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Doctors Have Ethical Duty to Protect Athletes from Concussions: Paper

Every year, there are up to 4 million sports-related concussions in America. The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) released a new position papertoday outlining doctors’ ethical duties in protecting athletes from these injuries—and maintains that physicians’ obligation to keep patients safe sometimes trumps patient autonomy.

The paper, published in the online edition of the journal Neurology, coincides with the Sports Concussion Conference from July 11 to July 13, during which the academy will discuss advents in concussion diagnostics and treatments. The statement’s publication also comes several days after a federal judge issued preliminary approval of a settlement between theNational Football League and approximately 4,500 former players, who have claimed concussion-related injuries, including debilitating conditions such as Lou Gehrig’s disease, as well as early-onset Alzheimer’s and dementia, among others. According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures cited by the academy, the vast majority of sports concussions are football-related.

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