Jerry Jones: Need more data before linking CTE, football

A week after a top NFL official acknowledged for the first time a link between CTE and football, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he is not convinced that the data shows there is a connection.

Jeff Miller, the NFL's senior vice president for health and safety, was asked March 14 by Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., if the link between football and neurodegenerative diseases such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy has been established.

"The answer to that question is certainly yes," said Miller, who was attending a roundtable discussion of concussions in Washington.

Jones, speaking at the NFL owners meetings Tuesday in Boca Raton, Florida, said that while he is very supportive of efforts to make the sport safer, he wanted to caution against drawing conclusions from the data now available.

"We don't have that knowledge and background, and scientifically, so there's no way in the world to say you have a relationship relative to anything here," Jones said, according to the Washington Post. "There's no research. There's no data. ... We're not disagreeing. We're just basically saying the same thing. We're doing a lot more. It's the kind of thing that you want to work ... to prevent injury."

Pushed on whether he believes there is a link between CTE and playing football, Jones responded, "No, that's absurd. There's no data that in any way creates a knowledge. There's no way that you could have made a comment that there is an association and some type of assertion. In most things, you have to back it up by studies. And in this particular case, we all know how medicine is. Medicine is evolving. I grew up being told that aspirin was not good. I'm told that one a day is good for you. ... I'm saying that changed over the years as we've had more research and knowledge.

"So we are very supportive of the research. ... We have for years been involved in trying to make it safer, safer as it pertains to head injury. We have millions of people that have played this game, have millions of people that are at various ages right now that have no issues at all. None at all. So that's where we are. That didn't alter at all what we're doing about it. We're gonna do everything we can to understand it better and make it safer."

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