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Congress questions safety of NFL helmets

NEW YORK — A congressional committee criticized the NFL's research into equipment, particularly helmets, questioning if player safety is indeed being given top priority in an "infected system that needs to be cleaned up."

The House Judiciary Committee also expressed dissatisfaction at a Manhattan forum Monday with how the league is dealing with retired players now suffering from traumatic head injuries.

Reps. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., and Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., questioned Drs. Richard Ellenbogen and Hunt Batjer, the new co-chairmen of the NFL's head, neck and spine medical committee. Sanchez and Weiner wondered why Ellenbogen and Batjer do not have stronger roles in gathering data about equipment. Weiner asked: "Shouldn't the question be what's best for the players, protection for the noggin that's of the highest quality?"

Ellenbogen and Batjer were hired by the league in March, and Batjer said they will become "heavily involved" in collecting information on helmets. "We will be intimate with the processes of testing equipment," Batjer said. "That will be carefully monitored."

Batjer stressed that the league is using experts in the field to analyze information from recent testing of current helmets and those being developed. Batjer said he is comfortable with that system.

Keith loses 7 teeth but keeps playing

CHICAGO — It takes more than a puck in the face to keep Duncan Keith off the ice for the Chicago Blackhawks — even when he loses seven teeth. Chicago's top defenseman was hit by a puck off the stick San Jose's Patrick Marleau during the second period of Sunday's 4-2 victory over the Sharks that clinched the Western Conference title and a trip to the Stanley Cup finals. Keith returned to the game and finished with a game-high 29 minutes, two seconds of ice time. He lost four bottom teeth and three more on top.

"You've got leave it all on the ice," Keith said after the game when he was headed for some major dental work. The team said Monday it had no update on Keith's condition.

Seattle's Hurtado out with torn ACL

TUKWILA, Wash. — Seattle defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, a finalist for MLS defender of the year a season ago, has been placed on the injured list with a torn ACL in his left knee.

Hurtado was injured in the closing seconds of Saturday's 1-0 loss to San Jose. The Sounders placed their best one-on-one defender on the injured list Monday.

An MLS All-Star in 2009, Hurtado has played all 90 minutes in nine of Seattle's 10 games this season, sitting out against Toronto. The 26-year-old is in his second season with the Sounders.

—Deseret News staff and wire reports