NFL medical advisor Dr. Elliot Pellman is retiring after reportedly being prompted to do so by commissioner Roger Goodell.
Goodell also announced the NFL will hire a full-time chief medical officer.
Pellman has worked with the league for 30 years, spending time with the New York Jets and the league itself. He is best known for his role in leading the NFL’s Mild Traumatic Brain Injury committee, which repeatedly denied the link between football, concussions and long-term brain damage. Pellman, who was chairman of the committee, is a rheumatologist and not an expert on the brain.
The NFL’s long–held stance that football does not cause brain trauma has been discredited by researchers at Boston University and elsewhere, and the league has been sued by a number of former players.
Goddell thanked Pellman for his service in a memo he sent to all 32 teams.
“As we add additional full-time medical resources to our team, it is important to recognize and express our gratitude to Dr. Elliot Pellman, who is retiring after nearly 30 years of service, first to the New York Jets and then to the NFL,” Goodell said. “We thank Dr. Pellman for his dedicated service to the game and for his many contributions to the NFL and our clubs, and appreciate his willingness to aid in this transition over the next few months.”
The new chief-medical officer will be tasked with coordinating health-related efforts with teams, the NFLPA and medical committees.