The study authors acknowledged that phone surveys aren't a foolproof scientific method to determine rates of diagnosed dementia.
Dr. Daniel P. Perl, director of neuropathology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, told the Times that he considered the new survey significant. "I think this complements what others have found -- there appears to be a problem with cognition in a group of NFL football players at a relatively young age," he said.
Greg Aiello, a spokesman for the National Football League, said the numbers of former players reporting dementia "aren't large in terms of the overall population."
Aiello also said that a phone survey "is not necessarily reliable. It's self-reporting and in the case of some, the wife was answering, because the guy wasn't in great shape."
"It warrants further research, and that's what we are doing and what we will continue to do," he said, adding, "We have done everything to reduce and properly manage concussion with our players, from rule changes to guidelines on how to manage concussions. It's not like we're minimizing anything here."
Sean Morey, an Arizona Cardinals player who has pushed for research into brain injuries, told the Times: "This is about more than us -- it's about the high school kid in 2011 who might not die on the field because he ignored the risks of concussions."
Dr. Halinder S. Mangat, an assistant professor of clinical neurology at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine, said: "There are studies in children, which show that at a young age, if you have a concussion or repeated concussion, when they grow up they do have some cognitive impairment."
"This applies to football players," Mangat said, "because the first time they have contact is not when they come into the NFL. It's a career track, so players started playing when they were very young," he said, adding that concussions have a cumu
All rights reserved