You don’t need to be a medical professional to know that there is a link between playing the sport of football and suffering from the degenerative brain disease CTE, short for chronic traumatic encephalopathy. From Junior Seau to Ken Stabler to Tyler Sash, there have been dozens of former NFL players who have been diagnosed with CTE posthumously over the last few years. But despite the obvious connection between football players and CTE, the NFL has gone out of its way to downplay any link between the two. Until now.

During a discussion in Washington D.C. yesterday, Jeff Miller—the senior vice president for health and safety policy for the NFL—was asked if he believes that a link exists between the two things. And despite the legal ramifications that it could have, Miller didn’t shy away from saying that he thinks the two things are connected.

“The answer to that is certainly, yes,” he said.

Those seven words could end up costing the NFL quite a bit of money. Some former players are currently appealing a settlement that was reached last year after a group that included thousands of former players sued the league for the damages caused by CTE, so Miller’s admission could help their cause. The New York Times has a full breakdown of what impact it could have. Stay tuned to see what the NFL decides to do from here.

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[via New York Times]