Neurologists to NFL: We're Here to Help

The National Football League will require teams to consult an independent neurologist or neurosurgeon to determine when it's safe for a player to return to play after a concussion, FOX Sports reported yesterday. The move comes in the wake of growing evidence that head injuries suffered on the field can lead to dementia and other problems later in life, as well as an embarrassing Congressional hearing last month in which one representative compared the NFL's denial of the link between head injuries and dementia to the tobacco industry's initial denial that smoking is harmful. (Perhaps more disconcerting, from the NFL's perspective, was the suggestion that the government might want to reexamine exemptions to antitrust laws granted to the league if it doesn't start taking the issue seriously).

The details of the new plan have not yet been announced, but the American Academy of Neurology issued a statement earlier today saying it was encouraged by the news and would welcome the opportunity to work with the league.