U. of Maryland Backs Away From Maligned Study on Chocolate Milk and Concussions

The University of Maryland has acknowledged “shortcomings” in its handling of a highly criticized study that prompted news releases claiming that athletes could see benefits from a brand of chocolate milk produced by a company that helped fund the research.

Following public criticism of the news releases, the university convened a panel to examine how the study had unfolded. In a news release on Friday, Maryland said it had found no wrongdoing by the company. But it said it was returning the money that had financed the study and was deleting from its websites the announcements of “preliminary research results.”

“While we have every reason to believe this was an isolated incident, any deviations from accepted practices in the responsible conduct of research cannot be tolerated,” said Patrick O’Shea, the university’s chief research officer. “Any potential sanctions against faculty or staff involved in this matter would be considered, by policy, confidential personnel matters.”

The two now-deleted news releases claimed that the beverage, Fifth Quarter Fresh, showed significant benefits on “concussion-related measures” for high-school football players. The supporting data, which had not been peer-reviewed, raised concerns that prompted the panel’s inquiry.

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