SBD/October 4, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NFL Commissioner Goodell: Win-Win With League Safer And More Popular Than Ever

Goodell noted the NFL was considering taking linemen out of three-point stances
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell yesterday spoke at the Congress of Neurological Surgeons and said that “rules aimed at player safety had not taken the rough and tumble out of football or reduced its popularity,” according to Gary Mihoces of USA TODAY. Goodell said, “The game is safer and more popular than ever today. That is a true win-win scenario. So we will not be deterred, and every year our NFL competition committee will continue to review injuries and carefully and properly discuss ways we can reduce them through rule changes.” He added, “Players are playing the game differently. They’re using their shoulders. They’re not using their heads.” Goodell noted that the NFL “was considering taking linemen out of three-point stances and putting them in stand-up positions when the ball is snapped” (USA TODAY, 10/4). Goodell said following his address, “We have to recognize in the NFL we’re leaders, not just in football, but I think in all of sports. What we do on the NFL level is going to affect every other level of football and I think every other level of sports. That's our responsibility to do it right and we want to make sure that people understand that concussions are a serious injury and how to deal with them if they do occur” ("NFL Total Access," NFL Network, 10/3).
TAKE TWO: Univ. of California-San Francisco Neurological Surgery Department Chair Mitchel Berger said that the NFL’s committee on concussion research is planning a study "that could begin gathering data as soon as next season." Berger yesterday said that he and the NFL’s subcommittee on former players and long-term effects of brain and spine injury “had been holding conference calls regarding the study every two weeks” with NFLPA reps. He added that he "hoped to make a final presentation to the union and Commissioner Roger Goodell ‘in the near future.’” Berger said that he “was aware of the issues surrounding the previous study” that was shut down by the league in ‘09, and said that the “latest model was completely different.” He said that the new study “will include about 1,400 people, aged 45 to 59, and divided into three groups.” The first group will be “retired NFL players; the second will be people who played college football but never professionally; and the third will be a control group of nonathletes who have some medical commonalities with the first two” (Sam Borden, N.Y. TIMES, 10/4).
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