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The New ‘League of Denial’

2016 July 29

Taking a page from the industry’s playbook, the NHL now appears to be the new “League of Denial.” In a 24-page missive, filed in reply to Senator Blumenthal’s letter, Gary Bettman and the NHL made clear that they believe CTE is bogus. Not only that, Bettman hedged his bets and asserted that warning about CTE is dangerous and can lead to suicide. Seriously:

To be clear, the NHL and NHLPA’s position is that a “warning” about CTE is, at best, premature and also potentially dangerous (as discussed further below). […]

This, sadly, is precisely the type of tragedy that can result when plaintiffs’ lawyers and their media consultants jump ahead of the medical community and assert, without reliable scientific support, that there is a causal link between concussions and CTE.

The medical community was appalled, and so am I. I was recently quoted in The Globe and Mail,

“I think his letter is outrageous,” said Paul D. Anderson, a Kansas City lawyer who has represented many former NFL players in concussion lawsuits and runs “Frankly, I’m shocked that it was even published. It does a terrible disservice from a public-health perspective.”

I also joined Naylor & Landsberg to discuss my outrage:

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