If the players are serious about understanding the impact of repeated brain injury, as I suspect as least some of them are, then they should take a lesson from State Attorney General's from across the country when they sued the tobacco companies and insist on disclosure. Disclosure has been a part of many settlements with the tobacco industry in which the tobacco companies have agreed to make their internal documents available to anyone, including researchers in a broad array of fields such as chemistry, biology, marketing, economics, and political science. These documents have allowed these scientists to learn not only about the behavior of the companies, but gain a greater understanding of the broader health and policy issues related to tobacco.
The deal for the players should actually require a lot less from the NFL than these settlements required of the tobacco companies. Instead of forcing the disclosure of previously secret memos and financial information, the players should request the collection and disclosure of new information. In exchange for the 18 game regular season, players should request the following three items:
- Brain scans at the begining and end of the season for every NFL player.
- Insertion of a chip into every player's helmet that tracks the impact that the player's brain is exposed to both on a play by play basis and on a cumulative basis.
- Disclosure at the end of the season of all the data (anonymized) to any and all interested parties.