Amid a national debate about concussions in sports leagues and the military, a House Committee is entering the fray with what is promised to be a comprehensive review of head injuries.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton announced Tuesday that three of his subcommittees will partner on the review of head injuries in 2016. The review is intended to bring in partners from the medical community, the military, athletes, and other stakeholders to provide a broad overview of concussions.
“Unfortunately, there’s a lot we don’t know about head trauma—how it affects different subsets of the population, the short- and long-term effects, and other details critical to developing effective diagnostics and treatments,” Upton said. “Our goal is to bring together experts from across the medical spectrum to increase collaboration, have a thoughtful dialogue, and move the conversation forward.”
While Upton promised that the review will focus on the problem “well beyond the battlefield and the gridiron,” the project is sure to attract headlines because of its implications for the National Football League. The NFL is under increasing scrutiny for its treatment of concussions, with current and retired players charging that the league has not done enough to protect its players from the long-term effects of head injuries (the debate will hit movie theaters this week with the release of Concussion, starring Will Smith). The league settled a lawsuit with former players over head injuries this spring that could cost upwards of $900 million.