Boston Globe Explores Cantu’s ‘Tangled’ Connections in the Concussion Industry

Investigative journalism is a lost art in America today.

That’s why we didn’t see an article on the most prominent man in the concussion crisis, Bob Cantu, until now.

That is not to say Cantu is guilty of anything, except trying to raising the consciousness about a very important issue. It is just that the litany of connections he has in the concussion industry deserve further examination.

In an article in the December 28 Boston Globe, journalist Bob Hohler wrote:

“Cantu’s roots in the field have grown so tangled that his connections with parties on many sides of the concussion crisis have become emblematic of the conflicting interests in the football, helmet, medical, and scientific communities.”

The article focuses specifically on one of the organizations that Cantu “helps guide” — the safety organization called the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment.

“NOCSAE has long been primarily funded by the nation’s football helmet manufacturers, and those companies generally have opposed allowing aftermarket safety products — primarily impact sensors that measure hits to the head and soft-shell caps aimed at cushioning the blows — to be added to their helmets, citing liability issues,” according to the article.

“Cantu has served for 17 years as a vice president of NOCSAE. The nonprofit was formed in 1969 by a coalition of athletic organizations, health interests, and sporting goods manufacturers to improve helmet safety after 36 college and high school football players died the previous year of neck and head injuries. Many of those injuries involved skull fractures, which rarely occur today.

“Helmet executives have long served on NOCSAE’s board of directors and now control four of the board’s 16 votes.

“‘It’s the definition of a conflict of interest,’ said Stefan Duma, who heads the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences and has led several independent studies of helmets and concussions. ‘If nearly 100 percent of your money comes from the manufacturers, then it’s difficult to say you’re independent of them.'”

To see the full article, visit:

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