The NFL has favored league-connected doctors with its concussion research funding over the past two years, reports ESPN’s Outside the Lines.
Though the league has committed more than $100 million to brain injury studies and research, the report indicates the league has played favorites in the process. In the past two years, the league has awarded nearly $4 million to research projects with connections to its own Head, Neck and Spine Committee.
The findings raise questions regarding the independence of the work and whether the money—and the league’s business interests—have influenced any of the findings, leaving truly independent researchers at a disadvantage and potentially clouding the truth about the football–brain disease relationship.
In one instance, Head, Neck and Spine Committee chairman Dr. Richard Ellenbogen reportedly applied for a $16 million research project, and after his proposal did not receive the grant money, he used his influence to challenge the decision in a conference call. One researcher told ESPN that his presence on the call as both applicant and NFL adviser “undermine[d] the integrity of the entire peer-review process.”
For the entire report, which includes other findings with regard to the league’s scientific project funding, click here.