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The New Republic’s Jonathan Chait and Concussions

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I discussed concussions with TNR’s Jonathan Chait on yesterday’s show after Jonathan posted about the subject. The piece was titled “The Pro-Concussion backlash” and included the memorable line that “Texas has turned into the epicenter for the backlash against efforts to protect players from brain injuries.”

One of my law partners, Gary Wolensky, is one of the best-informed defense lawyers in the country on the subject of head injuries, and sent me this note:

I have read Jonathan Chait’s trash. I have been a defense attorney for more than 30 years and have represented several industries in their highest profile head and neck injury cases and have counseled these companies and industries on issues involving their product development and the impact on the risk of serious head and neck injuries. These industries include the automobile industry, amusement parks, consumer products and sporting goods companies. I have worked with helmet manufacturers, sporting goods associations, doctors, biomechanical and biomedical experts, and other researchers who are doing complex testing and analysis of the concussion issue. I can tell you that I have never worked with a company, team, organization or school district that hasn’t taken the issue of concussions, it’s diagnosis, treatment, and long term effects, and the potential improvement of safety equipment including football helmets, very, very, seriously. Over the past few years nobody put their heads in the sand. Companies, associations, consultants, and schools are trying to figure out what are the long term effects of repeated concussions? Congressional hearings are interesting but the fact of the matter is that the last thing this controversy needs is Congressional oversight. Let them fix the mess they made by passing the abomination known as the Consumer Product Safety Imrpovement Act.

Gary knows head-injuries and concussion science, but he doesn’t know that you will never see Jonathan write anything that would suggest American business is proactively addressing the issue of head safety and that Congress is in fact grandstanding.


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