NFL senior vice president and chief security officer Jeffrey B. Miller admitted Monday that there's a link between chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and football during a roundtable discussion organized by the United States House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
Miller's statement marks the first time a senior NFL official has acknowledged the connection after the committee asked him whether there was an unequivocal link between the degenerative brain disease and football.
"The answer to that question is certainly yes," Miller said, according to ESPN's Steve Fainaru.
CTE can only be diagnosed after a person dies. Numerous former players have been found to have suffered from the disease, including Hall of Fame linebacker Junior Seau and tight end John Mackey.
Ann McKee, a Boston University neuropatholgist and leading expert on the relationship between CTE and the NFL, says there's an undoubted link between the disease and the game.
"I unequivocally think there's a link between playing football and CTE," McKee said. "We've seen it in 90 out of 94 NFL players whose brains we've examined, we've found it in 45 out of 55 college players and 26 out of 65 high school players. No, I don't think this represents how common this disease is in the living population, but the fact that over five years I've been able to accumulate this number of cases in football players, it cannot be rare. In fact, I think we are going to be surprised at how common it is."