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ESPN’s concussion coverage extends many years and continues to break ground on the subject

ESPN’s reporting on the effects of concussions on athletes goes back several years and was on display as recently as Tuesday when Outside the Lines re-aired its Sunday piece on Dr. Elliott Pellman, the former New York Jets team doctor who has been a central figure in the NFL’s concussion crisis. It was reported for OTL by Steve Fainaru and John Barr.

Here, is a partial compilation of some of the reporting ESPN has done – and will continue to do – cross-platform:

ESPN The Magazine

June 26, 2013: People Have a Hard Time Believing I’d Do it All Again By Tim Keown
A profile of former NFL special teamer Steve Hendrickson, who is in his late 40s and suffering from memory loss and symptoms of head trauma. Hendrickson was a high school star in Napa, where Keown grew up and played football as well. Through Hendrickson’s story, they both examine the value of letting their high-school aged kids play the game.

Aug. 26, 2012: Concussion test may not be panacea By Peter Keating
Concussions have become big business in the football world. With 1,700 players in the NFL, 66,000 in the college game, 1.1 million in high school and 250,000 more in Pop Warner, athletes and families across the country are eager to find ways to cut the risks of brain injury, whose terrifying consequences regularly tear across the sports pages.

Jan. 6, 2011: Coming to a Head By Peter Keating
Examination of the competition set off when the NFL finally turned its attention to preventing and treating concussions that led to rival concussion research groups using questionable means to procure recently-deceased NFL players’ brains as quickly as possible.

Sidebars included: preventive supplements; helmet review; proposed legislation; parental roles; player advocacy and future on-field diagnostics. (Contributing reporting from Shaun Assael and Amanda Angel)

Nov. 6, 2006: Doctor Yes By Peter Keating
An earlier look at Dr. Elliot Pellman, the chairman of the NFL’s Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee, exposing his dubious research and behavior. Pellman’s MTBI Committee supported NFL concussion policies that contradicted expert medical guidelines. The investigative profile led to Pellman being dismissed from chairing the MTBI Committee.

Outside the Lines (Features ran on TV and/or

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Aug. 18, 2013: Doctor’s Orders
This week’s look (video above) at Dr. Elliot Pellman, former Jets team doctor and long-time head of the NFL’s committee on head injuries. Pellman finds himself as a lightning rod in the federal lawsuit against the NFL filed on behalf of more than 4,400 former players. John Barr shares new details about Pellman’s personal relationship with key NFL executives, how the medicine he practiced on NFL Sundays mirrored what he put in print as a researcher, and why his latest role with the league is questioned by some. Barr also interviewed former NFL player, Kyle Brady.

April 29, 2013: Mind Control: How multiple research groups and the NFL battled over Junior Seau’s brain to lead the science of concussions

Jan. 27, 2013: Three to Remember
Former NFL running back Leroy Hoard says he thinks of three men nearly every day: Andre Waters, Dave Duerson and Junior Seau. Three former NFL players who each suffered from brain trauma caused by repeated blows to the head. Three men who each turned a gun on himself, and took his own life.

Dec. 12, 2012: NFL concussion reports remain inconsistent

Dec. 3, 2012: Brain Study
As the NFL continues to tackle the concussion issue amid federal lawsuits by thousands of former players, a new study from the medical journal “Brain” more than doubles the number of documented cases connecting football to long-term brain disease. Researchers at Boston University identified Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a disease that has been linked to depression, dementia and suicide, in 33 of 34 brains of deceased NFL players.

Nov. 16, 2012: Mixed messages on brain injuries

Aug. 29, 2012: Football at a Crossroads: Series ran Aug. 26-30, and included: Safe Youth Football?
ESPN’s cross-platform series, “Football at a Crossroads,” examined health issues surrounding football at all levels of the sport, from youth football, high school and college football, through semipro and professional football.

March 24/ March 27, 2009: Female Athletes and Concussions
Peter Keating reported on how female athletes recover more slowly than men, putting them at greater risk for permanent damage because they’re just as eager as men to get back on the court and onto the field. Aired on OTL, and as part of “Women’s History Month” special. Also appeared on Good Morning America

Nov. 3, 2007: High school concussions

Aug. 12, 2007: Brain Chasers

June 15, 2007: NFL and Depression

March 10, 2007: NFL Concussion Concerns

Feb. 11, 2007: Denied Disability

Jan. 18, 2007: Andre Waters

Nov. 7, 2006: High School Football Concussions: Second Impact Syndrome

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