A member of a leading head injury research laboratory charged Friday that the NFL ignored his warnings last summer that radio transistors could compromise helmet safety.
The tiny electronic devices, part of the new coach-to-quarterback radio, were implanted in the helmets of every quarterback except the Dallas Cowboys' Troy Aikman. What followed was dubbed by some as the Year of the Concussion as quarterbacks suffered a rash of head injuries.
Terry Smith of the USC-based Head Protection Research Institute said that he told the league the their new radios "represented a potential risk for players by compromising the energy-absorbing characteristics of the helmet."
Smith said the league, which sought the institute's advice, did not respond.
"Frankly, I'm surprised," he said. "Something like this needs more research."
He spoke at a concussion seminar in Newport Beach sponsored by agent Leigh Steinberg and attended by several quarterbacks, including Aikman, Steve Young and Warren Moon.
"I am going to ask questions about this," Moon said. "I'm going to talk to my helmet maker and the league. I know the league doesn't want players to have the sort of knowledge that would take away their recklessness. But guys need to know."
League officials could not be reached for comment.