Goodell, Smith will testify at hearing on head injuries among players

WASHINGTON -- NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith will both testify at a Congressional hearing on head injuries among NFL players.

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House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr., D-Mich., said Friday that the committee will hold its hearing Oct. 28. Conyers announced the committee's intention to hold the hearings on legal issues relating to football head injuries Oct. 2.

"The committee expects to hear from medical experts, former players, and others about the prevalence of these injuries and the conditions which may have contributed to their lasting effects at the professional and amateur levels," Conyers said in a statement.

The hearings will look at the lasting impact of head injuries, how to limit them and how to compensate players and their families.

The decision to hold the hearings follows a preliminary study done for the NFL which suggested retired pro football players may have a higher rate than normal of Alzheimer's disease or other memory problems. The study, which has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal, was done at the University of Michigan.

The results show the topic is worth further study, but they do not prove a link between playing American football and later mental troubles, said lead author David Weir.

"We testified before the committee two years ago on retired player benefits and look forward to further discussing these important matters and reviewing the work we have done to reduce and properly manage concussions and assist our retired players," NLF spokesman Greg Aiello said in a statement.

The NFLPA has formed a committee to address the issue of head trauma among players, which will address diagnosis, treatment and prevention of concussions and brain injuries in active players and the long-term cumulative effects of isolated or repetitive traumatic brain injuries in NFL players as patients.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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