New NFL committee chairman Dr. Nicholas Theodore co-authored 2016 paper calling for more research on CTE, football link

Orthopedic Sports Medicine

The newly appointed chairman of NFL's head, neck and spine committee, highlighted the need for additional research on the connection between Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy and football players in 2016, The Chicago Tribune reports.

Here are five things to know.

1. Nicholas Theodore, MD, director of the Johns Hopkins Neurosurgical Spine Center, co-authored an article titled, "Football and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy: How Much Evidence Actually Exists?" World Neurosurgery published it in 2016.

2. Dr. Theodore and his co-author Karam Moon, MD, of Phoenix-based Arizona Neurosurgery and Spine Specialists, investigated evidence linking CTE to football. They did not say whether or not enough evidence existed, but did mention shortcomings in studies. They recommended further research and analysis of other variables, like opioid use.

3. The paper came out on the heels of Jeff Miller, NFL executive vice president of health and safety, admitting there was a connection between football and CTE to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee.

4. On April 19, 2018, Dr. Theodore said the paper was nothing more than a "basic, informative article for practicing neurosurgeons, just a few references as a cursory overview on the topic." He agreed a connection between traumatic brain injury, which impacts many football players, and CTE exists.

5. NFL CMO Allen Sills, MD, said he viewed the 2016 article as a call for more research on the CTE and football connection as opposed to questioning whether CTE exists.



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