The Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (now the NCAA) is founded as a result of President Theodore Roosevelt’s efforts to reform safety standards in college athletics. Among its central tenets is the pledge to “protect young people from the dangerous and exploitive athletics practices of the time.”
The New England Journal of Medicine publishes a study of traumatic injuries in college sports. The study concludes that student-athletes who suffer three concussions should no longer be allowed to play body-contact sports.
In December, the American Medical Association (AMA) formally calls for a ban on boxing. An AMA study of active and retired boxers finds 87 percent show definite signs of brain damage.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman suffers a high-profile concussion during the NFC Championship Game. After the game, Aikman does not know where he is and has no recollection of playing. He plays in the Super Bowl a week later.
Former Pittsburgh Steeler Mike Webster dies of a suspected heart attack. His autopsy is conducted by forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu. Omalu diagnoses Webster with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), and three years later publishes a landmark paper on the subject.
The NFL’s Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee criticizes Bennet Omalu’s published findings and demands a retraction.
Washington State enacts the Zackery Lystedt Law, becoming the first state in the nation to enact a comprehensive youth sports concussion safety law.
The NCAA adopts a Concussion Management Policy that requires member schools to develop a concussion management plan for the 2010-2011 school year. However, the NCAA’s director of enforcement, Chris Strobel, acknowledges the organization has no intention of enforcing the policy.
The first concussion lawsuit is filed against the NFL (since consolidated). The NHL institutes a new concussion policy. The policy requires players with a suspected concussion to be examined by a physician in a quiet room.
The NCAA settles a class action lawsuit by creating a $70 million fund to diagnose potential brain trauma in thousands of current and former players. Football, ice hockey, soccer, basketball, wrestling, field hockey, and lacrosse are covered under the agreement.
The NFL brain bank reports 87 out of 91 examined former players have tested positive for CTE.