Former Jets Physician Ripped To Shreds
A long story, but an interesting read. Makes the Jets former concussion "specialist" Elliot Pellman look like a complete and utter scumbag. If anything, made me feel more sorry for Al Toon and Wayne Chrebet than I already did.
In 1952 -- 1952! -- the New England Journal of Medicine recommended that football players leave the sport after suffering three concussions; 40 years later, Jets receiver Al Toon retired after suffering his ninth diagnosed concussion. (According to a 2011 New York Times report, Toon still suffers health effects, though he declined to discuss them publicly.) In 1997, the American Academy of Neurology recommended that concussed athletes knocked unconscious be withheld from play until asymptomatic for at least one week. The NFL rejected the recommendation. Seven years later, an international panel of sports concussion experts recommended that concussed athletes should not return to play the same day, even if they never lost consciousness. The NFL again rejected the recommendation, with [Elliot] Pellman subsequently writing in a paper that linking "concussion symptoms to arbitrary, rigid management decisions" was not "consistent with scientific data" and that team physicians should instead "treat their players on a case-to-case basis."
Among those team physicians? Pellman himself, who managed concussion care and return-to-play decisions for the Jets. In 1995 quarterback Boomer Esiason was concussed and missed four games. He later wrote a letter to The New York Times praising Pellman's handling of his injury. Chrebet's experience was different. During a 2003 game, he was knocked out. Drawing on a New York Daily News report, Keating described what happened next:
… "there's going to be some controversy about you going back to play." Pellman looks Chrebet in the eye in the fourth quarter of a tight game, Jets vs. Giants … a knee to the back of the head knocked Chrebet stone-cold unconscious a quarter earlier, and now the Jets' team doctor is putting the wideout through a series of mental tests. Pellman knows Chrebet has suffered a concussion, but the player is performing adequately on standard memory exercises.
"This is very important for you," the portly physician tells the local hero. "This is very important for your career." Then he asks, "Are you OK?"
When Chrebet replies, "I'm fine," Pellman sends him back in …
Like Toon, Chrebet reportedly still suffers from post-concussive ailments.
Doctors knew in 1969 that Boxing caused dementia
No one will convince me that guys like Pearlman didn't have some inkling that repeated, violent blows to the head could cause permanent damage to a player's brain.