NFL health EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – JANUARY 08: A detail of the official National Football League NFL logo is seen painted on the turf as the New York Giants host the Atlanta Falcons during their NFC Wild Card Playoff game at MetLife Stadium on January 8, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

A day after seeing one notable NFL doctor allegedly nudged into retirement, word is out a second NFL health adviser is now under investigation for allegedly trying to influence a government study on football and brain disease, according to a report from ESPN on Thursday.

Dr. Richard Ellenbogen, a co-chairman of the National Football League’s Head, Neck, and Spine Committee is under investigation by the University of Washington, where he serves as the Department of Neurological Surgery chairman. Ellenbogen and Dr. Elliott Pellman are each accused of putting pressure on the National Institute of Health to influence report details of a multi-year CTE study. Ellenbogen has previously denied any role in influencing report details.

“This is a very big deal, very significant, something [Dr. Ellenbogen] should not have done,” said Hastings Center president emeritus (non-profit bioethics research institution) Tom Murray. “But within the scientific community, is his reputation going to suffer? Very likely.”

The NFL has acknowledged to EPSN it is aware of the investigation at the University of Washington and has provided no further comment on the news.

Given the hits the NFL has taken regarding CTE awareness, it stands to reason the NFL should be paying very close attention to this investigation and, should the need arise, respond accordingly once the findings are revealed in a swift fashion. The last thing the NFL can do is associate itself with any doctor with a stigma for operating on behalf of or influenced by the league’s desires that avoid confronting any health risk to its players.

Pellman stepped into retirement yesterday, with the belief being NFL commissioner Roger Goodell insisted Pellman retire immediately.


About Kevin McGuire

Contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Previously contributed to Host of the Locked On Nittany Lions Podcast. FWAA member and Philadelphia-area resident.