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Volume 24 No. 156

Leagues and Governing Bodies

The NFL has "modified its procedures for identifying and treating concussions," according to Sam Farmer of the L.A. TIMES. The league has "implemented standard examinations that take several minutes, and which injured players must pass to be eligible to return to action." The procedures entail "advising teams not to commit the entire medical staff to any particular injured player, and instead have part of the staff continue to watch what's happening on the field." Pro Football HOFer John Madden, who oversees the NFL's player-safety advisory panel, said that it is "important that decisions whether a player is fit to return will be made by medical personnel instead of coaches." Madden: "Taking it out of the coaches' hands is the way it always should have been" (L.A. TIMES, 4/19). Falcons President and NFL Competition Committee Chair Rich McKay: "I really do believe the culture has changed between the players, the coaches, the medical staffs ... for the good. You have players and teammates much more willing to report injuries and specifically concussions, and I think the doctors have done a good job of standardizing for us the evaluation process and the procedures for coming back to play" (USA TODAY, 4/19). Meanwhile, EA Sports' "Madden NFL 12" will keep players out of action because of concussions, and Madden said, "If we can do it in the NFL, we think we can get it trickled down to college and high school and youth football. Maybe that's where a lot of kids get started with football -- in the video game" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/19). 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: In L.A., Jeannine Stein reported a study published yesterday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal reveals that the number of concussions suffered by NHL players "has decreased in recent years." Concussion rates during regular-season games "went from 7.7 per 100 players during the 2000-2001 season to 4.9 per 100 players during the 2003-2004 season." However, the "number of days players have lost because of recurring concussions has gone up" (, 4/18). The GLOBE & MAIL's McIlroy & Gordon noted the report also states that one in five NHL players who "sustained a concussion during a shift in the regular season went back on the ice that same game." In addition, a "significant number of those players who returned to the ice ended up missing more than 10 days of play afterwards because of concussion symptoms" (, 4/18).

In Pittsburgh, Carl Prine reports the NFLPA "has been sacked with a federal lawsuit brought by some retired athletes." Five former players -- Bernie Parrish, Bob Grant, Clinton Jones, Walter Roberts III and Marvin Cobb -- claim the NFLPA and its for-profit Players Inc. subsidiary "defrauded thousands of former players of lucrative royalties when video games, apparel companies, football-card manufacturers and others used their images." The class-action lawsuit was "filed Wednesday in federal court in Los Angeles but has gone relatively unnoticed" (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 4/19).

THINK IT THROUGH: In N.Y., Harvey Araton writes after the "best opening weekend of NBA playoff basketball since the invention of the shot clock," Commissioner David Stern's "first order of NBA business Monday morning should have been a memo to all owners agitating for apocalyptic labor confrontation this summer at the potential expense of the 2011-12 season." Stern should have written, "From the desk of your humble Commissioner: maybe we should rethink this draconian position." Araton writes, "After all the public-relations hits Stern's league has taken through the years, is next season really the time to risk shutting it down? The other day, Stern did speak of a new proposal for the players. Memo to owners: sit down, hammer out a reasonable deal and maybe all of you wind up smelling like a rose" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/19).

A FRESH PERSPECTIVE: In L.A., Jim Peltz wrote as Randy Bernard begins his second year as IndyCar CEO, he "leaves no doubt he's in charge and willing to make changes in hopes of reviving a series whose popularity has tumbled from the days when it dominated U.S. racing." Bernard: "My job is to bring notoriety to the sport. We've got to grow our fan base. ... We have to redefine our sport. If (fans) were once passionate about open-wheel racing, why can't they be again?" IndyCar driver Dario Franchitti said, "He's coming at it from a completely different angle as a promoter, and he's always looking for that way to create a better show" (L.A. TIMES, 4/17).