Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) was elected to Congress in 1998 and is serving her ninth term. With the NFL and its concussion epidemic in her sights, she wasn’t going to ignore the big question. At a congressional hearing Monday, Schakowski targeted Jeff Miller, the NFL’s Executive Vice President of Health and Player Safety. The congresswoman launched a simple, direct and loaded inquiry that left the NFL no wiggle room. Schakowsky wanted to know if there was “a link between football and degenerative brain disorders like C.T.E.” Miller, on the spot, replied: “The answer to that is certainly, yes.”
The NFL — which has settled complaints with some former players — hasn’t been willing to acknowledge this link so directly in the past, usually saying there is still research that needs to be done. Schakowsky was admittedly tired of the NFL’s dodge. The congresswoman comes by her concern from long experience with those potentially at-risk because of the facts are obscured: she is the mother of three and grandmother to six children. Schakowski has a special interest in seeing that no information is withheld from parents and kids trying to make an educated decision about playing football. She has always held an interest in young developing brains and the influences on them — positive and negative. Schakowsky’s degree from the University of Illinois is a B.S. in Elementary Education.