The film “Concussion,” starring Will Smith, spurred a more thorough discussion of the connection between playing football and serious brain injuries. Medical research has reliably demonstrated a connection, and it appears that the National Football League (NFL) is beginning to get on board. Just last month, the NFL announced a major safety initiative in its administration of the game.
The NFL calls its initiative “Play Smart, Play Safe.” Under it, the NFL and team owners will contribute $100 million to support medical and engineering safety research related to football. Other requirements of the program include the following:
- hiring a chief medical officer for the NFL;
- establishing a scientific board to review proposals for head injury research; and
- reviewing rules, training methods, and practice guidelines for potential changes that could improve safety.
In his announcement of the initiative, the NFL’s Commissioner gave as examples overall improvements to helmets, as well as the potential development of position-specific helmets. He also stated that the NFL was dedicating $40 million to medical research in the coming five-year period. It appears that funding recipients will be identified by the newly-established scientific board.
The NFL Commissioner’s formal letter announcing the Play Smart, Play Safe initiative acknowledged that the league’s efforts will be viewed with skepticism: “We know there is skepticism about our work in this area.”
Research comes with some promise of understanding more about the dangers of concussions and other brain injuries for football players. You can read about one of those studies, relating to brain function changes in high school football players, at our earlier blog here.
In the meantime, let’s hope that the NFL is moving toward true solutions to the health risks presented by football.
If you or someone you know has suffered a brain injury in a serious accident or while playing sports, please contact Alexander Law Group, LLP immediately to discuss your rights. Call 888.777.1776 right now, for a free, confidential, and personal consultation with one of our attorneys or contact us online.