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Panel of Sports Medicine and Management Experts Examine Ethical Conflicts When Treating Concussed Athletes

November 21, 2011

Solutions Needed to Keep Non-Health Factors from Hindering Appropriate Treatment

NEW YORK, NY, November 17, 2011 – Experts from NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies and NYU Langone Medical Center held a panel discussion on November 16, 2011 on the ethics of who is responsible for ensuring appropriate medical treatment of injured athletes– particularly focused on the diagnosis and care of head injuries and concussion. The issue is one of great concern for both professional and young athletes and a critical business and sustainability issue for sports leagues at all levels. In addition to tens of thousands of professional and amateur athletes, it is estimated that more than 40 million children in the U.S. play at least one sport. 21 percent of these young athletes say they have been pressured to play with an injury, according to the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation.  

Key takeaways from the evening include:

·         Understand the issues: A great deal has been learned about concussions in the last 10 years, but they are complex and can be difficult to diagnose. While medical, sports, and equipment experts are working to evolve technology, guidelines, and rules to keep contact and collision sports safe – equipment alone does not protect the brain from being jarred during contact.

·         Awareness is vital: The more players, trainers, coaches, parents, and sports organizers understand the real and often hidden dangers of head injuries, the more likely the right decisions will be made on the practice field, sideline, or locker room. Though the media and internet often are blamed for glorifying the violent side of sports – it has also played a key role in spotlighting the potential long-term dangers of head injuries.  Professional leagues, retired players, and other advocacy groups have also helped the medical community in the adoption of best practices and in supporting better awareness in youth and recreational programs.

·         Everyone is responsible: All panelists agreed – no matter what the age or level of play – when a potential injury to the brain is involved there is no gray area: athletes must be removed from play and receive appropriate medical attention, despite the desire of all athletes and many parents to continue playing.

Moderated by Arthur Miller, University Professor and Director of Public Dialogues at NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies (NYU-SCPS), the panel was hosted by the Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management at NYU-SCPS, the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center, and the Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation Network. The members of the panel included orthopaedic surgeons, professional team physicians, ethicists, former professional athletes, coaches, and members of the sports media, including

•       Robert Boland, JD, academic chair and clinical associate professor of sports management , NYU-SCPS Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management, sports lawyer, and former player agent

•       Arthur Caplan, PhD, the Emmanuel and Robert Hart Director of the Center for Bioethics, Sydney D. Caplan Professor of Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania

•       Dennis Cardone, DO, clinical associate professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, NYU Langone and co-director, Partners for Youth (PSAL)

•       Harry Carson, member, Professional Football Hall of Fame and 10-year captain of the New York Giants

•       Andrew Feldman, MD, clinical assistant professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, NYU Langone and team physician, New York Rangers Hockey

•       Steven Flanagan, MD, professor and chair, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at NYU Langone; medical director, Rusk Institute and board member, Brain Injury Association of NYS

•       Roy S. Johnson, columnist,; former editor and writer, Sports Illustrated; and former editor-in-chief, Men’s Health and Savoy

•       Claudette Lajam, MD, assistant professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, NYU Langone and team physician, USA Cycling

•       Dino Mangiero, head football coach, Poly Prep Country Day School, Brooklyn and veteran of six NFL seasons

•       Chris Nowinski, co-founder and president, Sports Legacy Institute; co-director of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University School of Medicine; and former professional wrestler, World Wrestling Entertainment

•       Ted Shaker, president, Mercury Media; former executive producer, CBS Sports and CNN/SI Network

•       Brendan Shanahan, senior vice president of player safety and hockey operations, National Hockey League; veteran of 22 NHL seasons

•       Gerard Varlotta, DO, clinical associate professor, Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine, NYU Langone and ringside physician, NYS Athletic Commission

•       Lesley Visser, sportscaster and member, Professional Football Hall of Fame

The discussion was held in front of several hundred medical, law and sports management students and local coaches. The panelists are available to comment further on the issues discussed and a video replay is available here:

Media Inquiries:                                                                               

About the NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies

Established in 1934, NYU-SCPS ( is one of NYU’s several degree-granting schools and colleges, each with a unique academic profile. The reputation of NYU-SCPS arises from its place as the NYU home for study and applied research related to key knowledge-based industries where the New York region leads globally. This is manifest in the School’s diverse graduate, undergraduate, and continuing education programs in fields such as Real Estate and Construction Management; Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management; Global Affairs; Philanthropy and Fundraising; Graphic Communications Media, Publishing, and Digital Arts; Human Capital Management, Marketing, and Public Relations; with complementary strengths in the Liberal and Allied Arts; Translation and Interpreting; Management and Information Technology; and Finance and Taxation. More than 100 distinguished full-time faculty members collaborate with an exceptional cadre of practitioner/adjunct faculty and lecturers to create vibrant professional and academic networks that attract nearly 5,000 degree-seeking students from around the globe. In addition, the School fulfills the recurrent continuing higher education needs of local and professional communities, as evidenced by 55,000 annual enrollments in individual courses, specialized certificate programs, conferences, workshops, seminars, and public events. The School’s community is enriched by more than 25,000 degree-holding alumni worldwide, many of whom serve as mentors, guest speakers, and advisory board members.

About NYU Langone Medical Center

NYU Langone Medical Center, a world-class patient-centered integrated academic medical center, is one of the nation’s premier centers for excellence in health care, biomedical research, and medical education. Located in the heart of Manhattan, NYU Langone is comprised of three hospitals – Tisch Hospital, a 705-bed acute-care tertiary facility, Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, the first rehabilitation hospital in the world, with 174 beds and extensive outpatient rehabilitation programs, and the 190-bed Hospital for Joint Diseases, one of only five hospitals in the world dedicated to orthopaedics and rheumatology – plus the NYU School of Medicine, one of the nation’s preeminent academic institutions.  For more information, visit

This Press Release is in the following Topics:
School of Professional Studies

Type: Press Release

Press Contact: Christopher James | (212) 998-6876

SCPS Panel of Experts Recently Examined Ethical Conflicts When Treating Concussed Athletes

Experts from NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies and NYU Langone Medical Center held a panel discussion on November 16, 2011 on the ethics of who is responsible for ensuring appropriate medical treatment of injured athletes– particularly focused on the diagnosis and care of head injuries and concussion.

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