SBD/April 4, 2011/Media

"Madden NFL 12" To Remove Players For Concussions In Effort To Teach Safety

EA Sports' "Madden NFL 12" video game “will be realistic enough not only to show players receiving concussions, but also to show any player who sustains one being sidelined for the rest of the game -- no exceptions,” according to Alan Schwarz of the N.Y. TIMES. In addition, the game’s announcers “will explain that the player was removed because of the seriousness of head injuries.” Pro Football HOFer John Madden, the game’s namesake, said that the “impetus for the changes was twofold: to further hone the game’s realism, and to teach youngsters to play football more safely.” "Madden NFL 12" Exec Producer Phil Frazier described the game as “a teaching tool.” Frazier: “I wouldn’t say this is a full public-service announcement, but it’s a means to educate.” Schwarz noted football concussions “have been covered heavily in national newspapers and television news programs,” but “not in anything with the reach of the Madden franchise among video game players.” Sports Legacy Institute President & CEO Chris Nowinski said, “It’s a great approach to teach kids in a way that no one else can reach.” NFL Senior VP/PR Greg Aiello in an e-mail said, “We are in the process of working with EA on the precise handling of a concussion injury in the game. We will strive for authenticity and an accurate, responsible depiction.” Frazier said of game announcer Cris Collinsworth’s concussion commentary on the new Madden game, “We’ve got our writers working on lines that we’ll record in April. When the injury happens, they’ll say they don’t really know what it is, which is the way most injuries are. But a few plays later, when they learn from the sideline that the player got a concussion, they’ll say something like, ‘Because of the seriousness of concussions, you know, that player will not be returning to the game.’” Madden said, “Concussions are such a big thing, it has to be a big thing in the video game.” He added, “Concussions are really serious: if we show players playing through them, then kids won’t understand” (N.Y. TIMES, 4/3).
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