Embattled National Football League chief medical advisor Elliot Pellman has retired from his position in a decision prompted by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. According to sources, Goodell wrote the decision was made in order to “demonstrate strong leadership” and because “players and fans need to trust in the league.”
Pellman, a rheumatologist, has been in the middle of the NFL’s concussion problem over the last few years, and helped create the league’s concussion policies as chair of the NFL’s Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee from 1994 to 2007 despite having little expertise in head trauma. He has been criticized for downplaying the effects of head trauma and the risks associated with concussions, and was accused of often allowing concussed players back into the game during his time as team doctor for the New York Jets. He was mentioned as unqualified for his position in the recent concussion lawsuit against the NFL which settled for $1 billion.
Goodell thanked Pellman for his 30 years of service in a statement, and said he will hire a full-time chief medical officer to serve the NFL. The search for the new position will be made by a panel of four experts in the field of head trauma. Goodell went on to say the new hire will provide NFL teams with the most updated information on concussions and will spearhead efficient research efforts on the part of the league.