Philadelphia Eagles tight end L.J. Smith grimaces on the field, as he holds his head after a hard hit by Atlanta Falcons' Lawyer Milloy during the fourth quarter of a football game Sunday, Oct. 26, 2008, in Philadelphia. Smith suffered a concussion and Milloy was flagged for an unnecessary roughness penalty on the play. Eagles won 27-14. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

(P1) Medical experts and National Football League (NFL) officials will gather with peers from other top global sports to discuss how to properly DIAGNOSE and treat player CONCUSSIONS.

(P2) Three dozen doctors and executives from rugby, hockey, soccer and athletics will meet in London at the NFL’s second annual professional sports concussion conference.

(P3) Concussions and head TRAUMA suffered by athletes remain a controversial topic, prompting many CONTACT SPORTS to change rules and adopt new PROTOCOLS to ensure a higher level of player safety.

(P4) The NFL in April settled a lawsuit brought by about 5,000 former players who accused it of COVERING UP the dangers of concussions in a deal that could cost the league $1 billion.

(P5) Some critics see the NFL-hosted London event as WINDOW DRESSING by the various sports bodies to protect their REVENUE STREAMS. Revenues at the NFL, the most-popular and powerful U.S. sports league, topped $12 billion last year.

(P6) But the co-chairman of the NFL’s head, neck and spine committee, Dr. Richard Ellenbogen, said the conference is meant to help fill in gaps in an area of medicine where a lot about concussions remains unknown.

(P7) Fifteen different organizations will be represented in London, including the world soccer governing body FIFA, Australian Rules Football, World Rugby, the Canadian Football League and the International Federation for EQUESTRIAN SPORTS.

(P8) Also sending officials are the U.S. Olympic Committee, the National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

(P9) Some critics said the NFL conference is an attempt to shape how the public views an issue that is still UNFOLDING.

(P10) “What they’re attempting to do is create a body of opinion and body of literature that tells the public that these concussions are MANAGEABLE problems,” said Michael Kaplen, an attorney specializing in TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURIES who teaches at George Washington Law School, and a long-time critic of the NFL’s science around the subject.

(P11) Jeff Miller, the NFL’s senior vice president of health and safety policy, said player safety is a top priority for the NFL, pointing to 39 rules changes over the past decade related to player safety and a 34 percent decline in concussions in the league over the last three years. The NFL has awarded more than $135 million in grants over the same period related to research on player safety.

(P12) The league and plaintiffs in the lawsuit agreed that based on ACTUARIAL statistics, up to 30 percent of former players could develop brain conditions such as ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE or a less DEBILITATING form of DEMENTIA.

(P13) Most sports leagues have been CAUGHT FLAT-FOOTED by the concussion issue, said Ohio University sports business professor Robert Boland.

(P14) In addition to the NFL, lawsuits have been filed in recent years against FIFA, the NHL and the NCAA. Even on the youth level the issue has gained prominence.

(P15) U.S. President Barack Obama and National Basketball Association all-star LeBron James are among those who have said they would not allow their children to play football due to the dangers from head trauma.

(P16) Several SUICIDES by former NFL players, including Hall of Fame linebacker Junior Seau in 2012, have GARNERED public attention. Last month, a study released by the Concussion Legacy Foundation found that 87 out of 91 former NFL players who donated their brains for research were diagnosed with a disease, CTE, linked to concussions and head trauma.

WORDS: 559



If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. The science increasingly suggests that the only way to make American football safe is not to play it. What do you think the future of American football will be?
  3. Would you allow your child to play a contact sport in which head injuries are common?
  4. Have you ever suffered any kind of sports injury yourself?
  5. Sports fandom in the U.S. and around the world seems more intense than ever. Why is this true?


What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Contact sport
  • Cover up
  • Window dressing
  • Revenue stream
  • Caught flat-footed

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