Tag Archives: policy

NFL Announces ‘a New Commitment to Improve Player Health and Safety’

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell today announced the launch of Play Smart. Play Safe. — “an initiative to drive progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of head injuries, enhance medical protocols and further improve the way the game is taught and played.

“To begin the initiative, the NFL and its 32 club owners have pledged an additional $100 million in support of independent medical research and engineering advancements—building on the $100 million that the NFL and its partners are already spending on medical and neuroscience research—and they have committed to anything and everything to make the game of football safer.

“The Commissioner and the NFL owners said their primary interest is in keeping players and the public informed about important health issues. They acknowledged that while the NFL can never completely eliminate the risk of injury in football, the league will strive to make the game safer for professional athletes down to young athletes first learning how to play.

“To underscore how the NFL plans to achieve its goal of making the game safer, the Play Smart. Play Safe. initiative is organized under four pillars:

  1. Protecting Players: Making changes on and off the field to protect the health and safety of every player in the NFL.
  2. Advanced Technology: Championing new developments in engineering, biomechanics, advanced sensors and material science that mitigate forces and better prevent against injuries in sports.
  3. Medical Research: Supporting independent research to advance progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of head injuries, and accelerate scientific understanding of their long-term impact.
  4. Sharing Progress: Sharing what the NFL learns across all levels of football—and to other sports and society at large.

“The new, long-term commitment builds on progress the NFL—working with all 32 clubs and the NFL Players Association—has made in recent years to improve health and safety.

“The NFL has made 42 rule changes since 2002 to protect players, improve practice methods, better educated players and personnel on concussions, and strengthen our medical protocols. The NFL has transformed the sideline, staffing each game with 29 medical professionals. Along with the NFLPA, the league recently announced a new policy to enforce the NFL Game Day Concussion Protocol. This new agreement makes clear that there will be serious consequences for any team that fails to follow the protocols.”

“For more information about the initiative, and to read the Commissioner’s letter to fans, please visit www.PlaySmartPlaySafe.com.”

 

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The Ivy League Adopts Football Experimental Rule for 2016, Impacting Kickoffs

The Ivy League will use an experimental rule for the 2016 football season to move kickoffs to the 40-yard line and touchbacks to the 20-yard line in an effort to reduce concussions and further promote the safety and welfare of its student-athletes.

“This experimental rule change is another example of The Ivy League leading the nation in concussion prevention,” said Executive Director Robin Harris. “Our data showed us that kickoffs result in a disproportionate number of concussions and this rule will allow us to assess whether limiting kickoff returns will reduce the incidence of concussions.”sports facility

The goal of the experimental rule is to limit kickoff returns, which account for 23.4 percent of concussions during games despite representing only 5.8 percent of overall plays. The League will evaluate the concussion and kickoff return data after the 2016 season. The request was made to the NCAA as a part of The Ivy League’s overall review of concussions, which began with football in 2010 and has included eight other sports to date (men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s ice hockey, men’s and women’s soccer, wrestling, rugby). As a result of this comprehensive review of concussions, the League began an all-sports concussion data collection and study in 2013. Data from this study prompted discussion of kickoffs, which led to The Ivy League head football coaches suggesting this experimental rule change. The NCAA granted The League’s request for conference games only.

This experimental rule is the latest in a series of Ivy policies and rules that are designed to limit the incidence of concussions. Most recently in May, The Ivy League formally adopted another policy originating with the League’s eight head football coaches to eliminate to-the-ground (“live”) tackling in practices during the regular season, which will also go into effect with the 2016 campaign. Changing practice rules does not require NCAA approval.

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Senators Welcome Committee Passage of Bill to Protect Young Athletes from Concussions, Tackle False Safety Claims for Sports Gear

Late last month, U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) welcomed passage of their bill in the Senate Commerce Committee aimed at protecting young athletes from the dangers of sports-related traumatic brain injuries. The senators, all members of the committee, introduced the Youth Sports Concussion Act earlier this year to help ensure that safety standards for sports equipment, including football helmets, are based on the latest science and curb false advertising claims made by manufacturers to increase protective sports gear sales.

“Today’s Commerce Committee passage of our Youth Sports Concussion Act marks an important step toward cracking down on misleading claims and ensuring New Mexico kids can have fun and play sports safely,” Udall said. “Sports are an important part of staying active and learning the value of teamwork for many kids. Parents and coaches want to do everything they can to keep their kids safe on the field or the court, and they deserve to have the facts needed to make knowledgable safety decisions. Our bill would help stop companies that take advantage of parents and athletes’ concerns about concussions and falsely market products as ‘safety’ equipment, despite little evidence that the products protect players.”

“One thing’s certain about Minnesotans – we love our sports. But whether it’s football, hockey, or the many other sports we play and love, parents, coaches, and young athletes must be equipped with the facts and informed of the risks when making safety decisions,” Klobuchar said. “Today’s Commerce Committee passage of our bill will protect our athletes and help make sure they can continue to compete on and off the field safely.”

“I am proud that the Senate Commerce Committee voted to advance the Youth Sports Concussions Act,” Blumenthal said. “We know all too well that the dangers of head injuries are real. As the science around prevention develops, this important bill will ensure our federal agencies can crack down on athletic equipment manufacturers that peddle quackery. No company should be able to use deceptive claims to exploit parents’ natural instincts to protect their children. Our youngest athletes – our future sports heroes – deserve accurate information to make informed decisions so that the sports they play today can be sports they play for a lifetime.”

Udall, Klobuchar and Blumenthal introduced the Youth Sports Concussion Act ahead of Super Bowl 50, amid discussion among doctors, players, researchers and others about the need to protect players – especially young athletes – from experiencing debilitating head injuries. Athletes suffer up to 3.8 million concussions every year, and sports are the second-leading cause of traumatic brain injuries among youth ages 15-24.

An extensive National Academy of Sciences report previously found a lack of scientific evidence that helmets and other protective devices designed for young athletes reduce concussion risk – yet some manufacturers continue to use false advertising claims that prevent athletes, parents and coaches from making informed safety decisions.

In 2012, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warned nearly 20 sports equipment manufacturers that they might be making deceptive concussion prevention claims, but the FTC’s actions thus far have not deterred companies from making these claims. The Youth Sports Concussion Act would empower the FTC to seek civil penalties in such cases.

Udall has led efforts in Congress to improve equipment safety standards and curb false advertising claims, focusing on ensuring parents, coaches and players have the information they need to make important decisions about how to prevent head injuries. A previous version of the Youth Sports Concussion Act passed the Senate Commerce Committee in April 2014. Last year, Udall and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) called on the FTC to investigate potentially misleading safety claims used to sell soccer headgear. Udall also worked to include several concussion prevention provisions in December’s appropriations bill.

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