Football head injury hearing gets testy

A hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday regarding severe head injuries in the pro football got testy this morning.

Committee chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) asked National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell if there was a link between head injuries in players and the contraction of future brain conditions such as dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and clinical depression.

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Goodell danced around the question, responding that "we want to make sure our game is safe. that's why we have engaged aggressively in making changes to our game," citing rule changes and educational efforts to teach players and staff about head trauma.

Conyers was not pleased. 

"You've testified to that, but I just asked you a simple question. what's the answer?" he asked. 

"The answer is the medical experts are no better than I would with respect to that," Goodell responded.

Again displeased, Conyers said "Alright, Ok, I've heard it."

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), whose husband played in the NFL, also engaged in a heated conversation with Goodell. At one point she said the NFL's antitrust exemption should be removed after she expressed dissatisfaction with one of his answers. 

During the  hearing, Conyers pushed for an independent review of head trauma in the league. Ranking member Lamar Smith (R-Texas), along with other Republicans, questioned the purpose of the hearing. "The NFL does not need Congress to referee this issue," he said.

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