Is It Just an NFL Crisis?

19 December 2013

An update from ABC This Week on Football’s Concussion Crisis – with a Who’s Who guest list:

 

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While we’ve been vehemently opposed to Ron Mix on his stance to promote the proposed NFL Films Settlement offer as one of the named Plaintiffs, we’ve also worked with Ron to inform retired players of the impending changes to California Workers Compensation rules. It looks like Bill AB-1309 will go into effect after Sept. 15, 2013, blocking any future claims from being filed. You can watch Ron’s overview from our Football Veterans Conference in Las Vegas this past May by clicking HERE.
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And here’s the video with Ron’s discussion on Workers Comp:
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With Bill 1309 scheduled for a final vote in California, Workers Compensation rules will be changing drastically to block most retired professional athletes from applying in California. Of course, the NFL is one of the groups lobbying strongly to have your rights limited once again. Retired NFL football player and Workers Comp attorney, Ron Mix, recently sent out a letter and form to me outlining the main points of the new Bill as well as giving retired players an opportunity to file their applications for potential Workers Compensation benefits before your right to file disappears.
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NOTE: This is not a solicitation by or on behalf of Ron Mix. This is a general notification to all retired players who may still qualify to file for their earned Workers Compensation benefits. You can also consult another attorney should you choose not to engage Ron. But retired players need to act fast before the window closes before Sept. 15th!
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Ron Mix told me that his office is already backed up with filings so he was gracious enough to provide the phone numbers of several other attorneys who may be able to help you get your initial claim filed on time:

  • Mel Owens (949) 452-0700
  • Matt Hill (949) 572-3203
  • Dennis Thomas (714) 843-1110
  • Ron Mix (619) 688-9630 (we’re including Ron’s number anyway)

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Our phone lines and Inboxes have been tied up since last Thursday when it was first announced that there was a tentative settlement offer being presented to the court by the mediator in the NFL concussion lawsuits. On first review, there are some details that haven’t really been made available yet and this spin is also starting to look very familiar. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of speculation and misinformation out there already pouring out of the media and we’re just as guilty with trying to second-guess much of what’s been said. But we’ve had some conversations with many of the retired players and lawyers in an attempt to get more facts as well as to calm things down.
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Something that’s interesting to note: All the media – especially the mainstream sports media with the likes of ESPN which axed its ties to the League of Denial documentary with PBS – have been posting opinion pieces and misinformation about this settlement proposal. Most of the people directly involved with the litigation have informed us that they have very few details yet. The only party in this whole mess who have NOT said anything is… You guessed it. The League. Is this another typical NFL pit-everyone-against-each-other maneuver? Hmmm. And if you do want some real gossip, check out this piece on who may have been part of the negotiations: Click HERE.
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George Visger asked us to post his thoughts here online as part of a better strategy for everyone: The best answer is, “We don’t have all the facts yet. Let’s just wait and see.”
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George VisgerI owe Jason Luckasevic a HUGE apology.
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JASON, I APOLOGIZE FOR MY COMMENTS I E-MAILED YESTERDAY.
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I will follow up by sending this to everyone I emailed my displeasure at the settlement to.
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Again, I apologize.
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I know you have been in this battle for the last 6 years. You told me years ago, prior to it even being filed, you were in it for the long run. I remember meeting with you and an attorney from a big bad firm that was involved in the settlement with Big Tobacco. You were looking to team with them as no law firm has the resources to take on the NFL conglomerate alone.
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After months of review, one law firm after another turned tail and ran. You called me that day to state, “George, we will get this done for all the families who have suffered. We’ll find lawyers with enough backbone and integrity to go after these NFL with us.”
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As soon as I heard the announcement Thursday of the NFL’s proposed settlement in the NFL head injury case, I fell for the NFL’s propaganda. When I read stories about the amount and payment schedule over 20 years, I was livid.
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“What is this garbage?” I thought. “$750 a month paid out over 20 years?!!”
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As I have a tendency to do, I jumped the gun. I fired off upset before I had any of the facts – other than the “facts” we were fed which were only partial truths. It may be more propaganda from the NFL as a last ditch, Hail Mary attempt to divide us once again. The truth of the matter is that  Jason Luckasevic and the other key attorneys involved still don’t know the details yet: Exact amounts, who gets what or how it will all be divided or the process of rejecting this proposal.
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You stated you need to make sure it’s even real money and you need more time to sort out the facts.
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I believe you and I hope all my NFL brothers I may have fired up (and some who got me fired up) will also do the same.
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Jason Luckasevic is the ONLY attorney who has been involved from the inception of this case when it was only a “potential” case. Others have joined the fray and may be making more noise than Jason but that’s been all right with him as it is with me.
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You did more than what you promised me years ago. You said, “I can’t promise you anything or even if we will ever get a suit out of this, but I promise you we will do everything in our power to get it done if there’s any possibility at all.”
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Thanks for keeping your word. And again I apologize for ever doubting your integrity.
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My family thanks you too.
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George Visger
San Francisco 49ers
1980 & 1981
Super Bowl XVI
Survivor of 9 NFL-Caused brain surgeries
Benefactor of ZERO NFL Benefits
The Visger Group
Traumatic Brain Injury Consulting
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I spoke to Jason and other parties involved in the suit this morning. Some of the terms have not even been worked out and when they do, we will all have a say in it. The final settlement must be approved by the players and attorneys. If we don’t like the settlement we don’t approve it. It’s that simple.
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PS: My actions and statements are classic examples of what those of us who suffer from Traumatic Brain Injuries and CTE face.

  • Poor Judgement
  • Lack of Impulse control
  • And Anger Management Issues

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BREAKING: From the Associated Press and just released on FOX Sports:
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FOX Sports

NFL, players reach proposed $765M settlement of concussion-related lawsuits

Published August 29, 2013
Associated Press
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PHILADELPHIA – The NFL and more than 4,500 former players want to resolve concussion-related lawsuits with a $765 million settlement that would fund medical exams, concussion-related compensation and medical research, a federal judge said Thursday.
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The plaintiffs include at least 10 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including former Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett. They also include Super Bowl-winning quarterback Jim McMahon and the family of Pro Bowl linebacker Junior Seau, who committed suicide last year.
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EDITOR’S NOTE: In his usual detailed manner, Evan Weiner takes a very interesting look at ESPN and its long-standing business relationship with the NFL over the years and how it resulted in ESPN’s withdrawal from their partnership with PBS Frontline. The League of Denial documentary on football concussions is now front and center in the media – not exactly what they expected when they made that decision to pull out. Posted with the express consent of Evan Weiner:
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ESPN’s Football Faux Pas, NFL Concussions League of Denial
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By Evan Weiner
August 29, 2013
SportsTalkFlorida
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Goodell_WhaaaMake no mistake; the Walt Disney Company’s ESPN cable TV networks are not set up to be journalism bastions. There were two stories recently reported in the New York Times which clearly illustrated what ESPN is all about. Disney’s sports franchise pulled out of a partnership with PBS’s Frontline to produce a two-part series on head injuries suffered by NFL players. The New York Times reported that the National Football League pressured the very company that pays them billions of dollars to get out of the “League of Denial” presentation. The New York Times on Monday carried a piece on the paper’s front page about the ESPN partnership with the University of Louisville and how the company has been a critical component of the rise of the school’s football program.
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Why?

28 August 2013

We’re quickly approaching the deadline for Opting Out of the NFL Films Settlement offer deadline this Friday and we can’t help but think about all the different “Whys?” that keep coming up in our Comments Section as more and more retired players continue to Opt Out. In past posts, we’ve often compared the NFL to that creepy little neighborhood kid who used to come over to your house to play Monopoly. He never liked to lose and he always cheated and made up his own rules as he went along.
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NFL monopoly
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NFL Déja Vu

30 July 2013

Einstein Quote

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I received my latest Retirement Plan notification today that the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan was underfunded once again. All pension plans are required by federal law to inform its beneficiaries about such events or else most of us would never even know about these things going on in a $10 billion a year business. I guess that’s why they pay Roger Goodell $35 million+ a year while DeMaurice Smith managed to collect a $3 million bonus a couple of years ago for the fine job he did in negotiating the 10-year CBA.
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And here we are being told by the NFL and their lawyer buddies that their $50 million Settlement Offer in the Dryer vs NFL Films lawsuit is absolutely the best deal they can possibly make even though most – or none – of that money will ever reach retired players hands. They can’t even fund retirement players’ current pension and disability plans and now they want you to get nothing for your images and footage from your role in past games.
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Here’s the interesting thing: I had forgotten that we also got a similar notice last year in July! In other words, our pension plan has basically been underfunded since the CBA was signed over two years ago! We’ve uploaded both notices on Scribd for easy viewing on our Blog and to make it available for downloading and printing, especially to those of you who may not even be on their mailing list. You can also click the Enlarge icon in the lower right corner of the menu at the bottom of the viewing screen to go Full Screen for easier reading (just hit the ESC key to close):
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[yop_poll id="2"]
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Cheaties
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Is it just us or do these people at the NFL (and the NFLPA) always live by a completely different set of rules that only apply to them? We’ve had every dirty trick in the book thrown at us with all kinds of veiled threats and inferences of wrongdoing for expressing the opinions of the many. And in each instance, we’ve been backed up by those who know better. And we’re still here thanks to the broad support of the retired player community out there.

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Gregg B Surgery
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OK. Got your attention now? That guy with all the staples on the back of his head is… me. This picture was taken four years ago in 2009 after I finally came out of a 3-week coma. During that coma, I went in and out of consciousness but still remember nothing to this day. At one point, the doctors made a quick decision to operate which probably saved my life. Not many of my old football buddies know about this life-changing event in my life. But I’ve decided to tell everyone about it now for several reasons. Mostly, it’s because like some of the earlier posts have been saying, I’M MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE! And whether you want to believe it or not, everything that happens in life is connected in one way or another. I hope that by telling my own story, I can convince more of you retired players that the Dryer vs NFL (Films) Settlement offer is a really bad deal in more ways than one and that each of you needs to get off the couch and at the very least, vote against it here on Dave’s Blog. And then either Opt Out yourself or hire a decent attorney to fill out the paperwork for you. If you end up not doing anything and losing your rights, that might not be the only thing you’ll end up losing.
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Posted with the express consent of Evan Weiner:
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THE BUSINESS AND POLITICS OF SPORTS
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BY EVAN WEINER
COMMENTARY
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The NFL job audition includes making the “suicide squad” rather than the special teams squad
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May 11, 2013
Examiner
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LIFE Suicide Squad Cover 1971The National Football League is open for business again. Players are on the field showing coaches that they can indeed play football even though the season is months away. The players showcasing their talents aren’t the normal, everyday players. No – these guys on the field are young guys trying to catch the eye of a coach and make a team and it doesn’t matter if they are first round draft picks or free agents hoping to just get to a training camp in July.
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Not much is said about the long term health of these guys; they are just anxious to play football. Another one-time former football player, George Sauer, Jr. passed away at 69 years of age this week from congestive heart failure and Alzheimer’s disease. There may be some unintentional irony in Sauer’s passing from Alzheimer’s disease as he walked away from the New York Jets and the National Football League after the 1970 season because he found pro football dehumanizing and it “both glorifies and destroys bodies” as he described in a 1983 article in the New York Times.
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Sauer was a wide receiver.
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The young guys trying to impress the coaches in all likelihood never heard of George Sauer. But they probably know Tedy Bruschi who played for the New England Patriots (1996 – 2008) and is now a football commentator on ESPN.
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Brain concussions. CTE. Alcohol and drugs. Take these issues that have only recently become more openly discussed along with 101 more ingredients in family life and you have a very complicated recipe for making a family work (or not). Family life isn’t easy at times as it is but when you stir in all these other layers from a career in professional football, life off the field becomes incredibly complex for most families. Watch as Brandi Winans (formerly married to the recently departed Jeff Winans – Bills, Saints, Buccaneers, Raiders 1973 – 1980; Jeff played with teammates Dave Pear and Gene Upshaw on the winning Super Bowl XV Raiders in 1980) and John Houser (LA Rams, Cowboys, Cardinals 1957 – 1963) share personal stories of family survival with the audience of their very different lives after football.
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YouTube Hints: You can enlarge the video to Full Screen mode simply by clicking on that Full Screen icon in the lower right hand corner of the video. You can also watch videos in HD (if available) by clicking that gear icon in the lower right and then selecting the highest resolution available. And each YouTube video can actually be paused or stopped at any point and you can also jump to any spot where you may have left earlier so there’s no need to watch through an entire video.
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Our good friend, Jennifer Thibeaux, (who can never be acknowledged enough for all of her advocacy work on behalf of retired players and who has managed to help us film each of our three Conferences so we can share them with the community at large) had declined our invitation to be up on stage with Brandi and John. But as she worked through the post-Conference task of editing and uploading all of this footage, her thoughts kept taking her back to her personal family experiences of having lived through the football life. Late last night, I received a personal message from Jennifer about how this has affected her own family and why she continues to help us get the message out to the other families in particular and to the fans in general.
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Here’s Jennifer’s message along with her audio comments:
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Robert,
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I took some time and collected my thoughts about my football experiences. This is by no means the end of my sharing…but it is my way to begin the process of getting it out of my head and into the universe properly. I have tried to characterize my own experiences so that I could give it the proper brand. The best I can come up with is, “Indefinite Hell“. While I was designing new bling tees for my Tee business, I was compelled to design this brand into a Tee (below – click image to enlarge).
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In Def Hell
