelong mental health of American boys. Also, that their brains aren’t sausages and that we need something better than an infomercial to frame the public conversation about them.

I’m ramping up my knowledge of the origins of and scientific to-and-fro regarding the King-Devick Test, which billionaire Steve Devick is promoting via the Steve James film he underwrote. A good place to start is this article in the October 2011 issue of Philadelphia magazine:

“Penn Researchers Study Football Concussions,” http://www.phillymag.com/articles/penn-researchers-study-football-concussions/

The Penn researchers are neuro-ophthalmologists Steven Galetta and Laura Balcer. The Philadelphia story describes their work and their relationship with Devick.

The piece also includes this grumpy assessment of the King-Devick Test from Boston’s Dr. Robert Cantu, one of the protoganists of Head Games:

“They don’t have any background in concussion research. They don’t have a good feel for what concussions are all about. They talk about finding nearly 100 percent of concussions.… We’ll see what the data shows.… I doubt it will be able to predict more than 75 or 80 percent of the time. That’s good enough to rule somebody out, but not good enough to rule somebody in [for return to play]. And we don’t want simplistic tests to let people go back in.”

Another researcher, whose views I respect, thinks Cantu “is not wrong” on this point. “There is a lot of interest in both balance and neuro-ophthalmology.   We have been looking at these things for years and it just has not proven scientifically reliable,” this source says.

Overall, King-Devick seems more credible than the impossibly vague ImPACT system, which is being so aggressively promoted, at taxpayer expense, by Dr. Joseph Maroon and his cohort of National Football League-affiliated clinicians at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. (Ralph Nader’s self-styled “fan lobby,” the League of Fans, has even called for widespread adoption of King-Devick. But judging by the Nader group’s general lameness on the concussion issue, I put no stock in that endorsement.)

At the bottom of this post is a list of all the people – not just Devick and Anthony Athanas, mentioned previously – who are being called the executive producers of Head Games.

Next in this series of posts: What was Alan Schwarz of The New York Times thinking?


Irv Muchnick



Anthony Athanas — CEO of Pier Four, Inc.

Casey Cowell — CEO & Chairman, retired, of US Robotics, Inc.

Jon Cronin — CEO & President of Cronin Development Corp.

Steve Devick — CEO/Managing Partner of Concert Hotspot, HGtf, & K-D Test, LLCs

Andrew E. Filopowski — CTO of Head Games the Film, LLC

Frank J., Jr. & Jacqueline C. Murnane — Murnane Companies

Hank Neuberger, Grammy awarded producer, President of Springboard Productions

Jim O’Donovan, President of Reliable Roofing, Inc.

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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick