Steelers' Jerome Bettis feels 'taken advantage of' by NFL's concussion behavior
JERUSALEM — Hall of Fame running back Jerome Bettis said the NFL has taken advantage of its players by not sharing with them all the information it had about the risk of concussions.
After viewing an innovation expo in Jerusalem that included a presentation from ElMindA, an Israeli neuro-technology company that can help the NFL diagnose concussions, Bettis said Monday he was encouraged by the progress but still perplexed about how transparent the league has been over the years.
“The problem is we don't necessarily know all the things the league is doing. For instance, working with this company here, you don't know if they are working with them closely to try to help solve the problem,” Bettis said. “You definitely feel as though you were taken advantage of in a way that you weren't given that information, and you always want to have the choice of knowing, and when that is taken away from you, you feel as though you were taken advantage of.”
Bettis, the NFL's sixth all-time leading rusher, said he suffered concussions during his 13-year career, adding, “I don't think you'll find many guys that had a long career, played 10-plus years, that didn't have a concussion.”
After years of denials, the NFL eventually acknowledged the link between repeated blows to the head during football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, known as CTE.
Bettis is one of 18 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame who is in Israel for a weeklong visit organized by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. In addition to boosting the fledgling local game, the delegation is touring religious and historical sites, meeting prominent officials and learning about the country's vibrant technology sector.
The delegation, which includes Joe Montana, Jim Brown, Roger Staubach and Mike Singletary, received presentations from 10 companies at the expo. ElMindA, which is at the forefront of the concussion research and has developed a system based on a database of electrophysiological brain recordings that provide personalized functional cognitive mapping, was clearly most relevant to the audience.