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House Judiciary Committee Hearing Calls Attention to Long-Term Effects of Head Injury Among NFL Players

WASHINGTON, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The House Judiciary Committee today called upon national experts and stakeholders in the fields of science and sport to better understand the effects of head injuries on players in the National Football League (NFL). Nationally recognized sports physician and neurosurgeon, Julian E. Bailes, M.D. was called to provide expert testimony based on decades of research detailing how repetitive head trauma on the field leads to long-term neurological damage among athletes.

"From the microscopic examination of brains of deceased athletes and the lives of retired NFL players, there is an overwhelming body of scientific evidence that shows an irrefutable link between head trauma in the sport of football and long-term brain disease," said Dr. Julian E. Bailes, Co-Founder of the Brain Injury Research Institute and Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at West Virginia University School of Medicine. "I'm here today because I love football and want to make the game safer."

In 2002, Dr. Bailes' colleague and Co-Founder of the Brain Injury Research Institute, Bennet Omalu, M.D., M.B.A., M.P.H., discovered the first physical signs of a condition known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a condition which occurs in people who have suffered multiple concussions and commonly manifests as dementia, declining mental ability, memory problems and Parkinsonism. They found an abnormal collection of Tau protein - commonly found in Alzheimer's patients - in the brain of NFL Hall of Famer Mike Webster.

"Having identified the underlying typology in CTE, our objective now is to target the abnormality and prevent the accumulation of abnormal Tau protein and to develop a therapeutic cure for this disease," said Dr. Omalu.

Since 2002, the Brain Injury Research Institute physicians have collectively examined over twenty brains, including former NFL players Mike Webster, Justin Strzelczyk, Terry Long, and Andre Waters. They have also examined and diagnosed CTE in WWE wrestler Chris Benoit - in a much-publicized tragic case.

"The Committee appreciated Dr. Bailes' participation in today's hearing," said John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. "Through his testimony, Dr. Bailes provided compelling scientific data about the lasting effects of head injuries on football players."

About the Brain Injury Research Institute

The Brain Injury Research Institute is a center for the study of traumatic brain injuries and prevention, which is affiliated with the Blanchette Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute at West Virginia University. The purpose of the Institute is to study the short and long-term impact of brain injuries in order to better understand the impact of concussions, the development of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and its psychosocial effects on peoples' lives. Research indicates a clear link between brain injuries and various debilitating neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

The founding members of the Brain Injury Research Institute include Julian E. Bailes, M.D., Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at West Virginia University School of Medicine and former NFL and current NCAA team physician, and Bennet Omalu, M.D., M.B.A., M.P.H., a forensic neuropathologist who is Chief Medical Examiner for San Joaquin County, California and a professor at the University of California at Davis. Robert P. Fitzsimmons, an attorney and expert in policy at Fitzsimmons Law Offices in Wheeling, WV, serves as the Institute's general counsel.

SOURCE Brain Injury Research Institute

SOURCE Brain Injury Research Institute
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