NFL Committee Leaders Talk Concussions at Special League Meeting

Leaders of the NFL Competition Committee, the Owners Committee on Health and Safety, and the Head, Neck and Spine Committee met together for the first time last week in Dallas, where they discussed, among other things, the balance of protecting players from concussions, while keeping the sport competitive.

The relevant participants were Rich McKay (Atlanta Falcons CEO & President), Dr. John York (San Francisco 49ers Co-Chairman) and Dr. Richard Ellenbogen.

“Rules make a difference,” said Dr. Ellenbogen, who recently attended the Concussion in Sport 4th International Concussion Consensus Conference with Dr. York in Zurich, Switzerland on behalf of the NFL. “You can make a sport safer by making rules that make sense, make the game fun and interesting, and at the same time, lower the concussion rate.”

The league said that McKay, who will work with the NFL Players Association to formulate preliminary rule proposals for 2013, agreed with Dr. Ellenbogen’s sentiments. McKay emphasized recently enhanced protections for defenseless players.

“If you look at the way those hits were made five years ago versus today, you will see a change,” McKay said. “You will see the target lowered. You will see more guys hitting in here [the chest] and you will see fewer guys hitting up here [references head and neck area]. That is what we have wanted and that is what we get.”

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