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Has an interesting meaning both verbally and visually. After I made the tee, it was officially time to speak. I hope you can share these beginning thoughts with the DavePear.com family – my family – as we fight for human rights and against injustices. . Love you all with every ounce of my being …and I’m in this to win.
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Jennifer
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Click the PLAY button to listen to Jennifer’s personal commentary (13 minutes).
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We wrapped Friday up with a discussion on Workers Compensation. Workmans Comp may be in for some serious changes shortly with Bill AB 1309 coming up for a vote in the California State capitol later this year. This bill will block professional athletes from filing Workers Compensation claims in the State of California and each of us needs to let your local representatives know that you disapprove of this bill. Many who have been navigating the system for a few years with their applications have already found their pending cases suspended while awaiting the vote. Workers Comp attorney Ron Mix (Chargers & Raiders 1960 – 1971) and George Visger (49ers 1980 – 1981) have been outspoken advocates lobbying against this Bill in Sacramento and discuss the details of what the legislators are trying to do with one more benefit you were actually paying for out of your paychecks. (And in case there of some of you who are unaware, George has already gotten the short end of the stick from the NFL: Even though he’s a pre-’93 player with a Super Bowl ring (49ers in Super Bowl XVI), George doesn’t qualify for any disability benefits from the NFL. Why? Because he didn’t play four full seasons to qualify under the NFL’s Plan rules!
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Don’t think these politicians are only going to target professional athletes – who do you think they’ll target next? Long distance truck drivers? Farm workers? And just how much does the NFL and its insurers think they’ll be saving by quietly supporting this bill? This bill will affect everyone. (You can read all Panelist biographies by clicking HERE.)
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YouTube Hints: You can enlarge the video to Full Screen mode simply by clicking on that Full Screen icon in the lower right hand corner of the video. You can also watch videos in HD (if available) by clicking that gear icon in the lower right and then selecting the highest resolution available. And each YouTube video can actually be paused or stopped at any point and you can also jump to any spot where you may have left earlier so there’s no need to watch through an entire video.
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Yakub Hazzard from Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi spent over an hour explaining and answering questions about basic visual rights, how they work and what others can – and can’t – do with them. This is the basic primer that neither the NFL nor the NFLPA nor your agent EVER wanted football players to understand. (You can read all biographies by clicking HERE.)
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YouTube Hints: You can enlarge the video to Full Screen mode simply by clicking on that Full Screen icon in the lower right hand corner of the video. You can also watch videos in HD (if available) by clicking that gear icon in the lower right and then selecting the highest resolution available. And each YouTube video can actually be paused or stopped at any point and you can also jump to any spot where you may have left earlier so there’s no need to watch through an entire video.
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EDITOR’S NOTE – MAY 8 2013: We just uploaded Yakub’s slideshow so you can follow along with the video. You can view each slideshow full screen by clicking on the FullScreen icon in the lower right corner of each slide screen (press ESC to close the slideshow).
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Dr. Bennet Omalu was the first pathologist to uncover the presence of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) in the brains of retired football players. It all started when Mike Webster’s body ended up on his examination table in Pittsburgh in 2002. As assistant coroner in Pittsburgh at the time, Dr. Omalu sought permission to examine Webster’s brain. In the years following, several more retired football players bodies arrived in their morgue including Andree Waters. Since then, Dr. Omalu has become the chief coroner in San Joaquin and has continued his work on CTE and advancing the study of brain trauma in society in general and football in particular. The NFL has been trying to discredit Dr. Omalu for over 10 years. Dr. Omalu is probably on the NFL’s Top 10 Most Hated List with the NFL. You can read his biography by clicking HERE.
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YouTube Hints: You can enlarge the video to Full Screen mode simply by clicking on that Full Screen icon in the lower right hand corner of the video. You can also watch videos in HD (if available) by clicking that gear icon in the lower right and then selecting the highest resolution available. And each YouTube video can actually be paused or stopped at any point and you can also jump to any spot where you may have left earlier so there’s no need to watch through an entire video.
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With last-minute itinerary changes and arrivals, we’ve been juggling our Conference schedule to accommodate everything. And we’ve also made some minor additions to our schedule as well in order to cover some very recent events that we believe most of the retired player community will want to hear about.
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Here’s a list of our Panelists with biographies:
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Bennett OmaluDr. Bennet Omalu
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Dr. Omalu received his MB, BS [M.D.] degree from the University of Nigeria in 1991. He received his MPH [Masters in Public Health] degree in Epidemiology from University of Pittsburgh in 2004. He also received his MBA [Masters in Business Administration] degree from Carnegie Mellon University in 2008. Dr. Omalu holds four board certifications in Anatomic Pathology, Clinical Pathology, Forensic Pathology and Neuropathology. Dr. Omalu is also board certified in Medical Management and is a Certified Physician Executive [CPE].
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