Tag Archives: professional

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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NFL Partners With International Concussion and Head Injury Research Foundation (ICHIRF) To Fund Research on Potential Long-Term Effects of Concussion

The National Football League (NFL) and International Concussion and Head Injury Research Foundation (ICHIRF) have announced a partnership to fund research investigating the potential long-term effects and risk factors associated with concussion in sports.

The longitudinal study, set to launch in January 2016, will be led by Dr. Michael Turner, Medical Director of the ICHIRF, and will investigate the putative link between concussion and CTE in retired jockeys, who have the highest rate of concussions in published literature. The study will also include athletes from other high impact sports to help identify key risk factors of concussion.

“Concussion is an issue for many high impact sports, none more so than horse racing, ” said Dr. Michael Turner, MBBS, MD, FFSEM, Medical Director of the ICHIRF. “Collaboration with the NFL will significantly accelerate the research we are doing with retired jockeys and help establish if there is any independent evidence that concussion has a long-term impact on health.”

“Partnerships of this nature will result in ground-breaking research that will allow us to better understand the science on concussion, which is rapidly evolving,” said Dr. Richard Ellenbogen, chairman of the University of Washington’s Department of Neurological Surgery and co-chairman of the NFL’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee.

The announcement was made at the 2nd Annual International Professional Sports Concussion Research Think Tank in London, which was hosted by the NFL. The Think Tank served as a platform for leading scientific and medical experts from preeminent international sports organizations to propose ideas for future research collaborations and to share best practices and progress made in the areas of concussion diagnosis, protocols, management and treatment.

This research collaboration “is the latest step the NFL has taken to help scientists and medical experts advance the science around concussion,” according to the league:

  • In September 2012, the NFL announced a $30 million unrestricted grant to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) to advance medical research on brain injuries, especially among athletes and veterans. This marked the single largest donation to any organization in the league’s history.
  • In 2013, the NFL and GE launched the Head Health Initiative, a four-year, $60 million collaboration to accelerate diagnosis and improve treatment for traumatic brain injury. The initiative includes the following:
    • A four-year, $40 million research and development program to develop next generation brain imaging technologies for potential diagnosis, outcome prediction, and treatment therapy for patients with traumatic brain injury.
    • A two-year, open innovation challenge fund to invest up to $20 million in research and technology to better understand, diagnose, and protect against traumatic brain injury. Under Armour and The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is also supporting this effort.
    • The NFL announced a partnership with the CFL to implement the King-Devick Test (K-D Test), an objective remove-from-play sideline concussion screening test based on eye movement, during CFL games and practices throughout the 2015 season to determine whether the K-D Test improves the ability to diagnose concussions.

In August 2015, the NFL announced a $2.5 million foundational donation to UW Medicine to establish the first-of-its-kind Sports Health and Safety Institute to advance research, education and advocacy for the prevention and treatment of sports-related concussions.

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Namath Tells Media ‘We’re Not Designed for Football’

NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath has been in the news a lot recently, telling the media that he believes the concussions he got during his football career are having an effect on his brain today.

“I’ve been through some things medically,” Namath said on CBS Sunday Morning. “I’ve seen some things on my brain. But I’ve had some treatment – and I’ve improved. None of the body was designed to play football. Excuse me, you know, football, we’re just not designed for.”

This was not the first time Namath had talked concussions.

Last September, he said the following:

“The NFL is responsible, to a major extent,” Namath said. “When I was playing we didn’t know from concussions. We knew smelling salts and that was it. No one talked concussions. But in the last 10 years these guys knew the pain to the head was problematic. And some of these doctors on the sidelines are more concerned, maybe, with pleasing the coach and getting the guy back on the field right away. I know that. I believe that. And I know that. I think that there is a problem in the NFL.”

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