Goodell said the findings underscore the need for additional research into CTE and he noted that NFL teams have given a $30 million research grant to the NIH and are committed to spending $70 million more on heath research, as specified in its collective bargaining agreement with the players.
“It’s why we’re investing in the research is to find out more about it, CTE, in particular, but also brain injury and brain disease. And we need to have a lot more research because there’s still unfortunately a lot of unknowns,” Goodell said.
The hard-hitting linebacker played for 20 seasons with San Diego, Miami and New England before retiring in 2009. He died at age 43 of a self-inflicted gunshot in May, and his family requested the analysis of his brain.
Seau joins a list of several dozen football players who were found to have CTE. Boston University’s center for study of the disease reported last month that 34 former pro players and nine who played only college football suffered from CTE.
The NFL faces lawsuits by thousands of former players who say the league withheld information on the harmful effects of concussions. According to an AP review of 175 lawsuits, 3,818 players have sued. At least 26 Hall of Famer members are among the players who have done so.
Goodell noted that his top priority as commissioner is to reduce head trauma in the game.
“We haven’t waited for the research. We’ve been making changes for the game, making rule changes, making equipment changes,” he said. “Medicine has a ways to go. We need to fund more research. We have that in our collective bargaining agreement, to have $100 million worth of research. We’ve funded $30 million to the NIH last fall, so that research is under way and I think that will be beneficial in treatment and also in what we can do in continuing to make not just football safer but every other sport.”
On other topics, Goodell said:
_he hasn’t made a decision on when to reinstate New Orleans Saints coach Sean Peyton, who was suspended last season because of the team’s bounty scandal.
_he hasn’t made up his mind on where he stands on the expansion of playoffs but wants to make sure any change in the format wouldn’t dilute the importance of the regular-season games.
Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton