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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is our nation’s premier public health agency. It’s also one of my most trusted sources of health information. I look to the CDC to get facts I can trust on everything from childhood vaccinations to safe drinking water. But I’ve become concerned about whether its information on sports-related concussions is fully independent from influence by the sports industry.

The CDC sometimes turns to outside organizations such as the National Cancer Institute or the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help out with its research and education programs. These partnerships generally result in effective collaborations to advance the public’s health.


An undependable partner can cast a shadow over the CDC’s otherwise superb public health efforts. Based on a study I recently co-authored in the journal Injury Prevention with public health ethicist and lawyer Daniel Goldberg, I’ve concluded that the NFL is one such unreliable partner. In reviewing the NFL’s concussion-related research and education programs, our analysis found that the NFL’s private agenda isn’t compatible with public health objectives.

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