HOFER Jerome Bet­tis: NFL’S been cagey on con­cus­sions

Metro Canada (Ottawa) - - Special Report: Ottawa 2017 -

Hall of fame run­ning back Jerome Bet­tis says the NFL has taken ad­van­tage of its play­ers by not shar­ing with them all the in­for­ma­tion it had about the risk of con­cus­sions.

Af­ter view­ing an in­no­va­tion expo in Jerusalem that in­cluded a pre­sen­ta­tion from Elminda, an Is­raeli neuro-tech­nol­ogy com­pany that can help the NFL di­ag­nose con­cus­sions, Bet­tis said Mon­day that he was en­cour­aged by the progress but still per­plexed about the league’s trans­parency over the years.

“The prob­lem is we don’t know all the things the league is do­ing. For in­stance, work­ing with this com­pany here, you don’t know if they are work­ing with them closely to try to help solve the prob­lem,” Bet­tis said.

“You def­i­nitely feel as though you were taken ad­van­tage of in a way that you weren’t given that in­for­ma­tion, and you al­ways want to have the choice of know­ing, and when that is taken away from you, you feel you were taken ad­van­tage of.’’

Bet­tis, the NFL’S sixth all-time lead­ing rusher, said he suf­fered con­cus­sions dur­ing his 13-year ca­reer, adding, “I don’t think you’ll find many guys that had a long ca­reer, played 10-plus years, that didn’t have a con­cus­sion.”

Af­ter years of de­nials, the NFL even­tu­ally ac­knowl­edged the link be­tween re­peated blows to the head dur­ing foot­ball and chronic trau­matic en­cephalopa­thy, known as CTE. The is­sue also gar­nered wide at­ten­tion fol­low­ing the 2015 Will Smith film Con­cus­sion.

Just last week, the first two claims in the NFL’S bil­lion-dol­lar con­cus­sion set­tle­ment were an­nounced, with a to­tal of $9 mil­lion in ben­e­fits. In the law­suit the league was ac­cused of hid­ing what it knew about the link be­tween con­cus­sions and CTE, the de­gen­er­a­tive brain dis­ease that has been found in dozens of for­mer play­ers af­ter their deaths.

You de initely feel as though you were taken ad­van­tage of in a way that you weren’t given that in­for­ma­tion.

Jerome Bet­tis

GETTY IMAGES THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Jerome Bet­tis.

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