The NFL has “taken advantage” of players by failing to be transparent about the risks of brain injury, Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis said today.
Bettis is currently in Israel with a delegation of 17 other former NFL stars put together by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. The group attended an “innovation expo” in Jerusalem yesterday and saw presentations by several companies, including a neuro-technology firm that hopes to help the league diagnose concussions.
After the presentation, Bettis shared his misgivings about the NFL’s approach to brain injuries with the Associated Press:
“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. 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.”
He went on to note that he had sustained multiple concussions during his 13-year professional career, adding that he felt that was typical: “I don’t think you’ll find many guys that had a long career, played 10-plus years, that didn’t have a concussion.”
Kraft’s company is an investor in the neuro-tech firm, ElMindA, which is not yet being used in the NFL though conversations are ongoing. He told the AP that he doesn’t think football “has ever been safer than it is now,” neglecting to discuss the space that leaves for the sport to be much safer still.